Friday, July 27, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Gold by Chris Cleave (audio) (CLOSED)

Gold by Chris Cleave
Narrated by Emila Fox
Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 11.5 hours

From the back of the audio case: What would you sacrifice for the people you love?

Kate and Zoe met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling - a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair. Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.

Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her eight-year-old daughter Sophie dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy - she is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Sophie doesn't want to stand in the way of her mum's Olympic dreams, but each day the dark forces of the universe seem to be massing against her. Devoted and self-sacrificing Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenzied months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis.

Intense, aloof Zoe has always hovered on the periphery of real human companionship, and her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate - and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession, and the advantage she has over a harried, anguished mother, to sever the bond they have shared for more than a decade?

Echoing the adrenaline-fueled rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling. With great humanity and glorious prose, Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships, and the choices we make when lives are at stake and everything is on the line.

My thoughts: When I was offered the chance to review the audio version of Gold, I jumped at it. I had read Little Bee a while back for my book club and really found that story to be quite compelling. With the Olympic Games starting today, I thought this book would be quite timely and I definitely wasn't disappointed. I even plan on watching the track cycling during the games - a sport I have never watched, but now am quite intrigued by.

Gold is the story of three top athletes, track cyclists who compete on the Olympic level, and what drives them. It isn't really a sports story per say, though you do learn a great deal about the grueling training that these athletes go through to be at the top of their sport. It's about team mates who are sometimes friends, sometimes not, with a complicated past and an even more complicated present. It's about parenthood, relationships, priorities and the sacrifices that are made for love and even for fear.

As the story unfolds we find out about Kate, Zoe and Jack's past bit by bit, a technique I happen to like. It's as if you are solving a puzzle, as the story progresses, more information comes to light to put the whole thing into perspective. I think, though, the star of the book might be Kate and Jack's daughter, Sophie, who is battling leukemia. Much like in Little Bee where the young boy is everything Batman, Sophie likens her fight with leukemia to being a Jedi Knight fighting the storm troopers.

I've now read two books by Chris Cleave and have not been disappointed. He seems to have a way of telling stories that really hooks the reader. Now I am anxious to pick up Incendiary and I will definitely be on the lookout for future releases by this author. 

Audio Thoughts: This is the first time I listened to anything narrated by Emilia Fox. I felt she did a great job giving each character their own identity and you could really feel the emotions that these characters felt. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for her other narrations.

I received a complimentary copy of Gold by Chris Cleave from Lauren at Simon & Schuster Audio.

Giveaway Information (CLOSED):  
I have one gently used copy of the audio version of Gold to give away to my readers.
  • Open to US/Canada
  • Must include email address to enter
  • Audio book will be mailed out by myself

To enter (required entry):  Leave a comment telling me what your favorite summer Olympic sport is. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

- +3 additional entries become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under). 

- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook. 
All entries can be in one comment- but don't forget your email address or it won't count!

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!




  1. I've heard good things about this book (don't enter me in the giveaway though).
    I have Pride & Prejudice narrated by Emilia Fox. It's great!

  2. I still haven't read any Chris Cleave, I need to!

  3. Thanks for the giveaway!
    -My favorite summer Olympic sport is beach volley-ball.
    -I'm your faithful follower.
    -Here is my tweet:
    -and my email
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com
    Emma @ Words And Peace

  4. Gymnastics
    schoenherr (at) centurytel (dot) net

  5. My favorite sport has always been the gymnastics!

  6. I like synchronized diving. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. GFC follower, Networked Blogs follower

  8. My favorite summer Olympic sport is basketball, only because I used to play. Count me in please! Following through gfc as Liene. LLucane at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

  9. I loved this book! I wasn't so sure if I liked his previous book, Little Bee, but this one was a real winner for me (oh, groan, pardon the pun).
    I hope you don't mind me doing this, but I'm hosting a giveaway for this book (hardcover) in August 2012 on my blog, Is it weird that I want to enter to win the audiobook from you though? I've never heard the audiobook of this and I'm curious!


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