Place Called Freedom Mass Market Paperback – Jun 30 1996
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With action that spans two countries on opposite sides of the Atlantic, making a credible audio version of this epic tale is no small feat. Victor Garber, the talented actor of stage and screen (Sleepless in Seattle, I'll Fly Away, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd), does an admirable job. Garber presents the narrative passages in a clear, confident tone and uses his extensive acting experience to create believable voices for the many diverse characters. Follett has thrown in a confusing array of regional accents and disguised characters, but the range of Garber's voice helps keep things straight while heightening the considerable action and communicating the powerful emotions expressed by the very large cast that gives this drama its grand sweep.
This intriguing novel hinges on the courageous struggles of the hero, an indentured coal miner who declares, "I'll go anywhere that is not Scotland--anywhere a man can be free." Getting anywhere else is easier said than done, especially when he's caught up in an entanglement of familial responsibility, forbidden love, official deceit, trickery, and violence. Even though there are plenty of breathless moments when proper ladies are tempted by bare-chested hunks, this is much more than just another adventure-filled love story. It's also an intriguing journey into the social and political realities of the late 18th century, when the rising influence of the American colonies was first taking hold and the shining glory of the British Empire had begun its long, slow fade. (Running time: four hours, four cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The key to Follett's absorbing new historical novel (after A Dangerous Fortune) lies in words that "made a slave of every Scottish miner's son" in the 1700s: "I pledge this child to work in [the laird's] mines, boy and man, for as long as he is able, or until he die." When young Malachi (Mack) McAsh challenges this practice, citing its illegality, he begins a pattern of rebelling against authority while pursuing justice. Mack's dangerous quest for freedom makes him a fugitive in High Glen, where he is brutally punished by Sir George Jamisson in retaliation for his intention to quit the mines. After escaping to London, Mack confronts injustice again when he tries to break the monopoly of "undertakers," who furnish crews to unload coal from ships; arrested and tried, he is transported to Virginia as an indentured servant. All this time, his fate is intertwined with that of Lizzie Hallim, daughter of the impoverished laird of High Glen, who is as spirited, independent-minded and daring as is Mack himself. (Readers may not quite believe her sexual aggressiveness, but Follett knows how to strike chords with feminists.) But Lizzie is gentry, so she must marry Jay, the younger Jamisson son. Follett adroitly escalates the suspense by mixing intrigue and danger, tinged with ironic complications. He also provides authoritative background detail, including specifics about the brutal working conditions of mine workers and coal heavers and the routine of an American tobacco plantation. History is served by references to real-life English liberal John Wilkes, who challenged the established view that the virtual enslavement of "common" men by aristocrats was God's will, and events in Virginia as the Colonies move toward rebellion. If the dialogue sometimes seems lifted from a bodice-ripper, and if far-fetched coincidences keep flinging Lizzie and Mack together, these flaws are redeemed by Follett's vigorous narrative drive and keen eye for character. BOMC and QPB main selections; Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection; simultaneous Random House audio and large-print editions; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
While not as wonderful as Pillars of the Earth (I still can't get that book out of my head...definetly one of the best if not THE best I've ever read), this is still a great book. The book has rapid fire pacing but doesn't sacrifice on the details and characterization that suck you into the book. And that's what the focal point of the book is, the characters. You feel their pain, their joy, every emotion that they're going through.
From Scotland, to London, to Virginia, the reader is taken on a journey of treachery, deceit, love, loss and triumph. You feel as if you can reach out and touch the characters.
Follett is fast becomming one of my favorite authors and he's edging his way to the top of the list. You won't want to stop reading this book. I could have easily read it in a day but I decided to stretch it out over a couple days and let each section I read sink in. I don't think I've encountered another author who can weave romance, violence, humor, action and great research as effectively as Ken Follett and this book does all that.
The story starts off with a young Scottish coal miner strugglling to obtain his right to be free. The book revolves around this personal struggle of his and is easily the main theme of the book. No matter where he is, he seems to find himself being taken advantage of, being kept down by those whom consider themselves better. His inability to accept the idea that being rich makes you above the law and better then the working class makes it possible for Mack to establish a relationship with a young women by the name of Lizzie. As the story progresses their paths become ever more entwined as he can't seem to break away from the Jamisson family, a family Lizzie eventually becomes part of, whom work tirelessly to keep Mack from achieving anything.
The book, as written, is broken up into three sections. Each one is comprised of the locality in which Mack finds himself. The transition from each place is very well done, as certain reoccuring themes and characters are present within each section. All in all the book was quite entertaining and the ending leaves you satisfied as it wraps up quite nicely.
Still she marries Jay Jamison and she truly loves him. Jay Jamison is an interesting Follett character. This book compares with a Dangerous Fortune in plot and scope, but that book had clearly defined good and evil characters. Jay and Lizzie were in love, and through actions of their family, their love was destroyed. Still, to the end Jay always cared for Lizzie. Still, his devotion to power and greed and to please his family mattered more.
Follett is great at developing characters and educating the reader on the certain time period. Follett details the day to day life and the character's interaction with social norms very well.
I haven't read too many of Follet's WWII novels or spy novels and look forward to moving on to those. I've read six Follett books, and only the Third Twin was bad.
A Place Calles Freedom follows the converging lives of Mack McAsh, a Scottish coal worker who seems to always irritate the wrong people, and Lizze Hallim, a igh born lady who would prefer to act like a man.
It is a tried and true fomula, and I enjoyed this book immensely, despite its predicatable plot. I particularly liked the introduction to the book, and the way that the story was introduced. I mainly gave this book three stars because it is very different from the other Ken Follett books that I have read. I've read Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping intricate novel, and Night Over Water, which I thought had an interesting an enjoyable plot.
I knew how this book was going to end before it even started. The characters are fairly stereotypical. There are scenes that are reminiscent of a steamy romance novel. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it's nothing to write home about.
Follett again does a masterful job of interweaving historical
fact with fictional characters. The story encompasses all
strata of family life, both rich and poor.
The tale starts out in Scotland where an indentured servant toils
in the coal mines yearning for freedom. His interactions
among his peers and the landed gentry vividly evoke the harsh life of the eighteenth century Scotland. His relationship with the mistress of the castle moves from Scotland, to London, to Virginia and finally to their freedom.
Follett evokes eighteenth century life and makes you feel that you are there. He skillfully details life in small town Scotland, the City of London, and the Virginia frontier.
The book provides an enjoyable, fast paced read in a historical setting. Over the years Follett has broadened his range from spy/mystery novels to historical sages mixing fact with fiction. The book moves right along and you won1t want to put the book down until you are finished.
Most recent customer reviews
This story has it all. Characters that you fall in love with and ones that you loath. It is hard to put down even when you know you must sleep. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lisa Lavoie
Follett always takes us back into history to show us the impact on real people living in those timesPublished 6 months ago by Big Momma
Partner was in hospital and moaning about nothing to do. I took this book to him and he read it like it was the last book he would ever see. He really enjoyed it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dolly
Loved this book. It's a no brainer what will happen, but it's a nice read
I would recommend this book
If there is one fault in the writings of Follett it is that the story ends. I am not sure that I am happy with an ending like this one. Read morePublished 20 months ago by W. VanB
This book did not fail my expectations. Another page turner, never wanted it to end .
Not much more to say. Loved it.
If you enjoyed Pillars of the Earth as much as I did, then you're going to enjoy this book as well. As with Pillars, the action starts from page one and keeps going - his focus on... Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2003
What an excellent book! I read this in less than a week. I couldn't seem to put it down. Ken Follett does such an excellent job with describing all of his characters and scenes. Read morePublished on July 14 2003