10 terrific audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance

10 terrific audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

10 terrific audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance

An audiobook’s narrator can make or break your listening experience. That’s why I’m always thrilled to find new (or new to me) audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance. A prolific voice actor with over 1,000 audiobooks in his repertoire, Vance has won dozens of Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphone Awards. He’s also an Audible Hall of Famer.

Whether you love his rich tone and engaging British accent, or the fact that he always manages to infuse a unique quality to each character’s voice, Vance never disappoints. 

So be sure to tune into these books narrated by Simon Vance showing off some of his most incredible performances. They’re all eminently engaging, but my favorite would have to be The Complete Sherlock Holmes — a classic that never goes out of style. 

1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s mystery-solving antics have been entertaining us for over a century. There are a million-and-one adaptations reimagining this iconic pair, but nothing beats the original tales. 

This Audie Award-winning collection includes all of Doyle’s full-length Sherlock novels plus several short stories featuring the sharp-tongued, eagle-eyed detective. At an astounding 58 hours, this is one of the best long audiobooks out there, and often the first choice for those seeking Simon Vance-narrated books. 

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2. Golden Age by James Maxwell

Vance shines in virtually every genre, but he’s especially lauded for bringing sci-fi and fantasy novels to life. Golden Age is a perfect example. 

In this opener to Maxwell’s Shifting Tides series (which may remind you of ancient Greek mythology), two neighboring kingdoms are under threat of war by a mutual enemy who stalks the perimeter of their lands. Dion of Xanthos and Chloe of Phalesia refuse to sit idly by — but defending their homes means they’ll need to work with the Eldren, a race of shape-shifters who may or may not be trustworthy.

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3. The Big Lie by Kurt Eichenwald

The Big Lie is a stunning takedown of the fraud, incompetence, and arrogance that fueled the false — and deadly — conspiracy theory linking autism to vaccines. This deeply researched Everand Original is especially timely considering the ongoing COVID-19 anti-vax crisis. 

Eichenwald’s investigative reporting goes from badass to irresistible with Simon Vance as narrator.

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4. The Exotic by Hampton Sides

This brief but thorough biography of Mai, the subject of one of England’s most famous paintings, explains how a low-born Polynesian man made his way from poverty in Tahiti to upper-crust British society, where he charmed the king and plotted revenge against his enemies back home. 

Mai’s story has largely remained a mystery, but adventure writer Sides sets the record straight and retells the whirlwind of events with flair — with Vance’s vocal talents enriching every detail.

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5. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Kay, a prolific fantasy author who reportedly learned much about storytelling while helping the Tolkien family edit The Silmarillion, delivers an epic tale bursting with intricate detail. Tigana was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and won the Aurora Award for Best Novel.

As the once-prosperous land of Tigana struggles against the rule of a brutal king, rebel heroes must rise up to restore their people’s rightful place as masters of their own destiny. 

Discussing Vance’s stellar narration, AudioFile Magazine calls him “a consummate storyteller,” able to bring a variety of distinct characterizations to life in a way that’s “vivid and nuanced.”

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6. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

An empire in turmoil, ancient powers, and a murder mystery — Staveley’s high fantasy has it all. 

The emperor has been murdered and his three children must hunt down their father’s killer. With twists and turns at every corner and a foreboding sense that anyone could be a suspect, prepare to be kept on your toes from beginning to end. Vance successfully builds tension throughout while once again flawlessly bringing a full cast of characters to life.

This is the first installment of Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series.

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7. Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes

Holmes, an Edgar Award-winning author and playwright, delivers a darkly funny, absurdist mystery tale unlike any other. Quirky in premise and execution, Murder Your Employer follows three students from The McMasters Conservatory, which offers higher education on the art of homicide (and how to get away with it). 

Vance is joined by none other than actor Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) for this audiobook narration, with AudioFile saying, “Vance’s more mature and Harris’s younger voices capture the diverse cast to perfection, and the story includes fitting puns, lively jokes, and exceptional wordplay.”

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8. In Search of Sir Thomas Browne by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

With clear passion for and knowledge of his subject, Aldersey-Williams explores the observations, interests, and achievements of Sir Thomas Browne, a 17th-century polymath who coined roughly 800 words still in use today (like “medical” and “computer”). This account digs into the singular mind of a man who influenced modern language, literature, and science.

Simon Vance’s narration of In Search of Sir Thomas Browne won him the 2015 SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences) Award for Best Voiceover in the Biography category. The book was also an Audie Award finalist.

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9. Goodbye Christopher Robin by Ann Thwaite

Vance’s skilled narration is undoubtedly one of the reasons this audiobook won the 2024 Audie Award for History/Biography. His English accent creates the perfect atmosphere for a biography about one of the nation’s most notable children’s book authors.

A.A. Milne was an English playwright, poet, and veteran of both world wars. But he’s best known for creating Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin (inspired by Milne’s son), and the other beloved characters in the Hundred Acre Wood. 

Thwaite previously penned a full biography of Milne, but this book focuses on the Winnie the Pooh years — including the effects fame had on Milne’s relationship with his son. Goodbye Christoper Robin inspired a 2017 film starring Domhnal Gleeson and Margot Robbie.

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10. The King’s Speech by Peter Conradi and Mark Logue

It’s only fitting that a book about mastering the craft of speech is narrated by Vance, who won the 2012 Audie Award for Solo Narration by a Male for this work.

Before he became King George VI, Albert “Bertie” George was a quiet monarch who dealt with a debilitating stutter. But when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne on the cusp of World War II, it was up to Bertie to take charge.

This novel (a companion piece to the Oscar Award-winning film starring Colin Firth) tells the remarkable story of King George and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue — a man who was instrumental in helping the king overcome his speech impediment and rule with confidence. (He’s also the late grandfather to one of this book’s authors.)

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Looking for other high-quality audiobooks? Check out anything performed by Julia Whelan, or these super fun celebrity-narrated stories.

Ready to start listening to these audiobooks? Sign up for a free 30 day trial to Everand, your home for stories and knowledge with millions of ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, sheet music, and so much more.

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About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.