This is a short story by Neil Gaiman. A dwarf comes seeking a man to act as a guide to a certain cave in the Black Mountains on the Misty Isle, a cave that is said to be full of gold for the taking. But that gold comes with a price. This is a story of travel and darkness and truth.
Going the audiobook route is always a different experience than reading something, especially when the text is supplemented by illustrations, as this one is. In exchange for not getting to experience the illustrations with this work, we have a soundscape provided for us thanks to the talents of the FourPlay String Quartet. And we also get the author reading the text to us, as we almost always do with Neil Gaiman. (And I just learned that there is a copy of the book that comes with the cd that includes the music and narration, so you can get the full experience!) We get to hear what the author was meaning when they wrote a certain passage via inflection. For example, there’s one line in this: “He ran.” I’m assuming in the text that is italicized (upon checking, it is not), because when Mr. Gaiman reads that line, he says it with such joy and freedom that you know what the character was feeling at that moment. Otherwise, that line could be taken as the character running to catch up, or running in fear, or just running. But we get to know exactly what the author meant. And there are other passages that carry more weight when read with the gravity they were written with.
This fulfills the CBR10 Bingo square of “Birthday!” Neil Gaiman’s birthday is November 10th.