Listen free for 30 days

  • Red Sister

  • Book of the Ancestor, Book 1
  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 19 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,916 ratings)

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

It's not until you're broken that you find your sharpest edge.

A brilliant new series from the best-selling author of Prince of Thorns.

'I was born for killing - the gods made me to ruin.'

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices' skills to deadly effect: it takes 10 years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don't truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder - guilty of worse.

©2017 Mark Lawrence (P)2017 HarperCollins Publisher Limited

Critic reviews

"Dark, passionate, tense, with a female hero anyone could relate to - I was utterly fascinated! This is no pretty, flowery tale, but one of vastly different people struggling to survive when a hostile government comes to power." ( New York Times best-selling author Tamora Pierce)
"This is a book very distinct from everything that came before; what it has in common though is a narrative that pulls no punches, and characters that are beautifully, brokenly, repellently, cleverly human." ( Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews)
"I had never thought it was possible to find a greater character than the Emperor Jorg Ancrath. I had never even slightly considered that there might be a fantasy world out there toppling that of Τhe Final Empire, and most definitely, I had never thought that I could love a book more than The Night Angel. But here we are." ( BookNest)
"Any other author is going to have to smack the ball way, way out of the park to top this read." ( Parmenion Books)

What listeners say about Red Sister

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,305
  • 4 Stars
    428
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    21
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,277
  • 4 Stars
    329
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    18
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,165
  • 4 Stars
    403
  • 3 Stars
    134
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    15

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping, violent and exctiing

Utterly surprised to find that I flipping loved this! I can't remember what made me buy it now but I'm glad I did. I don't normally enjoy extended fight scenes and am usually bored rigid as each thrust and twist is described in lengthy detail (ususally muttering "skip to the end, skip to the end!") but by some strange alchemy, Mark Lawrence has made the fights - and there are lots of them - totally mesmerising. Maybe it helps that the slowness is part of what Nona experiences or maybe he's just a really good writer.

Anyway, I loved the premise, the nuns, the atmosphere, the world building, the consistent system of magic, I can't say I loved Nona herself but she is fascinating. Even the depiction of girls' friendships was believable. Some major plot developments are very clearly signalled but somehow it didn't matter as the execution (hah!) was so good.

Helen Duff's narration is great. I enjoyed the variety of accents she uses and her pacing is uniformly excellent. My only slight whinge is that Nona always sounds like an adult even though she starts off as a young girl.

Really looking forward the the next book in the series.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another perfect book from Lawrence

If you liked Prince of Thorns and The Red Queens Game, but were disappointed by a lack of strong female leads, this is the book for you. As a woman, I mostly buy male dominated books finding those written by and for women often lack grit. Not so with this one, Nona rages and slashes her way through the pages every bit as full of dark vitriol as Jorg Ancrath. If you haven't read those, you're in for a treat and I'm delighted to say that the narration is top notch for all books. Purchase without reservation.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Missed at your own expense!

I loved this book. So different and refreshing. I could not stop listening. It's my favourite book of the last 5 years. I cannot wait for the next installment. It's meant to be a trilogy.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Took a lot to persevere

I really enjoyed the content of this book but I struggled with the narrator. I love her ‘normal’ voice and would have enjoyed the book much more if she’d maintained that. Sadly not and I can’t understand why she needed to assign such extreme and random accents to characters in order to distinguish them apart. We had Scouse to Australia to Dublin to East London. It was very weird and distracting. There was a couple of times where a characters inner dialogue would just stop being in her weird accent and resort to the narrators ‘real’ voice. That was very confusing in contrast. I’d have bought the next in the series but I can’t bear to listen to any new characters. Perhaps we’ll have a nun from South Africa working alongside a character from Cornwall. Sorry but for me I need the story to carry me and here the narration just made me cringe.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story + skillful narration!

Would you listen to Red Sister again? Why?

Only to tide me over until the next installment- which I am very much excited for!

What did you like best about this story?

The character introductions and development were one of the many great things about this story. This is no ordinary girl nor convent and these are no ordinary nuns. Listening to them grow up and make decisions (good or bad) was great.

Duff also narrates this with talent. Many characters call for many voices, intonations and she performs perfectly.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The action scenes were expertly told- Lawrence can create slow-motion in your minds eye just as well as a movie screen.

Any additional comments?

Definitely a joy to listen to, that will leave you twitching for the next installment.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great start to an exciting trilogy....

I have read Red Sister and Grey Sister in quick succession - they are excellent. The world which Mark Lawrence has built stacks, the plot is good, and the characters are well-developed and interesting. Am now feeling bereft at losing my connection to these characters while I wait for book 3.

Book one and two have flowed seamlessly, and what I really appreciated was the introduction to book two where a recap is given - thereby avoiding unnecessary and contrived references to book one's events. That said, the first 10 minutes of listening made me think I had missed a bit of the first book as a new character is introduced who I didn't recognise.......needn't have worried as it all became clear within the first few chapters.

The foreshadowing that has "topped and tailed" these two books is also an interesting angle - it's totally set the scene and anticipation for the final reckoning that is surely coming in book 3. If the energy and intrigue continues at the same pace, it promises to be a good one.

Narration is good, although the variation in accents for the different characters isn't as extensive as my favourite narrators' (eg; although I enjoy the Aussie accent, it felt a little like it was the narrator's only, or "go to", alternative accent, but it doesn't detract from the story.

If you are into the fantasy genre, then this should tick all the boxes.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nebula prize for this one please!

I was looking for a new fantasy book and this one unexpectedly came out of nowhere. It’s my first book by Mark Lawrence and I’m so glad I finally decided to listen to it. What a wonderful writing style. I’m especially impressed how he’s able to build a tension with only a one sentence. “you need to bring an army to kill a nun” - truer words were never spoken, but I’ll leave you to find out the rest... the story grabs you and doesn’t let go till the final page.

I have not been so excited since the ‘Mistborn’ trilogy by Brandon Sanderson or ‘Powder Mage’ trilogy by Brian McClellan. What a gem!

The heroine is not a loveable character (as I’m told in most of Lawrence’s books), and the story is set in a dark, mystical and complicated world where even children are killers. And yet in this darkness is woven a coming of age tale full of friendship and faith.

Helen Duff keeps up to the task. Her steady and calm narration allows you to breathe between the chapters and fully enjoy this great book.

I can’t wait for the next books in the series...

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ambitious book let down by overzealous narrator

The Red Sister is sort of like a badass feminist Harry Potter, with a bit of Frank Herbert's Dune mixed in for good measure. I'm a big fan of this genre, and I think that Paul Hoffman's 'The Last Four Things' is the king of it. But while Paul Hoffman had the majestic Sean Barrett narrating, this book suffers from an awful narrator, who spends more effort on dodgy accents than on trying to clearly convey the meaning of the scene. Many important moments are completely ruined by terribly judged drawls, and my head really struggled to remember which terrible accent went with whom. As a result, I demoted this audiobook to something to help me get to sleep - and allowed big chunks of plot to pass me by.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than I expected, stick with it

I found this a bit of a slow burner, finding it hard to care about the characters. Perhaps it was the use of Irish and Liverpool accents for the main characters. Once I got used to it I really enjoyed it and the last 3rd of the book was excellent. Can't wait for the next one , It is also this is one of the only fantasy books narrated by a female that I have listened to, which makes sense as the vast majority of characters are female. One scene in particular genuinely upset me which is a testament to the writing and narration .

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing narration

I loved this book. A story of friendship, revenge, intrigue and guilt. I wonderful tale of children brought up to fight in a world where only the church can go up against money. Written from the point of view of Nonna, a child that gives her friendship sparingly but when it’s given she will be forever loyal. The book is written beautifully and the narrator makes you feel and love every character.

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Janus Hansen
  • Janus Hansen
  • 09-06-19

Good start not carried through.

It began quite well. Good buildup of characters. But then it becomes too much a YA book and the girls start making childish plans (making life and death decisions without involving adults) and the main character hurriedly gains insights from nowhere.
That said, I'm going to try the second book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 01-08-19

Difficult to listen to

Narrator was really tough to understand.
Different accents with unclear enunciation.
Words get eaten up in her voice.
I had to really concentrate on what she's saying to listen properly. That is alot of effort while driving.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rogerio Vitiver Soares de Souza
  • Rogerio Vitiver Soares de Souza
  • 06-05-19

You'll never want this story to end

This is a book that, once you start it, grips you with iron hands. My only criticism is the narrator. She has terrible articulation. She merges words and is hard to understand some phrases.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for KGPaulsen
  • KGPaulsen
  • 04-12-21

Good read, but wrong narrator

So. This is a good story, but I don't think the narrator was a good fit. In many other books she would be totally fine, but here she is making ten year old children sound like adults.
But over all I enjoyed it and I will get the next book despite that.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gali
  • Gali
  • 27-09-21

Enjoyable !!

After a few titles with I could not listen to the voice... here we've got a good narrator! not too much haffs and puffs. a good combination of a story plus a story teller :) just bought the next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for szecstom
  • szecstom
  • 17-08-21

Mark Lawrnece is back on my favourite authors list

As someone who started his fantasy reading career with the poorly aged Broken Empire trilogy, I am delighted to say that this book is at least of the same quality and WILL stand the test of time.

His storytelling has matured and conformed to contemporary needs while retaining it's essential edge. The prose is so evocative it borders on poetic sometimes. Cannot recommend it enough!

Also the narration is great! Idk what everyone else is going on about.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Manos Papas
  • Manos Papas
  • 05-03-21

Mixed bag

I don’t know who produced the audiobook but he should have been more careful. I always listen with earbuds and there are very few thinks more disgusting than hearing someone swallow in your ear. Also it’s very very low volume. That being said the book was ok and the narrator was good enough. Let’s hope the next has more fight scenes as they are the authors strong suit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 20-10-20

Awesome

had a bit off trouble with narrator first 5 minutes, loved it after that!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for m.willard
  • m.willard
  • 20-09-20

i haaate the narrator

she is soo quiet, slow and hard to understand. the main character noise is annoting and boyish. i am gonna keep going because hubby says the book is worth it but as someone who finished the entire 17 books of dresden files in 2.5 weeks, i found this really hard to listen to.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ALEX and SOPHIE
  • ALEX and SOPHIE
  • 15-06-20

Love the performance

Engrossing and impressive performance and story.

I just now have to wait for my next credit before I get the next in the trilogy.