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1. The Bourne Ultimatum
$16.76 $14.85 list($23.95)
2. Final Beginnings
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3. The Bourne Supremacy
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4. The Bourne Identity
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5. Memorial Day
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6. The Enemy
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7. Absolute Friends
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8. Cryptonomicon
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9. Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta
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10. State of Fear
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11. Dark Voyage : A Novel
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12. A Death in Vienna
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13. Split Second
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14. Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Legacy
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15. Without Remorse
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16. Olivia Joules and the Overactive
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17. Retreat, Hell
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18. Broken Angels
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19. Reckless Abandon
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20. Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross

1. The Bourne Ultimatum
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553287737
Catlog: Book (1991-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 231
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The world's two deadliest spies in the ultimateshowdown. At a small-town carnival two men, eachmysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarrekilling. The telegrams are signed Jason Bourne.Only they know Bourne's true identity and understandthe telegram is really a message from Bourne'smortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, theworld's deadliest and most elusive terrorist. Andfurthermore, they know that the Jackal wants: afinal confrontation with Bourne. Now David Webb,professor of Oriental studies, husband, and father,must do what he hoped he would never have to doagain -- assume the terrible identity of Jason Bourne.His plan is simple: to infiltrate the politicallyand economically Medusan group and use himself asbait to lure the cunning Jackal into a deadly trap-- a trap from which only one of them will escape. ... Read more

Reviews (29)


4-0 out of 5 stars Great stuff...but not as good as the other 2 Bourne books...
The idea that Carlos wants a final, no-holds-barred show-down with David Webb aka Jason Bourne was too irresistable to refuse. Ludlum has himself another winner with 'The Bourne Ultimatum'...however, with that said, I didn't think it was as good as either 'The Bourne Identity' OR 'The Bourne Supremacy'. Was it a wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am full-velocity thriller? You BET!

For those who believe that 'Ultimatum' is the best of the 'Bourne' trilogy, I mean no disrespect, I just enjoyed the other two more (especially 'Supremacy'). I can't put my finger on it, but suffice it to say, I STILL came away from this one in awe of Ludlum's pure and natural skill to keep us enthralled at length (this is not a tiny novel). David Webb has got to be Ludlum's greatest character. Fully realized, with problems, and something many characters do NOT have in modern fiction: A Conscience (albeit a thin one when he assumes the Jason Bourne Identity...). This one took you on a mental trip to many places in the world, from America to Russia...all in the name of finally capturing Carlos the Jackal. The showdown really is a hum-dinger. Enjoy every moment of this one, I don't think Ludlum will be reprising the character ever again. Oh, and if you have yet to pick up one of these fantastic books, you are in for a real treat--a series of books that were written between the late 70's through the late 80's, and JUST as timely as when they first came out. Simply put, great stuff from a great author.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much of a good thing
The first two (Identity, Legacy) are beautiful page-turners. However, in the third installment, the Jason Bourne vs. David Webb struggle becomes a dead horse. You can only carry that split so far in a plot line before the man either must end up in an insane asylum, or integrate the pieces and move on. While a desparately wanted the saga to continue, I would rather not have seen it end with this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up Identity and Supremacy
The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy are two of my favorite novels. I have probably read each of them four or five times. I'd just as soon forget about Ultimatum, it doesn't have the hard core, kick butt Jason Bourne that we want to read about and it's a limp way for a story about a hero like Bourne to end. Go ahead and read it if you like Bourne, like I did, but it's definitely not in the same class as the first two. Bourne has lost his steam and edge and is just... can I say it? A fumbling broken old guy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bourne to Live
Robert Ludlum completes the trilogy with this rambling adventure between his two arch-rivals Jason Bourne and Carlos the Jackal. Only one survives to fight another day. Bourne returns to active duty because his family is under attack. The influence of the Jackal extends to all intelligence services and governments. Following the formula, Bourne miraculously survives several close adventures with the Jackal, where he is clearly over-matched.

Bourne and his rag-tag band of rejects, retirees, in-laws, and psychiatrists make many blunders before getting a line on the Jackal. Clearly, the thirteen years since the first Bourne adventure in Paris with the Jackal were not spent exclusively in commando and physical training. Also, this informal group seems to have trouble deciding who is in charge and how to proceed. Unbelievably the final showdown occurs in Moscow, which is clearly advantageous to the Jackal as he trained there many years ago.

There is a side story going on as well, with a group of former army junior officers from Vietnam, now prominent in the US government, military, and business, forming a murky Carlyle Group type organization to buy companies and assets. They have made millions in the process and will stop at nothing to continue. Bourne's group stumbles onto this new Medusa network and uses it to force Carlos above ground.

In reality, Carlos is still living in a Parisian prison, serving life sentences for 1970's era terrorist killings. He has enlisted the aid of the leftist President of his native Venezuela to promote his parole. Robert Ludlum is dead, but here things turn out differently. ... Read more

2. Final Beginnings
by John Edward, Natasha Stoynoff
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
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Asin: 1932128026
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: Princess Books
Sales Rank: 4578
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Book Description

Four families. One tunnel. And the survival of the country is at stake. Against the backdrop of serial terrorist attacks in New York City, psychic medium John Edward’s second novel follows the lives of four people and their diverse experiences with life and death on personal and global levels.

There’s the cantankerous Brooklyn police chief on the brink of retirement who lost his two sons in 9/11 and is assigned to the big case; the powerful Wall Street mogul who’s betrayed by his secretive family; the Long Island dad trying desperately to keep his cancer-ridden daughter alive following the death of his wife; and tying the trio together? A disillusioned psychic who abandons her self-imposed exile in Italy to come to the aid of her country and, acting as a spiritual sleuth, solves the eerily patterned crimes.

Drawing from his expertise in psychic phenomena, Edward spins a suspenseful, supernatural thriller that culminates in a midtown Manhattan tunnel where the lives and deaths of his characters converge. Reminiscent of the tragedy that is still fresh and deep in the hearts of Americans, these interwoven stories of love, faith, good, and evil answer the questions Edward is often asked by people all over the world: Do we choose the time when we die? Does everything happen for a reason? Do our loved ones guide us from the Other Side?

As with his previous New York Times bestselling novel, What If God Were the Sun?, this fictional narrative will strike an emotional chord with readers while sending a message of universal healing. And in the twilight moment of crossing over, the characters and the reader discover that the final end is really . . . the beginning. ... Read more

3. The Bourne Supremacy
by Robert Ludlum
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0553263226
Catlog: Book (1987-03-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 331
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a Kowloon Cabaret, scrawled in a pool of blood, is a name the world wanted to forget: Jason Bourne.

The Chinese vice-premier has been brutally slain by a legendary assassin. World leaders ask the same fearful questions: Why has Jason Bourne come back? Who is paying him? Who is the next to die? But U.S. officials know the shocking truth: There is no Jason Bourne. The name was created as cover for David Webb on his search for the notorious killer Carlos. Someone else has taken the Bourne identity--and unless he is stopped, the world will pay a devastating price. So Jason Bourne must live again. Once again, Webb must utilize his lethal skills--because once again, like a nightmare relived, the woman he loves is suddenly torn from his life. To find her, trap his own impostor, and uncover an explosive secret plan, Webb must lauch a desperate oddyssey into the espionage killing fields. But this time, survival will not be enough. This time Bourne must reign supreme.

... Read more

Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars the legacy lives on!
It is great to see this Bourne series getting all this attention, and I can't wait for the movie! Ludlum was the father of the modern thriller (at least in my opinion). this is the middle book of the Bourne Series about a deadly assassian created by the US goverenment, from the mild manner David Webb. While not as good as the "Bourne Identity" it is still a must read for all thriller fans, and hopefully a new generation of fans will get to enjoy this fine trilogy! Also check out "The Bourne Identity and Ultimatum" and I agree with an earlier reviewer "A Tourist in the Yucatan" is a thriller that carries on in the Ludlum tradition!

5-0 out of 5 stars Action packed story set in Southeast Asia
As promised in my review of The Bourne Identity, I reserved the higher rating of 5 for this book. (I'm currently halfway through the third installment of the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum -- The Bourne Supremacy.) There are several reasons why I liked this story better than the first. The first is that it is set in places in Southeast Asia like Hong Kong, Macao and China. Since I grew up in the Philippines and have visited these places during summer and Christmas time for roughly 18 years, it feels familiar. This sequel recaps what happens in the first novel in a very seemless, unobtrusive manner (a good thing). He reminds the user about why Bourne does the things he does and feels the way he feels. There's definitely more action and ass-whuppin' in this novel. He kills without compunction (when he has to) and his methods are, as noticed by his clone, that of a technician's. There's less of the mental anguish he felt in the first book as an amnesiac; therefore, less random ramblings in his mind. There are actually two stories happening in parallel. That of Bourne trying to reach his wife, and that of his wife trying to reach her husband.

The only gripe I do have about the dialogue and the asian characters in the story is their flowery use of words and seemingly religious devotion to Christianity. I can tell you for a fact that although Christianity has its influences and followers in Asia, we do not bring in gods, spirits, and Christ into every sentence we utter. It's a symptom of the author mistranslating common colloquial sayings or metaphors. He also seems to think asians use "Aiyaa!" a lot. Grandmothers or old wenches in a marketplace might use this word when spreading gossip or haggling over prices, but typically not men -- military or civilian.

I'm going to try something new in my reviews. I'm going to introduce my own criteria for ranking a book (recurring factors I seem to comment on over and over again) on a scale from 0-5, and hopefully the average will correspond to a more accurate rating for the book. I'll call it the FLAP system:

* Flagpole factor (F) - In keeping with the bromide that sex, crime and violence sells, this covers the first aspect. Were there any erotic scenes?
* Use of Language (L) - How's the dialogue? Is it affected? Does it reflect the vernacular of the setting? Is it preachy?
* Action (A) - How are the action scenes described? Are they as lame as Clive Cussler's? What are the weapons used? How gory were the kills?
* Plot (P) - How predictable is the story? Is it a page turner?

F:1 (there was a rape scene)
L:4 (use of local speech)
A:5 (describes tools of the trade, lots of kills)
P:4.5 (keeps you guessing)

3-0 out of 5 stars good writing but why sooooo long?!
ludlum's writing is good but reading pleasure spoiled by length of this novel - got bored after some 300 pages

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
From the first book, The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum has been by favorite author since. He is one of the few who with each successive book, it is a class hit, and one you cannot put down.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bourne aloft
By far, this is one of the top three books I've read lately. The other two were "The Devil in the White City" and "The Bark of the Dogwood." Riddled with action and mystery, this novel provides an in depth trip into the world of Jason Bourne. While it benefits the reader greatly to have previously read The Bourne Identity, even a first time Ludlum reader will find themselves permanently attached to the pages of this book. If you particularly like this read, invest your time in The Matarese Circle, the remainder of the Bourne Trilogy (of course), Trevayne and Apocalypse Watch. Robert Ludlum is the most inspiring and tremendously intelligent writers of his time ... Read more

4. The Bourne Identity
list price: $7.99
our price: $6.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553260111
Catlog: Book (1984-03-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 249
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jason Bourne.

He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was flushed out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body riddled with bullets.

There are a few clues. A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium -- maybe code words. Initial: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne.

But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators -- led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him.

"Mr. Ludlum stuffs more surprises into his novels than any other six-pack of thriller writers combines." -- The New York Times ... Read more

Reviews (200)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting story
Ludlum is one of the best at creating the super spy and writing action sequences. Sometimes he can create a spy story to back them up. This one is pretty good throughout. He isn't that good with the emotional development of his characters or writing love stories (but he isn't nearly as bad as Tom Clancey in these areas). The hero agonizing over what his identity might be gets to be tedious and the love story is awkward as in all of his books. But, mostly the book moved at a good enough pace to make me want to read more.

This is the first book in a three part series. I didn't know that when I read the book, and was frustrated and disappointed as I neared the end of the book and realized the story wouldn't be concluded. The second book in the series (Bourne Supremacy) is pretty bad and doesn't really build on the first book. It isn't necessary to read it before jumping on to the third book (Bourne Ultimatum) and the conclusion of the story. The third book isn't as good as the first, but is worth reading for the conclusion.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Bournr Identity
Critical Review: The Bourne Identity
In my opinion, after reading this book, I feel that Robert Ludlum is the proverbial father of suspense, holding his own with such writers as Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. The book, the first of a trilogy is written magnificently leaving endless opportunities to expand on future sequels. Ludlum has an uncanny way of grabbing the reader's attention and keeping him eager to continue. The plot thickens early, wasting no time to express deep thought. The author leaves much to decipher, not spoon-feeding information; done commonly in less quality works of literature, boring the reader to exhaustion.
Jason Bourne the protagonist has a very disguised role in the novel. Although struck with amnesia, Bourne has a very smooth and calm way of executing his actions. Bourne's ability to stay mild mannered is a perfect counter balance to all the far-fetched and extravagant plots that arise throughout the course of the novel.
Throughout the novel uncertainty keeps the reader intrigued. Bourne is constantly fighting a battle; not always physically with other characters, rather mentally against himself. The never-ending dilemma between good and evil is a major factor in this book. Slowly learning more about his past, Bourne is realizing the life he led is not the one he wants to lead. From this point on in the book, Bourne is fighting to get out of the line of work that made him into what he is. "Jason Bourne had been paid to kill, and the police in several countries had sent funds through Interpol to convert reluctant informers, to broaden the base of his capture (Ludlum, 94)." With the help of Marie St. Jacques Bourne starts his transformation. In reality, The Bourne Identity is an incredible suspense thriller, but if you take a closer look, its really just your basic stereotypical love story with many obstacles and twists, boy meets a girl, boy has four million dollars, boy asks girl to drive him to Paris, and they fall in love.
Bourne, right off the bat, is portrayed as a superhero, almost immortal, having the ability to endure the icy wrath of the ocean and the lead that is temporarily residing in his head. "The boat rolled violently leeward and the and the man whose skull was ripped open plugged over the over the side into the madness of the darkness below (Ludlum, 1)." Bourne's flawless execution is a little overdone at times and casts a shadow of artificiality on the storyline. The novel is quite unrealistic at times though, for example, Bourne's amnesia was in a sense limited, his name, age, identity were all lost in his accident, but his ability to combat was in tact as well as his illusive clever nature. "Jason dropped to a crouch, spun to his left and lunged out of the aisle between two adjacent cars, breaking his fall with the palms of his hands, the maneuver made in silence (Ludlum, 426)."
To conclude, The Bourne Identity is a literary masterpiece, setting a mold for all future suspense thrillers to come. The book is directed towards more of an intellectual audience, with gaps in the story that only your imagination can fill. Each person will take his or her own individual thoughts and opinions from this book. I stand strong behind this book, and would recommend it to all readers with interest in deep thought and suspense.

5-0 out of 5 stars The one that started it all!
Ludlum surpasses not only himself but all other spy thriller writers for all times to come. I started in 1977 with Scarlatti Inheritance and have ever since been hooked to Ludlum. But Bourne Identity exploded on me like no other book or experience I had. It is more than a spy story or about a person called Bourne trying to fight tremendous odds with a total memory loss with bursts of memory flashes of the violent past with layers of different personalities. It is about human mind itself discovering its way using the ultimate training of the past to protect it and achieve the objective imprinted in the psyche. The events will linger forever in the mind and you will be hungry to read another book which can match this book. Yes! Read it ,Enjoy it and be haunted by it.

I also recommend: all the other Bourne books along with most of the early Ludlum (I'm not crazy about his later stuff). Also check out "A TOURIST IN THE YUCATAN" a cool thriller!

5-0 out of 5 stars Just darn fun
While I'm usually one for a bestseller or Oprah pick like "Da Vinci Code" or "Bark of the Dogwood," I do veer off my chosen path and read a mystery or thriller such as those produced by Clancy or Robert Ludlum. Enter "The Bourne Identity." If you want an action story with all the surprise bells and whistles then here you go. The Bourne Identity is a good story as a book. The Bourne Identity is a good story as a movie; don't confuse the two, they are very different. That said, check 'em out but don't bash one because it's unlike the other; movies and books will never run on the same tracks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good film, great book!
The Matt Damon film was one of my favourite films until I read this book.

Simply put, it's awsome, it wrecks a great film by being better than a movie can ever be. I have lent this to my dad, my sister and my 2 best friends and they all rate it as the best book of all time!

It develops the plot in such a way as you never want to put it down, from the moment the unnamed man is washed up on a shore to Jason Bourne............. read it and you'll appreciate it, but do read it. A great Movie is a shadow of an amazing book! ... Read more

5. Memorial Day
by Vince Flynn
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743453972
Catlog: Book (2004-05)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 1826
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fearless counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp is called upon to fight against the world's most deadly terrorists in this harrowing political thriller by New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn.

It's just seven days before Memorial Day, and the nation's capital is buzzing with last-minute preparations for the unveiling of the magnificent new memorial honoring the men and women who fought in World War II. Despite the hopeful energy of the city, Mitch Rapp senses trouble. A spike in CIA intelligence has pointed to a major terrorist attack on the United States. Now it's up to Rapp to pull out all the stops.

Rapp immediately leaves for Afghanistan, where he leads a special forces unit on a daring commando raid across the border into a remote Pakistani village. Their target: an al Qaeda stronghold. Within a subterranean room, Rapp and his team discover a treasure trove of maps, computers, files, and bills of lading for multiple freighters heading to U.S. ports -- all pointing to plans for a catastrophic nuclear attack on Washington, DC.

Information is quickly relayed back to CIA headquarters, and a nuclear emergency support team scrambles to the scene. In a few hours, the freighters have been located and disarmed and the danger has been averted. Or has it?

Despite all the backslapping and congratulations, Mitch Rapp can't shake the feeling that the operation seemed just a bit too easy. Rapp follows his instincts on a quest to unearth the whole truth. What he finds is truly terrifying, and with Memorial Day closing fast, Rapp must find a way to prevent a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

Packed with the heartstopping action and political intrigue that Vince Flynn's fans love, here is a stylish thriller exalting America's past battles for freedom as well as its continued fight for peace. ... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars strong action thriller
Intel learns that countries harboring terrorists are transferring their stock and bonds into gold while at a top-secret installation a Pakistani terrorist is being interrogated by CIA black ops agent Mitch Rapp. Intel finds out that Al Qaeda is preparing to strike at the United States, making the World Trade Towers destruction seem like a child destroying a toy. Mitch and a group of commandos raid a small Pakistani mountain town where they find proof that Al Qaeda is getting ready to attack America.

Going through the documents and the computer disks, Mitch and other operatives believe that the terrorist group is trying to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the United States. Through diligent effort and good investigative work, they are able to locate the bomb which was being shipped into the country by boat. Further Intel lead Mitch to believe that a second bomb has already been smuggled into the country and it is set to go off at the White House festivities on Memorial Day if Mitch can't locate it in time.

Vince Flynn is one of the best writers of action thrillers on the world scene today. His protagonist is a true patriot, willing to get his hands dirty if it means saving innocent lives. He can't stand or deal with the politics that get in the way of catching terrorists and believes the legal rights belonging to ordinary people should be suspended for active terrorists. Readers won't know until the last paragraph if the hero finds the nuclear bomb and is able to prevent it from going off. MEMORIAL DAY is more frightening than a horror tale because the premise of the story is all too plausible.

Harriet Klausner

5-0 out of 5 stars Mitch Rapp is back!!
Simply put, if you like the other "Mitch Rapp" books, you'll like this one. The superman of CIA operatives is out to save Washington DC (and the US) from a terrorist attack. Given what's going on in the world the book has a "real world" feeling to it; which puts it a cut above the usual fiction in my opinion. Another excellent effort from Vince Flynn. I hope there are more Mitch Rapp in our future.

4-0 out of 5 stars How to Fight Terrorism
The star character of Memorial Day is Mitch Rapp. He is a dedicated, determined, independent, bold, and sometimes ruthless intelligence agent. Rapp is willing to kill terrorists in order to get other terrorists to talk and thus save the lives of tens or even hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen. It is not always best for his superiors to have complete knowledge of his activities.

Memorial Day is an intriguing story of reaction to information of a pending nuclear attack on the United States. The author goes behind the scenes to show the workings and hindrances of government agencies in the battle against terrorists as well as the political impact on decision-making,

The short chapters give many opportunities to take a break from reading, but this is difficult as you anticipate the further actions in facing imminent danger.

I only found slow reading with the detailed military action depicted in the early chapters of the book.

It is difficult to believe that the heroics of a Mitch Rapp could be a realistic expectation within our government, but our lives may well depend on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tom Clancy, Move over. No, Move out.
Flynn has surpassed Clancy's ability to tell a griping story of political intrigue with good, solid, research at the heart of the story. Flynn focuses on the story, and unlike Clancy, doesn't need to prove how much knowledge he personally has acquired on his story material.
Flynn has the authority of an insider in his material, and stays close to realistic terrorism scenario studies. This is evidenced by the stunning accuracy of his plot lines in his previous books - everything from predicting Saddam's behavioral patterns, to the way the world has reacted to ongoing terrorism conflicts.
He's obviously a student first, writer second. I've found a new favorite author.

4-0 out of 5 stars A frighteningly realistic scenario
Vince Flynn, in my mind, is one of the top two or three thriller writers working today. His novels, always topical, can be considered almost nightmarish but highly plausible scenarios of political disasters. Mitch Rapp, CIA assassin, is a thriller hero whose character has evolved over the last few books. He is married but his real marriage is to his work rather than the woman he loves. His willingness to stand alone in his highly aggressive stance in questioning his Muslim suspects in order to save possibly hundreds of thousands of lives places him in an adversarial position with the politically motivated top aides of the President. He is even at odds with the President himself. This loner attitude that gets results makes him an ideal thriller hero.
Nuclear bombs are being deployed to the United States covertly by terrorists. Mitch Rapp , through an aggressive inquisition, discovers where the bombs are heading and must intercept them before they are deployed. His biggest obstacles to achieving his objective is the political machine of Washington and actually calls into question the US Citizen's civil rights. When should an individual's rights be subjugated to the greater good of society? Of course, the greater question is -will Rapp meet his objective of stopping the explosions.
It is the utter realism of these events which could very well be tomorrow's headline that makes this superior thriller stand out among the rest. MEMORIAL DAY is a fun book with a rollicking plot that never really lets up. It also brings into focus some of the political shenanigans that Washington is known for and in this election year makes this book all the more relevant and frightening. An ideal summer read especially the summer of 2004. ... Read more

6. The Enemy
by Lee Child
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385336675
Catlog: Book (2004-05-11)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Sales Rank: 2797
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reacher military career crisis
Lee Child's latest excellent Jack Reacher offering is a prequel chronicling an emotional and conflicted segment of Reacher's military career. Reacher, a major in the military police and Army executive officer in Panama during the U.S. mission to overthrow Noreiaga is abruptly transfered days before New Years Day 1990 to Ft. Bird, North Carolina. He soon learns that other top notch executive officer MP's have inexplicably been transfered to new posts. Reacher's commanding officer, the venerable Colonel Garber has also been curiously restationed. It is a time of major change in the world. The Berlin Wall is about to topple and Communism is disintegrating creating a difficult transition for the cold war based U.S. Army.

Within days of Reacher's new posting in Ft. Bird, a two star general Kramer based in an armored division in Germany is found dead in a seedy hotel close to the base. He was in transit to a conference in California with his staff. Sensitive documents within his possesion appear to be missing. Reacher is summoned to investigate and led to a strip club bar across the way. His theory is that the general sustained a heart attack during an affair with a prostitute. In the bar filled with off duty soldiers, he questions a special forces sergeant Carbone.

Normally a married general expiring during an illicit tryst would probably be covered up to protect the reputation of the senior officer. However within days, General Kramer's wife and Sgt. Carbone are both found brutally bludgeoned to death. Reacher now has a major problem on his hands. Without the backing of his trusted C.O., he joins forces with a capable young female African American lieutenant Summers to help him decipher the murders.

If he doesn't have enough on his mind, Reacher learns from his brother Joe that their mother, living in Paris, is dying of cancer. Reacher finds the time together with his brother to visit his mom. While there they learn a shocking secret part of their mother's wartime experiences in her native France. This serves to bring the sons even closer emotionally to her, making her imminent demise more painful.

Child skillfully conjures up some previously unexplored facets of Reacher's psyche in "The Enemy", while immersing him within a professional dilemma which has the potential to alter his future.

5-0 out of 5 stars A top-notch police procedural
Lee Child, one of the best of the unsung thriller writers, returns with another book featuring former military policeman Jack Reacher. The Enemy is a prequel to the rest of the series, flashing back to Reacher's army days in the early 90s.

As the book opens, Reacher has been transferred to a base in North Carolina where he is placed in charge of the installation's policing operations. It promises to be another dull, routine assignment -- at least until a high-ranking office turns up dead in a fleabag motel room just off-base.

What follows is a terrific military police procedural that finds Reacher pursuing the case -- and its cover-up -- across the country and even overseas to Europe. By doing so he places not only his career, but also his life in jeopardy.

Reacher remains one of the most intriguing characters in the genre, a complex loner who mixes brains and brawn in equal measure. He might not be the most realistic creation, but he never fails to be fascinating.

If you've never read Lee Child before, The Enemy makes an excellent place to start. If you have read him...well, then you already know how good he is.

Reviewed by David Montgomery, Mystery Ink

4-0 out of 5 stars Jack Reacher is terrific
Superman lives!!! Trying to ignore the glaring mistakes of our military in all Lee Child's adventure stories, I have read every one of them and enjoyed them all. Being British, Lee prefers writing about U.S. military but that's OK and I can forgive the booboo's because the story is quick moving and he paints Reacher as quite a hunk! He's invincible and heals quickly! :D

This prequel explains a lot about Reacher's motives and background. His family situation is so sad! And Joe is somewhere deep in the Killing Floor.

If you take this book as gospel, you will be disappointed. Just be glad you can recognize the miliary errors and just enjoy it as a good exciting read.

2-0 out of 5 stars The wrong vechicle for this yarn
Child writes in in interesting manner and creates an appropriate amount of suspense, however, he should not have chosen the US Army for his vechicle -- because his knowledge of such is extremly superficial at best. He creatates a main character who exists in a fictictious unit in an Army of which he has no basic understanding of its mores, organization, operations, rules & regulations, nor traditions.
He should have consulted a career officer before he went to press.
Why I take such umbrage with this novel is that that the portrayal is such a distorted picture of how the Army operates, the uninitiated will take it is as legitimate and feel that they now know what can go on within its structure.
As an aside, like Patricia Cornwell, he seems to have a homosectual acceptance agenda woven into his novel that becomes an unnecessary distraction.
I certainly will not try his work again.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Military Police Procedural
Those who have read any of Lee Child's previous 7 Jack Reacher books would already know that Reacher is an ex-army MP major who now drifts around from place to place and has the habit of getting himself into the most gut-churning situations. Those 7 books are set in the present and Reacher's past is merely hinted at, the reason why he left the army unclear. In THE ENEMY we go back 14 years, Reacher is a young MP at the start of a promising military career.

It's New Year's Eve, 1989, and Jack Reacher is the MP Duty Officer for the night at Fort Bird, North Carolina when he receives a phone call from the local police telling him that a soldier had died in a nearby cheap motel. He gives it only minor importance until he learns that the "dead soldier" is actually a 2-star General who has suffered a fatal heart attack. This is enough to jolt him into action.

We know that the General was in a place he shouldn't have been doing something he shouldn't and he was in possession of something that would be dynamite if it got into the wrong hands. The timing of the heart attack that killed him couldn't have been worse. We know these things but Reacher doesn't. All he knows is that there is something wrong with the scene where a General, who is supposed to have been on his way to an important conference but doesn't appear to have a briefcase with him.

He has barely begun trying to piece together the why's and wherefore's about the General when he is faced with two more deaths, murders this time, that are obviously related. By this stage he has recruited a partner, young, fast-driving go-getter Lieutenant Summer who is prepared to push as many boundaries as Reacher asks her to. They're both all set to run a full-scale investigation into the deaths and the possibility of missing documents when they are ordered off the case by their Commanding Officer, a very strange order that does not sit well with either of them.

As readers of past Jack Reacher books already know and new readers to the series will soon find out, nothing fires Jack Reacher up more quickly than an obvious cover-up. He's an investigator and has a keen sense of what's right and what's not and the order to stand down only results in him continuing his investigation - with prejudice. The fly in the ointment is that now, the investigation must be done covertly or both Reacher and Summer will face disciplinary action from their superiors.

Written in the first person, this turns out to be an intriguing mystery to follow with aspects of the case giving the feeling of being a "locked room" mystery, thanks to the tight security surrounding the entry to and exit from the Fort Bird base. Of added interest are the protocols that come from conducting an investigation from within the armed forces and Reacher's initiative in getting around pesky problems such as obeying the orders of a superior officer and insubordination.

Lee Child writes this plot driven military police procedural with an economical style, putting together an intriguing mystery while keeping character development to a minimum. The exception to this is in the inclusion of a side story involving Reacher's family. In a brief interlude to the investigation Reacher and his brother, Joe, visit their dying mother in Paris and they talk together about past, happier times. In so doing they fill in Reacher's background, fleshing him out and giving us a character who we can feel even more sympathetic to.

As mentioned at the start of this review, this is the 8th Jack Reacher book, but the good news for those who have never read one of the books from the series before is that, because this book is a prequel to the series, it's not only possible to read it if you haven't read the others, but I think it would be the perfect place to start. Speaking for myself, I didn't read the books strictly in the order in which they were published and didn't really feel as though I were losing anything in past knowledge or getting spoilers from earlier reacher adventures. ... Read more

7. Absolute Friends
by John le Carre
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 0316000647
Catlog: Book (2004-01)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 3901
Average Customer Review: 3.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (83)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but loses it's way
Mundy is as well crafted as any le Carre spy. His gift for quickly drawing wonderful characters is in full bloom in Absolute Friends, as Mundy and Sasha quickly leap off the page, and become captivating characters that draw you through the plot. Though the minor characters are also well drawn, it is the story of these "absolute friends" that pulls you through another revisiting of Cold War history.

Make no mistake: though previews will tell you otherwise, this is yet another journey through Cold War spycraft. Like The Secret Pilgrim, this is a history of the Cold War through the eyes of one spy. The inclusion of the "main" plot regarding 9/11 and Iraq is extraneous, and (I hate to say) poorly handled. The ending of the book simply does not read like le Carre - for a moment it seems as if we've slipped into James Bond territory, and the ending is just weak.

The story at the heart of this book - the story of Mundy, Sasha, and the fall of Communism - is superb. The tacked-on references to current issues, however, keep this from being the le Carre masterwork fans have been waiting for since the Wall fell.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Le Carre's best books
Le Carre's latest masterpiece spans three historical periods. The hero, Ted Mundy was born in Pakistan when the British Empire was crumbling, got a public school education in a changing England, went to Oxford and then on to Berlin where he met his fellow radical Shasha, forming an "absolute friendship". He and Shasha eventually formed a highly successfull spy pair during the Cold War, a period of ideological clarity as to what was right or wrong. After the fall of the Berlin war Ted finds himself a partner in a language school and, after this fails miserably, he works as a tour guide in one of Mad Ludwig's castles in Bavaria. Shasha reappears and they find themselves involved again, this time in a war-in-Iraq related operation. Only now things are not clear as to what is right or wrong. To quote Shasha "..the coalition has broken half the rules in the international law books, and intends by its continued occupation of Iraq to break the other half". Le Carre is [rightly so] highly critical of what the coalition is doing in Iraq, his thoughts full of the wisdom of a man whose life spans the same periods with the book's hero. This is not only a superb story of friendship, a historical novel, a well written spy thriller but also a cry of anguish of an educated citizen of the world caused by the post 9/11 state of world affairs.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sad and unrealistic.
Don't waste your time one this book.
Starts out fairly well and progress okay.
But then just gets stupid/ sad.
I must be brain washed but, the major themes seem silly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Morally powerful, totally engaging--I hope not prophetic
It's been a while since I've read a novel of Le Carre's, maybe a dozen years, but after my wife told me I had to read it, this one knocked me out. It's an amazing portrayal of the mix of idealism and delusion as the 60s movements disintegrated.

It's a wonderful classic Le Carre look at people trying to act morally in an amoral and often immoral world. It's a totally gripping read.

I've seen some complaints here about the ending, but to me, it
totally blew me away, as you saw the trap closing. The only problem I see, is that because no one wants to spoil the great read by revealing how it turned out, we don't have room to really talk about the ending unless we've read the book-and given Le Carre's statures it should have been all over the media.

I don't see it as anti-American at all. But if you you go back to the Wall Street Journal story on the mob of Republican Congressional aides who shouted down the Palm Beach vote counters in 2000. Or the BBC stories on 85,000 people illegtimately thrown off the Florida rolls. Or outing of Joseph Wilson's CIA-agent wife when he debunked the manufactured story linking Saddam Hussein and Niger uranium--well I hope the dark story in Le Carre's ending isn't prophetic.

And whatever your politics, it's a pretty amazing read....

Paul Loeb
Author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

2-0 out of 5 stars An Angry, Manipulative LeCarre
I oppose the war in Iraq. That said, Mr.LeCarre's rageful, bitter declamation is a disservice to the reader, the story, and, mainly, his characters. Ted and Sasha should have been two of the author's best--baby boomers with major chips on their shoulders and a world of pained idealism in their hearts. Instead, Mr. LeCarre uses their fascinating life arc as a rank device to spew his hatred of American imperialism and my country's reactions to the horrible events of 9/11. At the end, we're supposed to be even angrier than he is at the USA, a country he seems to feel will kill any and every innocent on the planet to shore up its world supremacy. It's a shame. Mr. LeCarre has written eloquent essays expressing his disdain for all things American. He didn't need to resort to his beloved medium, fiction, to flesh out his hatred. This is a sad work of multi-layered character assassination; and the characters are Mr.LeCarre's own! ... Read more

8. Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
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Asin: 0060512806
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Avon Books
Sales Rank: 1441
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy - is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702-commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia - a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi sumarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, CRYPTONOMICON is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring; the product of a truly icon ... Read more

Reviews (682)

3-0 out of 5 stars Cleverly plotted, but overwritten and underedited
Before I read Cryptonomicon, I read comparisons to Pynchon, especially Gravity's Rainbow. Those comparisons sounded overblown, and now that I've read Stephenson's book I'd say they are foolish--Cryptonomicon comes nowhere close to Pynchon.

But being judged a lesser work than Gravity's Rainbow is hardly damning. Cryptonomicon is cleverly plotted. Stephenson sustained his narrative well enough to pull me through 900+ pages, which is no small accomplishment. If you think such profluence, as John Gardner called it, is easy, I suggest you try it for yourself. I enjoyed every night I spent with Stephenson's story.

The book *is* overwritten. I had the sense that Stephenson went off on his rambles (e.g. the Capn Crunch section) just because he could, not because they served his book. I'd estimate that about 100 pages could be whacked without harming the narrative.

Characterization? Unsubtle. The Shaftoes, in particular, are a collection of cliches, especially Bobby the Marine. I found Randy Waterhouse to be the most engaging. For me, the story, not the characters, kept my attention. I simply wanted to see what happened next.

Finally...did *anyone* proofread the page proofs? The frequent errors were a distraction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sprawling powerhouse of a book - a 'must-read'...
Stephenson is once again showing his chops. The comparisons to Dickens (even absent the cutesy intentional anachronistic neo-Victorian touches of The Diamond Age) are becoming almost cliche but ring true.

Considering the challenges of a 900+ page book (cf. Infinite Jest, the Otherland series), the fact it takes place in two intertwined time-lines, throw in the present tense, multiple POVs, use of historically real characters (Turing, Reagan...), scientifically valid yet readable expositions of cryptography, van Eck phreaking, and the Riemannian zeta function -- you got to give the guy credit for hanging it all together pretty darn well.

I usually rush through books in a single sitting, but this one I'm savoring as I go (so I'm really only reviewing the first 400 pages - a normal book!) It's got a lot to chew on and is *amazingly* stimulating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the coolest book I've ever read
I've read Cryptonomicon twice now and am convinced that while this is very tough read, it is both highly entertaining and extremely educational. Stephenson has a tendency to weigh the reader down with minutae, but it's the kind of information that'll make you hit the internet to learn even more about. The plot switches back and forth between two eras: 1940s in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of WWII and in present day. If you're a technically minded person interested in historical fiction, cryptography, and the evolution of currency (i know, sounds weird but is highly interesting written by Stephenson), this is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars High entertainment
I enjoyed this book from start to finish, and went right to the computer to order more books by the author.

The style can be a little trying -- the metaphor density is about 6 to the page -- and it can get a little arch. Still, most of the flourishes are pretty fresh, while some are genuinely startling.

One review on this site complained of the overly "freakish" characters. That's certainly fair. If your taste doesn't run to characters who are extreme outsiders, you won't enjoy the book. Personally, I found the characters engaging.

Science fiction writers like to work a Theory of Everything into their plots. This author has a handful of Theories of Everything. I didn't mind. Most of the theories were interesting enough to serve as enhancements of the story rather than annoying digressions.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Glory"
Plot Summary: How to summarize this plot...Well, It starts with 2 professors and 1 student riding bikes at a late 1930's Princeton talking about zeta functions and building a machine to do calculations. Then there are WWII stories from Bobby Shaftoe's and Lawrence Waterhouse's (the student above) very different perspectives. They are both part of a code-breaking part of the US military where Waterhouse is one of the chief enemy code crackers, along with Alan Turing for the British from the bike ride above, and Shaftoe one of the soldiers carrying out seemingly strange orders to make the results of these cracked codes look like random occurances. It takes a long time in the book for Shaftoe to realize the true agenda behind 90% of his missions. Waterhouse has added large sections to the Cryptonomicon, the compendium of all crypto knowledge, as a result of his work. The other part of the story involves Randy Waterhouse (grandson of Lawrence) and his new company Epiphyte trying to develop a data haven in the south Pacific and the various legal and technical troubles that it involves and the enemies they accrue. Randy and co. meet up with the Shaftoe descendants as part of a surveying and cable laying venture in the Philippines. One of the WWII era characters, Enoch Root, starts emailing Randy Waterhouse messages concerning a certain crypto system that was not broken during the war. This is the same secret code that Randy's grandfather Lawrence was also working on in his lifetime incidentally. Eventually, almost every decendant of a war era character, if not that character himself, becomes involved in what becomes a large treasure hunt. The plot is in no way as simplistic and boring as I made it sound, despite the seemingly boring subject matter of cryptography and digital currency may be.

Opinion: This is a long book, but I loved it. It is incredibly funny at several points and had me chuckling out loud. The 2 main plotlines are pretty seperate for like 700 of the 900 pages but come together in a very nice way. I liked the writing style most of the time. Long, train-of-thought sentences, very descriptive. It drew a nice mental picture of things. The story was very engaging all around and I never felt like the novel was dragging. The characters were very believable. I'm an engineer and didn't get lost in any of the technical, code-breaking and cryptological discussions, some people might. There are graphs in this book which usually deal with something like Lawrence's work performance vs. how many times he has ejaculated and how to optimize his work, so don't be intimidated with those, they are tangents most of the time. For the super nerdy among us, there is a complete description of the "Solitaire" encryption method in the Appendix...not to mention a PERL script in the text somewhere around page 450.

Recommendation: Read it. 5 out of 5 stars. Did I mention this is funny? I will be reading more Stephenson due to how much I enjoyed this book. ... Read more

9. Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta : A Covert-One Novel (A Covert-One Novel)
by Robert Ludlum, Patrick Larkin
list price: $15.95
our price: $9.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312316798
Catlog: Book (2004-10-19)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 2003
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Book Description

For the past three decades Robert Ludlum's bestselling novels have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers worldwide and have set the standard against which all other thrillers are measured.His Covert-One series has been among his most beloved creations and now comes the latest thrilling novel in the series.

The Lazarus Movement, the dominant force in the eco-conscious, "anti-technology"protest movement, has sent rumblings down the halls of the world's intelligence agencies.Led by a mysterious, never-seen figure known only as Lazarus, this increasingly prominent group is believed by some to be preparing a bold strike.

When an attack on a nano-technology research facility leaves thousands dead--- protestors and scientists alike---from what appears to be a cloud of inadvertently released but gruesomely deadly nanobots, pandemonium reigns.Lt. Col. Jon Smith is activated by Covert-One to find and uncover the truth about Lazarus where all others have failed. As Smith slowly uncovers the deadly underpinnings of the group, he soon learns that the Lazarus Movement is only the very tip of the iceberg in a deadly scheme that threatens billions of lives and will forever change the nature of the world itself.
... Read more

10. State of Fear
by Michael Crichton
list price: $49.95
our price: $32.97
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Asin: 0060786019
Catlog: Book (2004-12-07)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 624
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Book Description

The undisputed master of the techno-thriller has written his most riveting -- and entertaining -- book yet.

Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world. From the streets of Paris, to the glaciers of Antarctica to the exotic and dangerous Solomon Islands, State of Fear takes the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear. ... Read more

11. Dark Voyage : A Novel
by Alan Furst
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1400060184
Catlog: Book (2004-08-03)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 2910
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A new historical espionage thriller by Alan Furst is always cause for celebration, and in his eighth novel, the talented writer who's made a particular time and place his own--Europe on the eve of World War II--takes his fortunate readers aboard the tramp ship Noordendam. Its captain, E.M. DeHaan, is recruited by Dutch Naval Intelligence to smuggle arms and spies past the watchful eyes of the German Navy.Like most of Furst's protagonists, DeHaan is at first a reluctant hero, certain that disguising the Noordendam as a Spanish freighter flying the flag of a neutral nation that won't attract the attention of the Nazi authorities will never work. The plot takes DeHaan, his crew and a handful of passengers that include a refugee family, a beautiful woman, and a mysterious Russian through the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean, the North Sea, and the Baltic. Putting DeHaan ashore in the exotic port cities affords Furst an opportunity to evoke the sights, smells and atmosphere of Alexandria's waterfront alleys, Lisbon's intrigue-filled cafes, and Tangier's shadowy souks, which he does with consummate skill. Maintaining a measured but never lagging pace, Furst takes the Noordendam on its final dangerous voyage past the Baltic Fleet in a tour de force by a writer who's inherited the mantle of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene and wears it as if it had been custom tailored for him. --Jane Adams ... Read more

12. A Death in Vienna
by Daniel Silva
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0399151435
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Sales Rank: 5904
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Gabriel Allon hasn't been back to Vienna since his wife and child died there in a terrorist bombing. But when his mentor in the Israeli intelligence agency dispatches him to the Austrian capitol to investigate a murderous explosion atthe Wartime Claims and Inquiry Office, his presence alerts the attention of police officials who have reasons to stand in the way of his investigation. When a concentration camp survivor is killed who could link the father of Austria's next chancellor to Nazi atrocities and an ongoing coverup by the Catholic Church, Allon discovers another connection to the conspiracy, this one closer to his own past than he could ever have imagined. This is the third of Silva's thrillers featuring Allon, the art restorer who's also a spy (The Confessor and The English Assassin are the first two). In an endnote, the author calls them a "completed cycle dealing with the unfinished business of the Holocaust." Allon is such a compelling hero that one hopes Silva, a skilled craftsman and a terrific story-teller, will bring him back in another series. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Holocaust justice
Daniel Silva in his excellent and compelling novel "A Death in Vienna" resurrects his fascinating character, world renowned art restorer and sometimes Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon.

At the behest of his former boss, legendary Israeli spymaster Ari Shamron, Allon travels to Vienna to investigate an explosion in the Office of Wartime Claims. A former colleague Eli Lavon was seriously injured and two young office girls were killed in the blast. Foul play is suspected. Vienna holds only unpleasant memories for Allon as that is precisely where his young son was killed and wife maimed in a car bomb meant for him.

Visiting his comatose friend Lavon in the hospital Allon meets an old man and Holocaust survivor Max Klein there. Klein had accidently encountered a wealthy, distinguished Austrian man in a cafe and recognized him as a notorious high ranking Nazi officer in Auschwitz. He reported this to Lavon who assured him that he'd investigate. The man named Ludwig Vogel, a wealthy indusrialist is presently financing the campaign for chancellor of Austria of Peter Metzler.

Allon soon learns that Vogel is actually Erich Radek, a Nazi war criminal responsible for numerous atrocities during Hitler's Final Solution. He surprisingly discovers that Radek, is part of the recollections of his mother Irene, also a mentally tortured Holocaust survivor. Allon has all the motivation he needs to bring Radek's involvement to the surface and sets out to accomplish exactly that. Along the way. unforeseen stumbling blocks impede his progress.

Silva is his continuing passionate saga of Gabriel Allon using the Holocaust as a backdrop, again proves his undeniably superior writing talent. He again fashioned a piece that was impossible to put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another page turner, and a ggod one
Up front, I admit that I like the books of Daniel Silva. They are interesting, well written and very well plotted. Many of the characters are original and well formed as well. While this book replows the old ground of the Holocaust one more time, chasing after an eighty year old mass murderer this time, it does it well. Art restorer and sometime assassin Gabriel Allon is once more forced into the dark business of espionage and confronts both his own and his Mother's nemesis in this tale.

Like the other books by Mr. Silva this one strains credulity from time to time, but good writing in this genre often needs a suspension of disbelief, sometimes a substantial one. That Mr. Silva's book, A Death In Vienna, requires more than one was neither important nor off putting for me. It is just a fact. The plot other than this is tightly constructed, and you do get caught up in its twists and turns.

While I was reading this book I also read a very provocative review of the new Mel Gibson movie, the Passion of Christ, and several of the points the author of that review made could also be said with profit about this book. As a non-Christian that reviewer had difficulty getting past the extreme violence of the Passion of Christ and embracing it as a story of love and redemption. Simply stated the gore of the Passion got in the way of the message and he did not have the cultural heritage to see it as anything other than gore. The Lamb of God is horrifically killed and the Resurrection did not compensate for that fact for him, nor did it make it any easier to digest what he had seen.

Similarly, the massive, institutionalized and individual cruelty of the Holocaust is something that cannot be sipped a little at a time. It is a deluge of bestiality of man to man that is hard to swallow the first time you read about it, and it does not get any easier to take with repetition. If anything each telling becomes more and more unnerving as real people, people just like your and my neighbor do things to people that are as disgusting as they are true. There is no answer here of how a civilized people could have done such a thing. I do not think that there ever will be such an answer. But I think that the story resonates differently if you are a Jew. The telling of the story of the Holocaust has become, not an act of contrition, but an act of solemn witness. It is not redemption that is desired, but simple recognition of the horror that lies within civilized man, a remembrance of the people that endured that horror, and a warning to everyone - Since we do not understand the Holocaust we cannot ever be certain that we can prevent it from coming again.

In this book at least, a civilized man can confront and fight evil without descending into that evil himself. Even though Gabriel Allon is, and probably will be again an assassin, a killer of men. He is not a murderer. That is a vital difference between Allon and the Nazi in the book. It is not the act that makes the man, it is the choice and the reason for that choice that either gives or withholds meaning for the act. Thus, though there is a profound difference between hunting down and killing the murderers of the Israeli Olympic athletes and the trial of Adolph Eichman, both are moral acts for reasons explained in the fiction of this book. On the other hand, there is no explanation possible for the Holocaust, no explanation for the original participation in it nor for the current climate of denial of it. Silva does a service to us all, by standing witness.

A small point perhaps, a cartridge is a bullet and a propellant in a single package that can be loaded into a gun and fired. Silva uses this word once when he means a magazine that holds multiple cartridges. It is a small point, but one an expert assassin should know.

Read the book, you will like it and it will make you think.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still very good.
I have been a hardcore fan of Silva since I discovered his novel "The English Assassin" in the spring of 2002. I was going through a difficult time in my life and his book helped me through it. Since I've re-read all his novels at least twice and must say I was dissapointed this time. Don't get me wrong, this is a well-crafted, intelligent spy yarn that nicely ties up Silva's trilogy, but this one seemed to move slower than usual and the plotting just wasn't very interesting. There is more interesting backstory & drama involving Gabriel's personal life, including things with his mother and the woman in his life, but like I said the actual mystery/spy story in the novel is his weakest yet. I feel that "The English Assassin" is still the best of the three, and they've gone downhill since. Now that Silva has gotten these Holocaust novels out of his system, hopefully he can go back and write something with more thrilling suspense like "The English Assassin" or "The Kill Artist", which in my opinion is his best Gabriel Allon novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars High quality thriller.
When a bomb explodes in the Vienna Wartime Claims and Inquiry Office, killing Eli Lavon, an elderly Jewish man who investigated crimes relating to the Holocaust, Israeli intelligence dispatches Gabriel Allon to Austria to investigate. Allon's appearance in Vienna stirs up trouble as old enemies seek revenge, secrets are uncovered and unholy alliances are revealed.

A Death in Vienna is simultaneously the fourth Gabriel Allon book and the third installment in a trilogy which, in Silva's words, "completes a cycle of three novels dealing with the unfinished business of the Holocaust." Exhibiting the considerable writing skills he displayed in the first two novels of the series, The English Assassin and The Confessor, Silva admittedly opts for the most obvious of villains, the Nazis. Yet, by making Allon's mission personal (his discovery of his mother's writings about her participation in the January 1945 death march from Birkneau is a key turning point in the novel) and by linking the book's action to current events (i.e. the current political scene in Austria), he renders a familiar premise fresh and emotionally engaging.

A fascinating protagonist, Allon's talents for tradecraft and assassination provide a potent contrast to his preferred work as an art restorer. Of course, a hero needs worthy opponents, which Silva provides in the assassin known as The Clockmaker, and in former Sturmbannfuehrer Erich Radek. Add in a well -drawn cast of supporting characters, and Silva's ability to painlessly relate relevant history amid the action, and you have a well-balanced thriller, an effort that will leave fans clamoring for additional adventures of Gabriel Allon and friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read for the Beach or for the Road!
The Confessor is a gripping read with a highly relevent plot. Gabriel Allon is called upon to investigate a murder of a Jewish professor in Munich and the investigation leads all the way to the inner sanctums of the Vatican. This is a page turner and if you are looking for a thriller for beach reading, airport reading, or for a rainy night -- this book fits the bill. ... Read more

13. Split Second
by David Baldacci
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446530891
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 5317
Average Customer Review: 3.22 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From #1 bestseller David Baldacci comes a new thriller reminiscent of his phenomenal bestselling debut, Absolute Power.It was only a split second--but that's all it took for Secret Service agent Sean King's attention to wander and his "protectee," third-party presidential candidate Clyde Ritter, to die. King retired from the Service in disgrace, and now, eight years later, balances careers as a lawyer and a part-time deputy sheriff in a small Virginia town. Then he hears the news: Once again, a third-party candidate has been taken out of the presidential race--abducted right under the nose of Secret Service agent Michelle Maxwell. King and Maxwell form an uneasy alliance, and their search for answers becomes a bid for redemption as they delve into the government's Witness Protection Program and the mysterious past of Clyde Ritter's dead assassin. But the truth is never quite what it seems, and these two agents have learned that even one moment looking in the wrong direction can be deadly. Full of shocking twists and turns, and introducing a villian to rival Jackson in Baldacci's The Winner, SPLIT SECOND is pure, mind-numbing adrenaline to the last page. ... Read more

Reviews (120)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Blockbuster To Be Sure!
With "Split Second" by talented-storyteller David Baldacci, I was so engrossed with the story I had trouble putting the book down! I know you won't be able to put this book down either!
Yes, the story is that compelling!

In, "SPLIT SECOND" all it takes is a split second for someone's worst nightmare to actually come true. Former CIA Agent Sean Kings knows this only too well. He glanced away briefly, but it was all the time an assassin needed to kill a president candidate he was supposed to be protecting and so the story begins...

SPLIT SECOND is one fantastic story written by one fantastic writer! (Take '10' writer Baldacci you've earned it with this great story!)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the last villains didn't

I liked SPLIT SECOND. Kinda reminded me of early Ludlum. There are two "good" guys (well, one's a guy -- the other's a girl). The rest of the characters are all suspect, in one way or the other.

Sean King is an ex-Secret Service Agent who saw the presidential candidate he was assigned to protect get gunned down. Flash forward eight years. Michelle Maxwell is a Secret Service Agent who loses her candidate. He simply vanishes into thin air.

Other than King and Maxwell, you never know who to trust.

You know the two shamed agents are going to get together, but how Balducci does it is and how he weaves all the stories into an understandable tapestry is what made this book work.

Not to spoil the ending, I did think the storyline involving one of the final villains was over the top.

The author left the ending with King and Maxwell forming their own agency. There's chemistry between them. The sequels should be fun.


1-0 out of 5 stars disgrace
I dont think he wrote this book. If he did, he ought to be ashamed of himself.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
As a fan of David Baldacci, I looked forward to this book after ordering it from Amazon. The premise was fine, but there was no real character development, there was at least one embarrassing lapse in logic (spoiler warning: when the agents suspected Jorst had hidden the gun, they never thought it through with regard to the two women who were killed), and the end was way, way too far-fetched. Like another reviewer said, the villain was an impossible cartoon, and worse, his motivation for doing all that he did was just lame. I won't even be lending this book to anybody.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Edge of Your Seat Thriller
I bought this book on a Friday night and became so captivated by the story that I ended up devoting every spare second of my weekend to it. By Sunday night, it was history and I hadn't had very much sleep in between the things I had to do over the weekend and the one thing that I found myself unexpectedly wanting to do - which was to get back to Split Second to find out what would come next.

Split Seconds starts out by describing two seemingly unrelated security breaches for protectees of the U.S. Secret Service. The incidents are set eight years apart and on the surface, the only common ground that they seem to share is the fact that both involved the Secret Service and in each case, an agent was individually blamed for what went wrong. Yet, there is so much more to Split Second. There is a highly complex connection between the two events and that is the suspense and delight of the story.

David Baldacci has woven a wonderful plot through Spilt Second that kept me on the edge of my seat. It is well written and very well paced. Despite the complexity of the story, Baldacci's writing style and clear explanations made it an easy and enjoyable read.

In Secret Service agents, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, Baldacci has cast two extremely well developed characters. These are two that I would like to see continued in a subsequent story.

Kudos for Baldacci's latest! An exciting ride of suspenseful moments that kept me glued to the book from start to finish.

Highly recommended!

Daniel J. Maloney
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA ... Read more

14. Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Legacy
by Eric Van Lustbader
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312331754
Catlog: Book (2004-06-22)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 3311
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Book Description

In Robert Ludlum's ground-breaking career, no other character so captured and held the world's imagination as Jason Bourne. He appeared in three of Robert Ludlum's own #1 bestselling novels - The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum - and they remain amongst Ludlum's most-read and most-loved books to this day.Now, for the first time ever, the Estate of Robert Ludlum has acceded to the demands of readers around the world, turning to bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader to bring Jason Bourne back to life in a thrilling new novel.

Jason Bourne is known and feared in the deadly world of covert-ops as one of the most highly skilled assassins for hire. Bourne, however, was merely an identity assumed by CIA agent David Webb, a personality implanted by the CIA to facilitate a dangerous operation, but one that threatened to subsume David Webb entirely.

Years after the events of The Bourne Identity, Webb is no longer an active CIA agent and is now a professor of Eastern Studies at Georgetown University, living a quiet life, far from the dangers of his previous life. Until one day he finds himself the target of an assassin nearly as skilled as himself and is framed for the brutal murder of his two closest associates and friends. Fighting for his life against unseen assailants, as well as the full resources of the CIA who believe he has gone dangerously rogue, the Bourne identity asserts itself, leaving Jason Bourne in control.Now Bourne must use all his skills to stay alive as he battles against a determined assassin, the combined skills of the world's intelligence networks, and a shadowy figure in the background, skillfully manipulating events and people, in a far deadlier and more dangerous game than any of them realize.
... Read more

15. Without Remorse
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425143325
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 2797
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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This harrowing #1 bestseller is an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness.Without mercy.Without guilt. Without remorse. ... Read more

Reviews (248)

5-0 out of 5 stars Five stars for a superb, thought-provoking story, but . . .
A superb introduction into the shadowy world of John Kelly, aka John Clark. From the moment he picks up the young female hitch hiker, and from when she dies at the hands of the drug dealers, you know what happens, he gets his own revenge. It was pretty awesome but alarming how Clancy went into his own exact details on how Kelly/Clark builds his own firearms. So, maybe liberties were taken and the narrative states a lot that he is a Navy SEAL, trained to do all these things he does. But my one criticism is this for the plot. If Sandra O'Toole, his nurse girlfriend really didn't like him killing all these drug dealers when she found out he was responsible by her own intuition, surely she would have left him? Any woman with enough intelligence would! 'Without Remorse' - healthy attitude or a state of mind from the indoctrinations of military training and the Vietnam War? Judge for yourself. So the revenge element becomes another Goons of Hazzard/Death Wish type scenario. If one can convey the atmosphere of despair at being a victim of a horrific crime like that as well as Clancy and makes an impression on someone, is this a good thing? Think . . . I know I was beaten up in school several times and I did take a violent revenge, admittedly, but I never felt better for it. Kelly's portrayal as a jarhead robot brainwashed by the ongoing war effort works in fiction, though. Just don't emulate it. . . As far as the CIA recruiting him for his skills, this is an interesting angle. The Vietnam scenes of the POW camp with the Russian and American officers held prisoner shows how in war, people are the same. Humans, not combat robots. Just the same, discussing each other's strategies on nuclear defence and asking themselves why they are enemies? Naval scenes with Admiral Greer in an early incarnation - as excellent as ever! And we do see an early incarnation of Jack Ryan, while his father Emmet hunts down Kelly. Altogether, one to read for yourself and one to think carefully about afterwards - does Kelly's end justify the means? Drug dealers may be scum, but death puts them out of the misery of living to regret what they've done wrong at the hands of the crazies inside. Well done Tom Clancy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clancy has Done it Again
Without Remorse By Tom Clancy

As one of Clancy's best books so far, I believe Without Remorse deserves all five stars. It is different than other Tom Clancy books. In his other books, the main conflict deals with another country, however, in Without Remorse, the main conflict occurs on the streets of America. The book is set throughout the later years of the Vietnam War and deals with the life of John Kelly. The book tells about his beginnings and how he eventually came to join the CIA. Several people who have read other Clancy novels will identify John Kelly as the CIA legend Mr. Clark. John Kelley was still emotionally depressed by the loss of his first wife and his soon to be born child when he meets up with a hitchhiker named Pam. He quickly falls in love with her and he soon discovers about her past life as a drug addict and prostitute. On the boat ride to his island off the coast of Baltimore they befriend a married pair of doctors. The doctors tell him that he needs to bring Pam into Baltimore so they can check on her. But once he enters Baltimore, his life unravels right before him. Some gangsters spot and recognize Pam. They follow John's car and riddle it with bullets. They kidnap Pam and eventually kill her. They leave John for dead but he is just hanging on to life. When John realizes what has happened he cannot deal with the stress of losing another loved one in so short a period of time. He decides to do something. He will take revenge for Pam on the gangsters that killed her. This is when Kelly's history comes into play. John is an ex-Marine. He is also part of an elite group of Marines called the SEALs. He uses the knowledge that he has and trains himself for his task. He disguises himself as a homeless person and starts to stalk drug dealers around the city. His ultimate goal is to find the people responsible for Pam's death and murder them. At the same time the Pentagon has found a secret prisoner of war camp in Vietnam. It looks like a normal camp but all of the prisoners are supposedly dead. The North Vietnamese were sending pictures to the Army of "dead" soldiers. The Vietnamese were letting the Russians interrogate the prisoners in exchange for arms. Admiral Greer and Admiral Maxwell decided that they should liberate the camp and they start looking for people who know the area. The only Marine that was ever there is John Kelly. He had saved Admiral Greer's son from the place before it was a prison camp. The rest of the book describes how the attempted liberation of the camp goes. It also tells how Kelly's quest for revenge leads him into trouble and into the CIA. The only problem with the book is that it is very realistic in the violence that is portrayed. There are many scenes that someone with a weak stomach should not read. This book also helps explain much about the John Clark character as well as many other characters that are in The Sum of All Fears, Clear and Present Danger, and The Bear and the Dragon. Another part that helps the book go along smoothly is that most of the military jargon is left out. This book is a must read and once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it back down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Violence manifested in a standalone novel
Although the Jack Ryan fans are used to the books building on one another, this one features a side character. This book can be read by anyone who feels that books just can't do it for them. I have lent this book to three or four others, and the ones who actually read it loved it! It's a great book!

You do not have to know about Clancy's previous books to enjoy this one; that alone makes it a good selection in some cases. I would think that this book would be enjoyed by anyone who likes action movies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun read
This was my first Clancy and I really enjoyed it! This book good character development (at least more than I expected from this type of book). Without Remorse tells the story of ex-navy S.E.A.L. John Kelly (S.E.A.L. means sea air land) and his rise to become the C.I.A. legend Mr. Clark. This story takes place during the Vietnam War. It starts out with the sort of generic action story of man loses his wife/friend/partner and then goes outside of the system to avenge the death of his wife/friend/partner, but this story has a certain more creative spark than your common action story. The action is well done in full Clancy form, and you really do feel for the characters in this book. I for one love this book, but its length (750 pages) might scare others away.

3-0 out of 5 stars Part Death Wish and part Missing in Action
Part Death Wish and part Missing in Action, this tells the story of how former navy seal John Kelly became CIA operative John Clark.
Set in the waning years of Vietnam, we meet recently widowed John Kelly as falls in love with a prostitute. She is brutally murdered by her drug running pimp and most of the book chronicles Kelly's quest for revenge, interspersed with the CIA's attempt to rescue american POWs from North Vietnam.
It's not a bad book, but for most part it is just a standard revenge fantasy. Yes we'd all like to imagine what a trained special forces operative could do to street gangs, but the joy of reading a Tom Clancy book is to be immersed in the world of murky and clandestine geopolitics- and this book has very little of that. ... Read more

16. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (Fielding, Helen)
by Helen Fielding
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033332
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 3162
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era . . . Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s "J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy") and she's ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.

... Read more

Reviews (30)

3-0 out of 5 stars This is no Bridget Jones...
I really enjoyed the Bridget Jones books, and after reading this, wish Helen Fielding had just stuck with the chick-lit genre. This book isn't bad, it's somewhat entertaining though sometimes just sort of annoying. However, having read the BJ books, I know Fielding can do better! Also, Olivia Joules is not nearly as likable as Bridget.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than Brigid
I'm afraid I must disagree with other esteemed readers. I loved Olivia more than I loved Brigid--and I liked her quite a bit. The book might be titled "Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination," but it's Fielding's overactive imagination that makes this book sing. It might not be WAR AND PEACE, but this book is exactly what this generation of young women need--an independent woman who is sucessful BECAUSE she is a woman--and sexy--not in spite of it. But most importantly, Olivia plays by her own rules--and wins. Hurrah for Olivia and Helen!

4-0 out of 5 stars Summer Reading
I give this book four stars instead of three since I read it during the summer. As a Bridget Jones fanatic I was a little bummed out by this one. It's not nearly as clever and insightful as the two Jones installments. I know plenty of people find Bridget Jones to be shallow and pointless, but Olivia is transparent. Basically, Fielding is better than this and all of her references to 'current events' are cliched and pretty lame. In the end, this book reads more like Candace Bushnell than Helen Fielding. But there are hints of Fielding's genius hidden in references to fashion, terrorism, and scuba diving.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Brain Surgery But Fun!!
First off if you've read the previous reviews you will see that Ms. Fieldings latest offering is not BJ. Okay so now that we've gotten that out of the way lets chat about what it is.

This is a fun light read that will have you traveling the world with one space cadet of a heroine by the name of Olivia Joules. She is writer that has an incredible knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time all the while trying to get a story that will be front page worthy of the publication that she writes for. This book is really "James Bondesque" kind of read which is at times funny and witty and at other times outright ridiculous. In any event it's entertaining.

Again this is not Bridget Jones's Diary and to be fair to Ms. Fielding, one should allow this talented author room to explore other creative avenues. Although this effort has not made it onto my keeper shelf I would not be quick to throw it in the trash bin either. I've actually read the British version of this book and found the illustrations to be an added bonus and quite fun.

Chick lit now has another semi-worthy effort out for reader appreciation. It's not as good as some but it's defiantly not as bad as the others. Come to this book with an open mind and I think you may just be surprise. In any event the ending is explosive

1-0 out of 5 stars Like reading the news
If I wanted to read a whole book about al-queda I think I would read the newspaper. This book is horrible. I really really hate to say that. I love Helen Fielding. Bridget Jones is probably my favorite book, but this one is just terrible. I haven't even finished it yet after about three weeks, while her other books took me a weekend to devour. Lets hope the next one is better. ... Read more

17. Retreat, Hell
by W. E. B. Griffin
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399150811
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 3311
Average Customer Review: 3.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Extraordinary challenges face the Marines in Korea, in W. E. B. Griffin's most electrifying Corps novel yet.

It is the fall of 1950. The Marines have made a pivotal breakthrough at Inchon, but a roller coaster awaits them. The bit in his teeth, MacArthur surges across the 38th parallel toward the Yalu River, only to encounter the Chinese in full force, who drive him back in turn. Back and forth, the bloody tides of war shift, and swept along with them are Captain Ken McCoy and Master Gunner Ernie Zimmerman, caught in the fight of their lives; Brigadier General Fleming Pickering, working desperately to mediate the escalating battle between MacArthur and Truman; and Pickering's daredevil pilot son, Malcolm, lost somewhere behind enemy lines-and maybe lost forever.
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Historical Fiction!
There have arguably never been more substantial real-life characters than Harry S. Truman and Douglas MacArthur. To bring their personalities and significantly different styles to a work of fiction, and do so in a manner that makes the reader feel " in the room" with these men, is nothing short of masterful. To bring the historical significant year of 1950 to life, and then weave through it a tale replete with anguish, danger, intrigue, frustration, elation, humor, heroism, and moral outrage, is nothing short of phenomenal. To develop fictional characters with dynamic and diverse personalities, and bring them to life through dialog, is nothing short of fantastic. A work of fiction that can do all three is brilliant. Retreat Hell! is W.E.B. Griffin at his finest. Retreat Hell! is brilliant, and the W.E.B. Griffin is a literary genius by any standard. This is his best work to date. If you can read this book without laughing out loud, you never served in the military. If you can read this book without tears, you never served in the Marine Corps. If you can read this book without feeling outrage, you must be related to MacArthur. If you can read this book without being thoroughly entertained, then great historical fiction is beyond you. Five Stars!

3-0 out of 5 stars from inchon to where?
Good action book, however title doesn't reflect book, since the story ends around 5 Nov, about 3 to 4weeks before the Chosin campaign. ONLY mention of the Chosin campaignis is the AFTERWORD, in which Griffin completly underestimates the numer of Chinese that attacked 8th Army, X Corps & 1st Marine Division by over 290.000 men. He ought to have checked the official records, rather than using "El Supremo's' figures. In addition, the cover art is of the late Marine Paul Ison of Florida, and his dash through the 'Valley of Death' on OKINOWA in 1945! What does this have to do with Korea, except Mr. Ison was a Marine. Other than poor facts, book was good. He had the Chinese estimates better in the fiction part of the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great from Griffin,but.....
A typically absorbing read from the Master with brilliant,deadly accurate battle descriptions,but,like Roy Jaruk (an earlier reviewer), I still get confused about where in Killer McCoy's life we really are.I've felt familiar with the Pickering family for years,but so many unfilled detail about their lives between the end of WW11 and the start of the Korean conflict. And what happened to Clyde Dawkins and all the guys we left in the Pacific? Please WEB,write us some fill-in novels to bring us up to speed!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story
This book is an epic, in the grand style, set during the Korean War of 1950-53. Following the Inchon landings, the North Korean Army is on the run. But, even as they follow, the leadership of the American army is locked in internecine war of its own, even as General MacArthur plunges ahead taking advice only from those who tell him what he wants to hear. But, this is not just a story of generals. This is also the story of a downed Marine fighter pilot who begins to learn humility, and an intelligence team whose hard-earned information is not wanted.

OK, I must admit that this is the first W.E.B. Griffin book that I have read, so I cannot compare it to any others. But, what I read impressed the heck out of me. This is a great story, less about wars than about the men who fight them; their loves and hates, their sense of duty and their overweening pride. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where's the story?
I have read all of his books and couldn't wait for this one. What a dissapointment. I have about 50 pages left and haven't seen any fighting action at all or even a plot or story. Most of it is people making introductions. You'll read about thier uniforms, boats and planes - descriptions only. In the beginning they capture a prisoner, but they don't play any role in the book. May give up on Griffin after this. It's time for Pick, Killer and the gang to retire and sell timeshares. ... Read more

18. Broken Angels
by Richard K. Morgan
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345457714
Catlog: Book (2004-03-02)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 3170
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Critics have compared Richard Morgan's first novel,Altered Carbon, to the classic hardboiled fiction of Raymond Chandler. The comparison doesn't accurately describe Morgan's second novel, Broken Angels. Morgan's prose never approaches Chandler's metaphoric excess, and Morgan's antihero, Takeshi Kovacs, doesn't wisecrack nearly as often as Chandler's hero, Philip Marlowe. Also, Kovacs's far-future universe is considerably darker than Marlowe's noir world. In Kovacs's universe, high-tech implants called "stacks" record memory and personality; this means soldiers can be sent to their deaths, have their stacks implanted in new bodies, and be sent to their deaths again, and again, and again. Generals needn't quibble about wasting lives in massacres or nuclear explosions. The slaughtered soldiers will soon be back in action--unless their stacks aren't recovered. Then their consciousness will go mad, isolated in an indestructible, inescapable virtual reality. The proper term for the Takeshi Kovacs novels isn't "hardboiled." It's "brutal."

The Martians disappeared long ago, but they left behind their star gates, which have allowed humanity to spread across the galaxy--and bring warfare to the stars. As Broken Angels opens, Takeshi Kovacs is a lieutenant in humankind's most feared mercenary company, but rumors of an astonishing archaelogical discovery inspire his desertion. Humans have never found a Martian starship until, perhaps, now. If the rumors are true, and the ruthless Kovacs can take possession of the unprecedented relic, he will make his fortune. But if he fails in his quest, he may find himself imprisoned in high-tech hell for eternity. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars It's not Altered Carbon, but it's still fantastic
Last year I read Richard K. Morgan's first novel, Altered Carbon, and was blown away. Such smart, edge-of-your seat darkness is hard to come by. But it also meant that Morgan set a very high standard for himself in his debut.

Broken Angels is a wonderful book and I recommend it. It's a page-turner, but I have to say it isn't as hard-hitting as Altered Carbon. Still, to say that it is not as good would be unfair because the two books can't be compared. Where Morgan's antihero, Takeshi Kovacs, was ex-special-ops-turned-private-eye-by-circumstance in the first book, this time he returns to his military roots as a mercenary fighting a planetary rebellion. The mystery novel is a genre that lends itself to the twist and turns that makes Altered Carbon great. Morgan (perhaps smartly) avoids comparison by choosing a much more subdued wartime setting for this adventure.

One thing that remains constant is the darkness; you can't get more noir than this. While Morgan's consciousness-digitizing technology was cool and mind-bending in the first book, here it is dehumanizing and bleak. In one scene, Kovacs goes to a "souls market" where piles and piles of "stacks" (digitized personalities of real people) could be bought. Death is no longer the worst punishment possible; centuries of torture can be inflicted on your digital self. War and the attendant death have lost meaning. All this and the zero-sum power games played by governments, corporations, and guilds seem to contribute to Kovac's increasingly nihilist worldview.

Another difference that I wasn't so thrilled about is that while Kovacs was cast as a beat-down mercenary and half-hearted criminal just trying to "get to the next screen" in the first book, here he ultimately finds himself in the middle of one of the most important events in human history. I was expecting more of the anonymous and reluctant protagonist, so I guess I was a little thrown off.

Nevertheless, this is a fantastic book, and Richard K. Morgan is a great writer who I'm sure I'll pick up again. If you like Altered Carbon, you should definitely give this a shot. And is you haven't read Altered Carbon, what are you waiting for?

4-0 out of 5 stars Great mix of politics, violence and archaeology
When I read Altered Carbon, I remember thinking hmm ... I'd really like to read about Takeshi Kovacs (the "hero") and his war buddies ... lo and behold, that's pretty much what you get in Broken Angels, along with alien tech, future politics, and plenty o' action, both real world and virtual. More of a "straight" SF novel than the first Kovacs, which I prefer. Plus, I love the quirky quasi-Marxist political slant native to British writers like Morgan, Ken MacLeod and Iain M. Banks (OK, so the last two are Scots), and I never fail to be amused at the ire it provokes in American readers steeped in Heinleinisms. So yeah, bring on Takeshi Kovacs #3!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as groundbreaking as Altered Carbon but a great read
I deeply enjoyed the gritty, dark, extremely violent Altered Carbon and was hoping for a similar thrill ride in Broken Angels but found myself a little wanting. The Kovacs we meet in AC seems to have changed quite a bit in BA, and you'll find yourself wondering about his motivations. The depth achieved in AC is not reached with this second installment as Morgan seems to have been focused more on politics and philosophy than action and violence.

None of this means that BA was not a great book and well worth the time. If you liked AC then this is a must read, if you're just discovering gritty hard core sci-fi I'd grab Altered Carbon first and check out Asher while you're at it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I would say this book is as much space opera as hi-tech
My love for sci-fi and space opera began during high school with the masters of that time and has grown over the years to include not only their works but the works of other excellent authors of this genre, such as Richard K. Morgan with this book and with "Altered Carbon", another great work. His books belong with:
"Stranger in a Strange Land", "Puppet Masters", "Foundation", "2001", "2010", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Ringworld", all the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" books, as well as books as new to the genre as "Advent of the Corps" and others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best new sf author in a decade . . .
Morgan came out of nowhere in 2002 with _Altered Carbon_, the first novel about Takeshi Kovacs, overstressed, dangerously empathic diplomat/soldier trying to stay alive (more or less) four centuries into a future in which the mind lives in a bit of metal housed at the top of the spine and can be re-installed in any convenient "sleeve." This time out, a disgusted Kovacs is recruited by a deserter from the other side to set up an expedition to check out a major find left by the long-disappeared Martians -- who are the only reason humans are out in space to begin with. It's a quest tale, and a very good one, but the real pleasure, for me, is in the author's masterful portrayal and development of the characters. You don't necessarily have to like Kovacs, and you certainly wouldn't feel comfortable around him, but after two excellent novels, you would probably begin to understand him. There's some great quotable passages here, too, about the nature of war, and government, and loyalty, and the human situation in the universe. If _Broken Angels_ doesn't win the Hugo or the Nebula, or both, there is no justice. But, then, Kovacs knows that already. ... Read more

19. Reckless Abandon
by Stuart Woods
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399151516
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 19360
Average Customer Review: 2.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington tracks a mobster hiding deep inside the witness protection program in this next thriller in the New York Times-bestselling series.

Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City; but this time he is joined by the tenacious Holly Barker from Orchid Blues, the lady police chief of Orchid Island, Florida. In Reckless Abandon, Holly finally makes it to Manhattan, hot on the trail of an evil fugitive from her jurisdiction. Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them-and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued, not the pursuer.
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Reviews (25)

3-0 out of 5 stars I was so looking forward to this book....
As an avid reader of Stuart Woods, I was really looking forward to this book, where both of his series characters would meet up. Overall, the plot of the story was great, but there were too many incidents that it all too unbelievable. Stone and Holly managed to escape death too many times, and their personal relationship with each other was a little too hard to believe. I have to give it 3 stars, however, for the good plot, and also the great continuation of characters, interlocking all the books together. I really love that quality about Woods' writings, that he always brings back past characters. However, I am still waiting on Arrington Carter to make an appearance in a Stone Barrington novel. So if you are a reader of the series of Stone and Holly, then you definitely need to read this book to keep up with these characters. If not, then I wouldn't recommend this book, because you would be completely lost in the history of the storyline involved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stone and Holly together! Awesome!
Stuart Woods' characters Stone Barrington and Holly Barker are amazing forces to be reckoned with independently, but when meshed together in another riveting novel in the Barrington series, they just unglue the seems of sizzle... I mean, awesome! I love these characters together, and I was hoping for this ever since the Stone cameo appearance in Barker series.

Way to go, Stuart Woods!

1-0 out of 5 stars time to stop
This is Stuart Woods' most disappointing yet. After starting as a serious writer (Chiefs was brilliant) he moved on to light "beach reading" that I always enjoyed in the car on audiotape. The first few were fun and creative, with interesting characters. He has now destroyed his best two characters, Stone Barrington and Holly Barker, by making them charicatures of their former selves. Not even a sexual relationship involving these two formerly interesting characters can save this attempt to get money from former loyal readers. Woods may live well on the proceeds, but he has lost his audience. As a talented writer, he must now decide whether to continue to fall into disrepute or to suck it up and write something worth reading. I hope he has made enough money to do the latter, because if he has not he will never be able to keep us former fans buying.
On another note, the narrator on the audio version was horrible. He made the lame dialogue of the main characters completely implausible, and especially made the formerly interesting and strong character, Holly, a bimbo. This was a disappointment.

1-0 out of 5 stars Reckless Abandon
I also wish I could rate this book "0" stars. Woods use to be one of my favorite authors. Alas, no more. In his latest attempt to write, he has made Stone and Dino into standup comics. The dialogue is awful. I wonder how many DAYS it took him to write this book. Certainly no thought or real effort was put forth. How could someone write a masterpiece like Chiefs and fall to such a literary low in this book. Sorry Stuart, you have lost me as a reader. I will not purchase another book with your name on it.

1-0 out of 5 stars I wish I could rate this "0" stars...
I once proudly claimed to be the biggest Stuart Woods fan in the world. After spending my hard-earned money on "Reckless Abandon" and wasting my valuable time reading it, I hereby promise to never again buy another book written by this author. Mr. Woods' work has gotten much too sloppy to enjoy and frankly, I'm surprised his publisher is still cranking out his books...don't these companies read the work before they go to print? Oh well, time to read the latest Clive Cussler novel... ... Read more

20. Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross Novels)
by James Patterson
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446364193
Catlog: Book (1993-12-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 5596
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A missing little girl named Maggie Rose. A family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. The thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher. A psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who calls himself the Son of Lindbergh. He is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him-even after he's been captured.

Gary Soneji is a mild-mannered mathematics teacher at a Washington, D.C., private school for the children of the political and social elite. He's so popular that the kids all call him "Mr. Chips." And he's very, very smart. Growing up, he always knew he was smarter than the rest of them-he knew that the Great Ones always fooled everybody. He kidnaps Maggie Rose, the golden-haired daughter of a famous movie actress, and her best friend, Shrimpie Goldberg, the son of the secretary of the treasury, right out from under the noses of their two Secret Service agents. But Gary Soneji is not surprised at his skill. He's done it before. Hundreds of times before.

Alex Cross must face the ultimate test as a psychologist: how do you outmaneuver a brilliant psychopath? Especially one who appears to have a split personality-one who won't let the other half remember those horrific acts?

Soneji has outsmarted the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police. Who will be his next victim? ... Read more

Reviews (288)

4-0 out of 5 stars James Patterson is one of the best mystery novelists in US
At first, watching the brutality and tragery happened in NY, and reading the crimes in this book, I wish those should disapper.

1. Which is first, chicken or egg?
The part descibing on possibility of multiple character in Gary Murphy/Sonjei, reminded me of the movie, Primal fear in which Edward Norton deceived Richard Gear so amazingly. So many books recenly are published aiming for Hollywood movie, or many mystery novels and movies look like relatives. Where is the creativity? Among books and movies, I just found only 'Sixth sense' to prove the author's creativty.

2. The detailed and long desciption on the romance made me lost in following the kidnapping case. I think this targeted for the reversal in relationship, but which is a little boring.

Although, I gave this book 4 stars.
Because the character of Alex Cross, which is now confused with that of Morgan Freeman (He's too COOL though old), is so realistic and appealing to attract and deserve many people's affection. And one more, I cannot put aside the book and read the last 20-30 pages holding breath.

James Patterson is one of the best mystery novelists in US.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another good Cross thriller
This is my second Patterson-Cross book, after "Kiss the girls", which I really liked. Both are part of a series featuring the psychologist-detective Alex Cross, a tough Washington DC cop.

"Along came a spider" is an interesting book. It's the first one in the "Cross series", where the readers are introduced to the main characters that will make part in the series, like Cross, his partner Sampson, Cross family, etc.

Patterson has a very peculiar style of narrative. His chapters are usually short, wich makes the reading very fast-paced and thrilling. Also, Patterson has two kinds of narrative: one in the first-person where we see what Alex Cross is experiencing and believing, and it's a very personal and one-sided narrative; the other style is in third person, where the reader follows the steps of the main suspect of the crime the story is about. So, to be clear, we KNOW who the killer/murderer/kidnapper/whatever is from the very beggining. Does this spoil the plot or the reading? No! Patterson is master in delivering sub-plots, twists, nuances about characters along the book, all very interesting, and they make the pursuit/manhunt very enjoyable.

In "Along came a spider", Gary Soneji is the kidnapper fanatic about the Lindberg case, who intents to make history by taking away two very important children. Cross and his teammates in DC Police, FBI and Secret Service have to stop him before he strikes again. This is just the first plot of the story, and it keeps changing every ten or twenty chapters.

One thing I found annoying, though, is that Patterson made Cross something like a super-human being. There were times when I thought Cross was virtually invincible. But that is something minor.

What really matters is that Patterson created believable characters in one really good thriller. I will surely read the other books in the series, and I'm waiting for Patterson's incursion in medieval times "The jester".

Grade 8.8/10

5-0 out of 5 stars Suspense, drama, danger -- all wrapped in a good story.
Another great book by James Patterson. The story and characters were complex and the situation plausible.

How well do we know the people in our lives -- particularly the ones who are involved with our children is the crux of the story, and that is thought provoking -- as it should be.

Highly recommended. 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Alex Cross won't be forgotten
I read this book a few years back, and recently saw the movie. I'm such a fan of Patterson's, I wanted to include my review.

In the first of the Alex Cross series, this story is a race against time to find a kidnapped girl of a famous actress. Cross is called in to help, and in only the way he can, he finds his way to the end of this suspenseful ride. Not only will you enjoy the writing which propells the suspense and mystery, but you'll also enjoy the character development. It leaves you wanting more of Alex Cross, one of my most favorite detectives of all time!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading thrillers. I'll warn you though, like me, after you read this book, you'll be off to the store or library to pick up many more books by James Patterson.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Like all Patterson novels, the chapters are short, there's sex and violence, and the story is superbly told. What more could you want? If you haven't read any of Mr. P's novels before, this one is a good place to start. It features Alex Cross, as do almost all of his books, who is working on a case of kidnapping. And as if one kidnapping were not enough, Patterson gives us more than that. There's love story inbedded within the plot (Patterson knows his audience) and enough thrills to keep you turning the page well into the night. But the most amazing thing about ALONG CAME A SPIDER as well as many other Patterson books, is that not only is it a thriller in the real sense, but psychologically as well. (...) ... Read more

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