Lorna Doone

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: RD Blackmore

Narrated By: Ray Brooks

Publisher: The Copyright Group Ltd.

Date: May 2017

Duration: 2 hours 24 minutes

Summary:

The epic qualities of Lorna Doone - seen both in its extreme archetypal characters as well as in the action and language itself - are what makes it such a riveting adventure throughout. Just as the boy John Ridd climbed the waterfall into an almost fairytale world of evil Doones and the enchanting Lorna; so we are drawn into Blackmore's fictional drama, which is at the same time both real and magical. Notice how John's narrative and actions - at times grandly poetic and heroic, at others urbane and pragmatic - allow the lyrical and the down-to-earth qualities of the story to co-exist side by side to brilliant comic effect.
1. BOY MEETS GIRL. The story's narrator, John Ridd, tells us how his father was murdered by the Doones, an outlawed family from the north, who had come to Exmoor. This section covers the first meeting between John and young Lorne Doone. As John's fishing expedition takes him deeper into Doone country, the moor takes on an air of supernatural menace. In an almost dream -like sequence at the top of the waterfall, John finds himself cared for by the beautiful Lorna.

2. JOHN IS BEWITCHED. Seven years have passed when `Girt John Ridd' rescues Uncle Reuben Huckaback, who has been set upon the Doones while on his way to visit the Ridds' farm, Plover's Barrows. The next day John looks down into Glen Doone, where he catches sight of the slight figure of Lorna, whom he now realises, is his fate. John climbs over the waterfall once more to find Lorna. Their conversation is light and witty but, on his way home, John feels the first stirrings of jealousy.

3. LORNA'S STORY. In her secret bower in Glen Doone, Lorna explains to John exactly who she is (or thinks she is - the truth will not be revealed till later). She says she is the daughter of the eldest son of Sir Ensor Doone, leader of the outlaws. Her father was killed many years ago, and Sir Ensor is now old. At his death, the band will be taken over by his wily second son, Counsellor, and his savage grandson, Carver. Lorna's only friend is her Cornish maid, Gwenny Carfax. John and Lorna arrange a signal so that she can let him know she is in danger. Meanwhile, the king's messenger, Jeremy Stickles, summons John to London to give evidence to the High Court.

4. JOHN HAS HOPE OF LORNA. On arriving in London, John is kept waiting for days before finally forcing his way in to see Judge Jeffreys. The notorious 'hanging judge' is one several historical characters that Blackmore weaves into his tale. Jeffreys questions John about possible disloyalty to the king in the West Country but decides against using him as a spy because he is too honest. Back in Exmoor at last, John finds Lorna has put out the danger signal. Plans are afoot for her to marry Carver. John offers her a ring he bought in London and tries to make her admit her love for him. After first discouraging him, Lorna finally admits her love for John and accepts his ring. In exchange, she gives him an old gold thumb ring with a strange cat carved on it.

5. A DESPERATE VENTURE. Following the rumours of a plot to put Duke of Monmouth on the throne instead of James II, Judge Jeffreys has appointed Jeremy Stickles to look for signs of disloyalty in the West Country. Once again, real historical events lend solidity to the story's romance. Lorna has stopped signalling and fails to appear at their meeting places, so John enters Glen Doone secretly by night to see her. In a scene of great tension, he narrowly escapes death at the hands of a sentry.

6. THE GREAT WINTER. John is taken by Lorna to see dying Sir Ensor, who gives them a glass necklace Lorna had as a child and from which the ring she had given John had been taken. With the arrival of the Great winter, John again visits Lorna. He finds that she is being starved into agreeing to marry Carver. John rescues Lorna and her maid and takes them home with him to Plover's Barrows.

7. REVELATIONS. In an effort to separate the young lovers, Counsellor Doone tells Lorna and John that their fathers had killed each other and, before leaving the farm, steals Lorna's necklace. Jeremy Stickles now reveals the real truth about Lorna: she is the last of the ancient Scottish house of Lorne - the wild cat was their emblem. Returning from Italy, where her father had died, Lorna and her mother were set upon by the Doone. Her mother was killed but Lorna was captured and brought up by the outlaws as one of their own. The necklace is made of diamonds and immensely valuable. Lorna is now taken to London by her aristocratic relations.

8. IN LONDON. A year later, John follows Lorna to London, where he prevents a burglary at her uncle Earl Brandir's house. When the thieves are discovered to be traitors, John is knighted by James II.

8. BLOOD ON THE ALTAR. Sir John Ridd leads the attack on Glen Doone and the outlaws are all killed, except for the Counsellor and Carver. Finally, with nothing to keep Lorna and John apart, they are married in Oare church. But as the final oaths are read out, Lorna falls lifeless into her new husband's arms, shoot by Carver Doone. In a climactic scene on Exmoor heights, John and Carver struggle. Carver is dragged down into the bog, and John returns home badly injured to find Lorna is not dead after all. At last, they can be happy together.

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