Dickens' first historical novel is set in 1780s England at the time of the Gordon Riots. In a case of mistaken identity, Barnaby Rudge—a pale half-wit with long red hair who dresses all in green and carries a large raven on his back—is arrested as the leader of a mob of anti-Catholic rioters. He is condemned to death on the gallows, but an upright locksmith named Gabriel Varden comes to his aid.
Set beneath the cloud of an unsolved murder, this classic tale of treachery and forbidden love is often overlooked by present-day readers. Nevertheless, Dickens provides another memorable cast of characters, including the dull-witted, tyrannical John Willet, Dennis the Hangman, and Hugh the savage ostler.
Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over eight hundred audiobooks and has earned fifty-seven Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for his narration of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. A multiple Audie finalist, Simon has won Audie Awards for The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan, and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Winner of the 2008 Booklist Voice of Choice Award, Simon has also been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.