The final of my blog tours this year, The Counterplot, has been an absolute joy to listen to, and I’m so excited to share with you my thoughts of this new, fantastic listen, focusing around a Jacobean builder turned solider turned play write, Ben Jonson.
Dai George has done an amazing thing here, managing to entwine the beauty of historical language, the creation of a play, the intrigue surrounding the first Scot on the English thrown, and a writing a gorgeous piece to listen to. That said, to me, the most beautiful thing about this to me is how it captures the fantastic, fascinating life of a man whom, in his lifetime, was considered one of the most – if not the most – influential writer of the time.
Whilst the name Benjamin Jonson might be nowhere near as familiar as William Shakespeare these days, there is much to suggest it should be. He led a fascinating, although troubled life, struggling his way through many difficult years. It’s in one of these such years that we meet him during The Counterplot.
There is a true beauty in realistic historical fiction. To feel like you truly know a person who lived hundreds of years before you were even born, like you could be sure of their quirks and preferences, and that is what has happened here. Through the episodes, we listen as Ben toes the line of the law, tries to make amends with his wife, and does what all artists essentially wanted to do at court; keep attention, but keep their heads.
Dai George in The Counterplot shows what an audiobook can be, and what historical fiction can be. There are so many twists and turns within this production that you will be on the edge of you seat throughout, waiting for the next installment, to see what Ben is capable of, and to see what a country set on a background of anxious suspicion is capable of.
I could say so much for this work of both fact and fiction. It has been so thoroughly researched, simply so beautifully written, that it is a pleasure to listen to. I know without doubt I will be listening to it again, watching the ups and downs of Ben’s life, through Dai George’s wonderful work, and feeling myself transported back to the beginning of the 1600s.
Thank you to Midas and to Audible for this beautiful piece, and to Dai George for his amazing work to tie off my festive season.
Merry Christmas everyone!