Video Audiobook - Full short story The Repairer of Reputations from The King in Yellow by Robert W Chambers (1895) - read by Peter Yearsley. Turn on video captions to read on-screen or read online here: http://www.chaptervox.com/the-repairer-of-reputations.html
Plot / Summary
The story is set in New York City in the year 1920, 25 years after the story's publication. It is told from the view of Hildred Castaigne, a young man whose personality changes drastically following a head injury sustained by falling from his horse. He is subsequently committed to an asylum for treatment of insanity by Dr. Archer. Due to his accident, Hildred is a prime example of an unreliable narrator.
As related by Hildred, the United States has apparently prospered in the meantime, significantly improving its infrastructure. The rise of a new aristocratic elite in the United States has reduced the influence and immigration of foreigners, and this is particularly evident in the case of Jews. Suicide has been legalized, and has been made generally and readily accessible in the newly established "Government Lethal Chambers" being rapidly rolled out across other towns and cities.
While still recovering from his accident, Hildred obtains and reads The King In Yellow, a false document within the story which is represented as a universally censored play which deeply disturbs him. Once a wealthy dilettante and affable man-about-town, after his accident, Hildred becomes an eccentric recluse who spends his days poring over old books and maps and associating with a more eccentric character, Mr. Wilde, the "Repairer of Reputations" of the story's title.
Wilde claims to be the architect of a vast conspiracy which uses, amongst other devices, blackmail to influence and command powerful men whose reputations the conspiracy has saved from scandal. Hildred imagines that, with Wilde's help, he will become the heir of the "Last King" of "The Imperial Dynasty of America," which Wilde says is descended of a lost kingdom from distant stars in the Hyades. However, Hildred perceives his cousin Louis standing before him in the line of succession. Thus, he plans to force Louis to abdicate his claim to the throne, accept exile, and never marry.
Louis, who believes that Hildred is still mentally ill, humors him by agreeing to abdicate his claim but becomes angry when Hildred insists that Louis cannot marry his fiancee, Constance Hawberk. Hildred shocks Louis by claiming that he has murdered Dr. Archer and had Constance assassinated. When Hildred runs back to the apartment of Mr. Wilde, he finds that Wilde's feral cat has torn out his throat, utterly wrecking his plans to conquer the United States with the help of Wilde's conspiracy. The police arrive, and Hildred sees Constance crying as he is dragged away. It is unknown whether or not Hildred actually committed any murders.
The story ends with a note that Hildred Castaigne died in an asylum for the criminally insane.