I think I've mentioned my admitted prejudice in loving all things narrated in an English accent, and there is no English accent quite like that of Sir Ian McKellen (which I have been misspelling for some time now ...). Look! Sir Ian has a website! And that website tells me that Recorded Books has made the excellent decision to just import the British audiobooks -- and not re-record the titles for US consumption.
So, long preamble to ... I was so looking forward to this audiobook that I popped it in the cassette player as soon as it arrived. And it doesn't disappoint. In fact, it's a pretty darn exciting story -- full of adventure and real tension. Not to mention the author's outstanding creation of a prehistoric world.
I really like what Sir Ian brings to these books. He reads with those plummy British vowels, of course, but he's also got a sonority and growliness that adds character in a unique way. He has chosen not to dramatically "voice" (create characters through vocal variations) his readings, but there is never any confusion about who is speaking or part of a scene. He brings a delightful playfulness to Wolf and an impetuousness to Torak that makes you feel like you know them.
I started reading this series with my eyes (as we say in the audiobook biz), but switched to audio for the second (and then re-read the first) ... and I don't think I'll go back to print. I'm in this for the full six I think, they are so good. The second title had some problems -- most notably, the publishers eliminated any pauses between chapters (the chapters are not designated by anything but a pause) -- but the third title -- which I realize that I've not yet named in this entry: Soul Eaters -- is excellent work.
I felt reluctant to nominate it, though, as I'm just not sure that it can stand on its own, so I've asked someone else who isn't familiar with the Chronicles to give it a listen as well (if there is anyone on the committee who hasn't read them already!).