Benedict Cumberbatch’s sonorous tones are to bring to life the first unabridged recording of William Golding’s 1964 novel The Spire.
The author’s story of Dean Jocelin who feels called by God to erect a 404-foot high spire on his cathedral despite the lack of any foundations, has never had a full audio edition and will be released on 7 September to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Golding’s seminal Lord of the Flies.
The Golding family referred to Cumberbatch’s “agile and expressive voice”, saying they were excited for an interpretation they are sure will be “fascinating”.
Golding published his famous novel Lord of the Flies in 1954, going on to enjoy further success with The Inheritors, Pincher Martin and Rites of Passage which won him the Booker Prize in 1980. The Nobel prize in literature followed in 1983 before his death from heart failure in 1993.
He lived in Salisbury in a house with a view of the city’s cathedral which he knew in great detail. According to John Mullan in the introduction to The Spire, the novelist “apparently took little interest in architectural research for the novel, but he knew Salisbury Cathedral intimately.
“Like the cathedral in the book it ‘floated’ on the marshy ground on which it was built. He knew that the spire’s weight caused its supporting pillars visibly to bend, and that it might well have eventually collapsed under its own mass if Sir Christopher Wren had not added reinforcing beams in the seventeenth century. The cathedral in The Spire is likewise a near-impossible building… the spire is also beyond reason – a glorification of God that leaves the earthly behind.”
Cumberbatch will next be seen in upcoming movies The Imitation Game and Penguins of Madagascar before treading the boards as Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre from August 2015.