I worked on this audio book for more than 4 months, as a dedicated effort and as a part-time effort when other projects were in progress. It's the longest project I've ever done, and it's also the most challenging; I had to do more than 40 different character voices.
Though it's credited to Anonymous, I wrote it. No secret or mystery behind it -- just a desire to make the book more powerful for readers. It's in first-person past tense, and the main character has no name, gender, or race, so I didn't want new readers to wonder who the main character was and flip back to the cover to see what the name on the front was, and then associate the two. When I created the audio book cover, I found a clever way to represent this:
The Hero is set in a pre-gunpowder, post-feudal civilization with an emotional atmosphere similar to the Kurosawa and Leone films of the 1960s and 70s. The main character -- known only as The Captain -- devastated by the death of his mentor, travels to a remote village to notify his next-of-kin. The journey to the village follows a path of destruction perpetrated by an increasingly powerful gang of highwaymen who have established a fortress near his mentor's hometown. Despite The Captain's noble intentions, the people in and around the dying town are defensive and at times hostile toward him, except for two people: a middle-aged treasure hunter named Angel, and a young farmer named Arthur. Just as they begin to combine efforts and recruit allies to destroy the highwaymen, The Captain discovers horrible secrets about himself and the people around him, which forces him to confront uncomfortable possibilities about his past.
I developed a new narration style for The Hero that emphasizes the story's suspenseful ambiance. I also developed a few new effects to help establish the main character's struggle with hallucinations and disconnected memories. Unfortunately, some of the nuances of these effects might be lost in the downconversion and data compression required for Audible books at the time of production.
There are two "bonus tracks" at the end of the story. In one, I talk about how I developed most of the character voices; in the other, I explain what my goal was in writing the book and how I developed a unique style in order to accomplish it. There is also a little extra dialogue in the audio edition that is not in previous editions.
If you like a story with suspense, mystery, and elements of fantasy and horror, you'll like The Hero. In terms of audio books, if you enjoy dramatic readings with unique characters, then The Hero is definitely for you. Here are some excerpts from the story and from one of the bonus tracks: