Audible rips the heart out of Winter’s Heart

Spoiler Check: I have completed Book 9 of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series – “Winter’s Heart”

Chapter 26 of Winter’s Heart lasts a tad over 37 minutes as narrated by Kate Reading on Audible. That’s quite long enough to forget the chapter number. So when, at its conclusion, Michael Kramer (who narrates the male-oriented chapters) announced the start of Chapter 28, the absence of the merest vestige of a Chapter 27 completely failed to register.

Mistakes can happen in the editing room, but for Audible to miss out a complete chapter from any book, let alone a title in a long-running popular fantasy series, strikes me as a pretty major blunder.

Nevertheless, I can understand why it may have gone unnoticed and uncorrected for a long time. As I explained above, listeners do not in general keep careful track of chapter numbers. And in this case, the missing chapter did not break the flow of the narrative. Wheel of Time books tend to switch between plot threads every few chapters, giving rise to the odd cliffhanger along the way. If at the end of one chapter we leave Elayne Trakand, Daughter-Heir of Andor and Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, on the point of leaving Caemlyn to parley with the Borderland Rulers, then find the narrative switches to Mat Cauthon plotting to escape Ebou Dar at the start of the next chapter, it is not obvious that we have been deprived of an intervening chapter describing Elayne’s encounter with the said Borderland Kings and Queens at their armies’ encampment in Braem Wood. As the book does not then at any point revisit the Elayne plotline, it is quite conceivable that readers (listeneners) will finish the book none the wiser.

It was only around chapter 30 or 31 that I realised I had missed a chunk of the book, and then only because I have got into the habit of dipping into Wheel of Time fan-site Encyclopaedia-WoT every few chapters to read the chapter summaries and notes, to pick up on interesting observations and cross-references. I found myself reading the summary of Chapter 27 which covered events I was certain I could not recall reading in the audiobook. I went back to the audiobook to make absolutely sure I had not skipped past Chapter 27 by mistake.

I have alerted Audible and am waiting to find out what they plan to do about it. In the meantime I spent the princely sum of $8.20 on the Kindle edition of the book, just to read the missing chapter. I could not have left it unread, even if it hadn’t been as critical a chapter plot-wise, and I do want to press on with the series.

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8 Responses to Audible rips the heart out of Winter’s Heart

  1. Alright, I did think missing out a whole chapter in an audiobook was quite an error but clearly an honest mistake.

    I did think that once I had reported the problem to Audible they would have been more than a little taken aback, embarrassed and go to some lengths to put things right and make amends as a matter of priority.

    In fact the opposite is true. They asked me for the timings of the chapters to help them check. I took the time to give them exact timings and explanations on how they could verify the error.

    Twelve days have passed and I am faced with radio silence. Nothing from Audible at all. Not even an acknowledgement of my email and subsequent chasers.

    I am very very disappointed with them, far more so for the lackadaisical way they have utterly failed to deal with my complaint than for the original problem with the missing chapter. I was more than prepared to forgive the latter if they had responded appropriately.

  2. Some progress today, after a further fairly strongly worded chaser email.

    Audible have removed Winter’s Heart from my Audible Library pending further investigation and given me back the monthly credit I had spent on the book.

    Personally I could leave it at that. I have finished the book and now have the Kindle version, which I bought separately, if I ever want to re-read it or refer back to it.

    I do though hope Audible find or re-record the lost chapter as a matter of priority for the benefit of their other customers.

  3. Mogglewump says:

    Winter’s Heart is still not available as of 10th June on Audible.

  4. Josh says:

    Its october 2012 and its back up but still messed up. Know chapter 27 in cmpletely silent, with an occasional sputter of a word like in a staticy television reception.

    • That is pretty poor. Do please complain and get Audible to sort it.

      I am on a re-read of WoT, racing to finish in time for the release of A Memory of Light in January. I have just finished my re-read of Winter’s Heart and confess I did not rebuy it off Audible. I just used my old files (with Chapter 27 missing) and filled in the missing chapter from the Kindle copy I bought last time out.

  5. Max says:

    Happenned to me RIGHT this week! Still not fixed I see.

    • Megan N Dunn says:

      I just ‘finished’ Winter’s Heart audiobook today and the book skips from Matt and Tuon right to Cadsuane negotiating with the Council of Far Madding for Rand’s release. The chapter with Elayne and the Borderlanders was included but instead it was missing two and a half chapters closer to the end.

      I’m doing a chat with Audible’s customer service right now, and they said they’re going to escalate it to their content team but I’m not hopeful if this has been a problem since 2011.

      • Patrick S says:

        I just emailed them about this, too. It jumps from the end of chapter 31 to the beginning of chapter 35, and the book is broken up into 253 5-6m chapters that occasionally repeat a couple of lines.

        I got a refund, but it’s disappointing that this has been going on for 6 years.

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