This unabridged audiobook comes from the novel by Steve Moore, which is based on the screenplay of the Wachoski brothers’ film, which in turn is based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore. Before it is asked, Steve Moore is not of relation to Alan Moore, though a Steve Moore did actually help Alan Moore get into the business of comic books. Alan Moore wants nothing to do with the movie V for Vendetta after growing increasingly frustrated with DC Comics, the owner of his intellectual property and the scripts for the movie that did not meet his standards. Complicated to say the least, but interesting nonetheless.
In an England that resembles more George Orwell’s 1984 more than it does 2006, V for Vendetta tells the tale of V, a masked marvel who plots to overthrow the authoritarian fascist government. Feared by all, the government has spies everywhere and runs the country as a police state. People disappear, news is censored, and citizens live in fear. In the tradition of revolution made so famous in England by Guy Fawkes, a revolutionary who plotted the destruction of Parliament, V first attacks on the 5th of November, warning the government that they have a year to change or he will personally overthrow the government one year from that day.
Unexpectedly caught up in his scheme is Evey Hammond, a young woman whose family suffered at the hands of government, though she doesn’t fully realize just how evil her government is. Saved by V from the bullying and devious Fingers, the England’s policing ruffians, Evey is taken into the belly of V’s stronghold and held prisoner until she has opportunity to escape. After escaping, she quickly discovers that finding refuge proves trickier than she expected since she has been accused of being V’s partner.
The intensity only grows as Evey is captured and time pushes forward, closer and closer to V’s deadline. In the backdrop, inquisitive inspector Eric Finch pursues leads to discover who V is and learns more about the people who made V, which will challenge his fundamental beliefs unlike anything before.
Whether voicing the bravado persona of V, the frustrated Evey, or the inquisitive Finch, Simon Vance delivers an astounding performance. His choice of voice for V fits with V’s exotic personality and attitude. Always donning a Guy Fawkes mask, V himself exudes elements of overdramatization that Vance delivers cunningly without overkill. His narrative talent propels the story forward with mood and atmosphere that strongly grip the listener for the entire tale.
Being so far removed from the original material, this audiobook cannot be compared to the original graphic novel but can only be judged on its own merits. Steve Moore builds an excellent story that pieces together the movie script but also proves interesting in and of itself without the movie. Vance improves on Moore’s writing by breathing respectable life into the characters and narrative.