Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

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 £14.99

Buy Now for £14.99

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

Bloomsbury presents The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley, read by Theo Solomon.

Come home, if you remember.

The postcard has been held at the sorting office for 91 years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse - Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.

Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French Empire. He has a job, a wife, a baby daughter.

But he also has flashes of a life he cannot remember and of a world that never existed - a world where English is spoken in England and not French.

And now he has a postcard of a lighthouse built just six months ago, that was first written nearly 100 years ago, by a stranger who seems to know him very well.

Joe’s journey to unravel the truth will take him from French-occupied London to a remote Scottish island and back through time itself as he battles for his life - and for a very different future.

©2021 Natasha Pulley (P)2021 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"I loved the vivid and intricate alternate universes of The Kingdoms, and the flawed and complicated people who inhabit them." (Katherine Addison)

"At once fiercely original, joyous and horrifying, The Kingdoms is an awe-inspiring feat of imagination and passion which had me in tears by the end." (Catriona Ward)

"The Kingdoms is an intricate and complex but ultimately very satisfying read, blending time slip and historical fiction with the pace of a thriller and the sweetness of a love story. A unique book." (Sinead Crowley)

What listeners say about The Kingdoms

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    83
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    82
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    8
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

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

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

I really wanted to like this book but ...

I have loved all Natasha Pulley’s books to date and it’s possible, with a different narrator, I would love this book too. However, I’ve got to chapter 21 and I am so distracted by Theo Solomon’s delivery, that I’m not sure I’m going to carry on. I think I’ll buy a hard copy instead.
Update: increasing the speed to 1.2x helps - well it does me anyway.
Update 2: I'm sorry to say that with less than 3 hours to go, I have given up and returned the book. I never felt anything for any of the characters and was totally confused by the plot. I think that, with a different narrator, I would try again but for some reason this narrator just grated on me.

6 people found this helpful

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

Clever writing as ever from Natasha Pulley

Clever writing as ever from Natasha Pulley. I’m a bit of a dozer and found I had to keep going back a couple of chapters and then decided to go right back to the beginning and start again as I kept losing the gist, with dates, places etc changing from chapter to chapter. Very complex piece of writing and once again a clever & great story by Natasha Pulley.

Narration was excellent- Theo Solomon has a lovely velvety voice and great phrasing which suits Natasha’s style of writing. Excellent

3 people found this helpful

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

Brilliant historical fiction

No spoilers!
Story: fascinating, and brilliant. There's not a lot I can say without spoilers for the story, but suffice it to say that I finished this in a few days - I couldn't put it down! I was even excitedly waiting to listen in my lunch breaks at work!

Performance: Ok, I have to admit, there were some points where the performance of this got to me a bit... The narrator was plainly being reminded to slow down at the start of some chapters - or trying to keep himself slow. It means he sometimes gets annoyingly nasal - but once he gets into his natural cadence and the speed improves, it's markedly better. Those slow bits are infrequent, so stick with it! I like the different voices of characters. Still 5*!

2 people found this helpful

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

Insulting Scottish impersonations

I can't listen to any more of this awful narration.

The narrator's impersonation of the Scottish accent is so dreadful, it's bordering on racist.

Setting a book where a black Englishman visits Scotland is tricky. Given this narrator seems never to have even visited Scotland, perhaps Scottish narrators could have been employed to voice the Scottish parts?

This audiobook might be OK for listeners in England or America, but I very much doubt anyone else in Scotland could listen to this insulting cacophony.

This isn't an anti-English rant; I'm English myself but live in Scotland.

It was clearly produced in England by English people who think it's OK to parody accents... the narrator can't even pronounce some Scottish place names!

This rendition has made my blood boil.

1 person found this helpful

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

Mot sure about this one

I have had all 4 books by Natasha Pulley as audio books, and the first 3 I really enjoyed. I think this one was too complicated in audio format. At least for me, as I usually do other stuff at the same time as I listen.

1 person found this helpful

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

Overcomplicated

Found this story hard to follow with all the changes in dates and geography. Thought it was too long and the plot was extremely convoluted. I felt it kept going round in circles. I finished listening to it out of sheer determination, but didn't really enjoy it

1 person found this helpful

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

A beautiful story

I love Natasha Pulley’s novels and this is no exception. The writing is gorgeous and the characters are just wonderful. Another one, please.

1 person found this helpful

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

Very creative storyline and so we'll told.

Very creative storyline and so we'll told. I was hooked from the start! Excellent character development. it could've ended in so many ways, but I was delighted when it kept going.

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

Another triumph of imagination

Fantastic tale, gripping and extraordinary! Narration excellent too thank goodness. Can't wait for the next one.

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

Eh.

A bit underwhelming. Can't tell if that was meant to be a twist. Also couldn't really figure out... well, basically the main character isn't very well characterised, which is a bit of an oversight considering the plot.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lyndel
  • Lyndel
  • 06-08-21

Audio Distortions

Audio slowed and dreadfully distorted. Downloaded and removed many times but unable to correct speed to sound normal.