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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Hobart

An epic feeling

I feel a little sad this morning. Why? It's a sense of loss. For the past two months I have lived in the company with some heroic and brave men and women, standing shoulder-to-shoulder against overwhelming odds, ready to sacrifice themselves to save their comrades and friends, and stand up for their way of life.

They have been bereaved, enslaved, tortured, half-starved and betrayed. They have withstood myriad wounds and torments, the heat of the Persian sands, the storms of the sea, and the blizzards of Dacia, Thracia and the Danubian flood plain.

Goths, Huns, Catafractii, Savaran Riders, and savage gladiators have attacked them without mercy, and still they stood.

Legionary Pavo and his comrades have been my companions on the epic journey to bring Gordon Doherty's brilliant Legionary series to audiobook, for WF Howes Ltd. They have been brilliant to work on, and have stretched my narration skills in many ways, principally building my studio and editing stamina up to meet some exacting deadlines. I'm grateful for that challenge - that new resilience has increased my productivity for other projects hugely.

Then there's the breadth of character voices I've needed to conjure - from Gothic Iudex's to Persian Archimagi, to Hunnish hordesmen. Or finding the right tone and pacing to capture and portray epic and gory battle scenes as our heroes fight to the last against vast armies hell bent on their destruction.

I have seeing the world through the eyes of Pavo, Sura, Gallus, Quadratus and Zosimus - their banter, their gallows humour, and in the case of the latter two characters, their obsession with barley ale and breaking wind. In fact, working on the three books has made me appreciate the power of place.

Gordon is a master at transporting you to some extraordinary parts of the ancient world, and while I've been in front of the microphone his words have conjured some epic vistas to match any conjured in the CGI studios of Hollywood. With my writing head on, I've been prompted to look afresh at my own world building in my upcoming historical thriller series.

If I have given the impression that I'm depressed this morning, I'm really not. I'm feeling an immense sense of pride at completing these three audiobooks. I hope I've given Gordon's work the performance it deserves.

I'm also pleased with meeting the challenge of working in a wider team on this project. Thanks to Merryn and Jess at WF Howes for their support, and the mastering skills of Gordon Barker and Charlie McConville who have polished my first-pass edits into productions of the highest quality.

During my recent appearance at the Morecambe and Vice crime festival, I was asked which I prefer doing - writing or narrating? At the time I confessed that the highs and lows of writing were far greater, and that audiobook narration was more of an endurance sport where the pleasures and rewards are revealed more slowly and can be less obvious. Well, seeing the Legionary series go on sale now in audiobook form certainly feels hugely rewarding, and I suspect the benefits of meeting the challenge will be revealed throughout my narration career to come.

To Gordon and the WF Howes team, thank you.

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