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  • The Queen's Gambit

  • Written by: Walter Tevis
  • Narrated by: Amy Landon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,748 ratings)
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The Queen's Gambit

Written by: Walter Tevis
Narrated by: Amy Landon
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Publisher's Summary

Engaging and fast-paced, this gripping coming-of-age novel of chess, feminism, and addiction speeds to a conclusion as elegant and satisfying as a mate in four.

Eight-year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. 

By the age of 16, she's competing for the US Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting.

©2018 Walter Tevis (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Queen's Gambit

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story. Worst narrator

This is a good story. I pushed through the terrible narration because the story was so well done.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator not that bad!

By the looks of the other reviews you would think the narrator was the worst ever. That is not the case. Yes it’s a bit wooden - but - the listener always knows who is talking and you can understand everything. The pace is also perfect. People are way way too harsh.

The story itself? Really worth it. Yes it gets technical in terms of chess at moments but if you are willing to go into the weeds a bit - it is worth the time. Enjoy!

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration.

Passionless, jerky narration. It’s as if the narrator has never understood normal conversational rhythm and cadence. The recording quality isn’t even very good, full of dither and lacking sibilance. For such a basic activity this is an atrocious production. There have been countless Audible programs that have achieved so much more through the same medium. If this ever becomes anything more than a free download, please don’t waste your money. However, as it remains to be free, take a quick scroll through for some truly hilarious and apparently alien outtakes of the English language. I say none of this to be irrationally hurtful, but out of shock and surprising disappointment.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Awful narration

I have no idea how this story is I can’t even stand the narrator. Loved the show, can’t listen to this book.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Queens Gambit

Excellent read. It definitely helped me understand after watching the show on Netflix. I don’t know how to play chess but loved the read none the less. Great narrator! I could listen to her all the time.

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5 people found this helpful

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  • flo
  • 2021-01-25

This is a great book

Loved the book, not sure why people complaining about the narrator, I loved it.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • WTL
  • 2021-01-23

Excellent.

Better than the Netflix series, excellent narration, especially if you’re a chess fan - with some good detail on the games.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator was perfect.

I read the reviews about the narrator being horrible but I strongly believe she was perfect for this story. She was the mind of Elizabeth and a wonderful performance. This story was also incredible and amazing his closely the show stuck to it.

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3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • KO
  • 2021-09-01

"Best Friend" molests Beth in first chapter

The author has the audacity to arbitrarily include child molestation and to make it an arbitrary and sexualized scene. WTF

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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nope to child rape

didn't get past the first chapter. can't handle child rape. don't need that in my life.

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1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-10-26

I can't listen to it.

I can't get through it. I can't listen to a breathy reader. too many drawn-out last words on every sentence.

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302 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-28

Great book/ horrible narrator

Great book and story. However the narration is terrible. Very hard to listen to. Super slow speech with some characters and seems like shes mocking men and people from Kentucky. Very strange inflections and accents when the men speak. Plus all the accents are the same even tho they are suppose to be russian and mexican. I would reccomend reading it yourself and save your ears from the narrators terrible reading and voices.

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239 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-29

Awful Narrator

I cannot get passed how monotone the narrator is! I tried to listen on but could not.

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178 people found this helpful

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  • Debi Larson
  • 2020-10-31

Narrator ruins great story

Walter Tevis writes a great narrative but “readers” should stick to the written word. Amy Landon is a mediocre narrator but when attempting to do male voice it becomes comical and distracting.

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103 people found this helpful

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  • Aimee
  • 2020-10-31

Hard pass.

The narrator was breathy and flat. I had to increase the speed to 1.25 to make it bearable. The characters were poorly developed and none were likable. The story was plodding and pointless. The dialogue made me cringe and laugh out loud from its absurdity. I kept listening hoping there would be something redeemable based on all the good reviews. There wasn't.

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87 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrea R. Greenwood
  • 2020-11-10

Just one complaint.

I loved the story but this readers makes all the male characters sound like Barney the Dinosaur.

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70 people found this helpful

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  • knvmxi
  • 2020-10-06

What a look into the game of chess!

Wow, this was like reading a thriller. I was on the edge of my seat when the main character was playing her games. I felt her triumphs and her pain through the games she played, the author was able to provide the a clear idea of the tactics and strategy, enough so that a non-chess expert could participate in the emotional tension he creates. The characters are complex and rich, the plot is remarkably well paced using chess games-not an easy feat.The activity and turmoil of the mind and the glimpse of the fugue state that Beth experiences create excitement and anticipation. The only other novel that I’ve enjoyed this much based on the game of chess is The Luhzin Defense-which again, recreates the drama of the mind pushed to its very limits and potential. Ultimately, through chess in these two novels, i am immersed in the drama of human experience from the particular lens that the game of chess gives. Loved this novel, it’s so good!!

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67 people found this helpful

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  • thawstone
  • 2019-06-30

Don't Need to be a Chess Fan

Walter Tevis' Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books. Though I listened to it many years ago, it haunts me to this day. This book was a leap of faith. I have no particular interest in chess, however I opted to trust reviewers who claimed it didn't matter. The reviewers were right. Somehow Tevis manages to make the matches riveting without the need to know exactly what's happening on the chess board. The tension is palpable throughout. Perhaps this is partly because the matches are largely about the clash of the personalities involved. Add to this the fascinating story of the protagonist's upbringing and the ever lurking shadow of the orphanage's method to maintain tranquility.

I didn't notice any reviews by a chess enthusiast who might verify one way or the other: are the moves described the actual ones prescribed by the named techniques, i.e. the Queen's Gambit? Not that it mattered to me, I'm just curious.

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53 people found this helpful

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  • Bryan dwyre
  • 2020-10-28

Kinda rough

Narrator has the incorrect inflection. Sounds like they are fighting the natural pace of sentence ms.

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51 people found this helpful

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  • JAM
  • 2020-10-28

The Netflix Series is good

But I think I enjoyed listening to the novel more. Sparked me to get out our chess set and play during the pandemic, too.

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45 people found this helpful

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  • Sara12345
  • 2023-12-14

Great story, but the voice is difficult to listen to

The narrator sounds almost like an over dramatic AI…with long breathy ends to all her phrases…

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1 person found this helpful