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Lie Down With Lions Paperback – December 2, 2003

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Lie Down With Lions + The Key to Rebecca + Eye of the Needle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451210468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451210463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Follett's new thriller (after Eye of the Needle, The Key to Rebecca) involves cut-throat treachery and mixed-up romances. Jane and Ellis, Americans in Paris, are lovers, but she breaks with him when she learns he's a CIA agent, informing on terrorists. Ellis goes back to the U.S.; Jane marries Jean-Pierre Debout, a French physician, and goes with him to Afghanistan to care for rebel families holding out against the Russian army. Here is where the novel's real action, and its knife-edge tension, begin. After the birth of her baby, Jane discovers that Jean-Pierre is himself spying for the Russians and has caused a massacre of guerrilla fighters who were trapped at the foot of the mountains. Then Ellis reappears, bearing offers of American aid for Afghan leader Masud if the latter can unite his country's quarreling tribes. While Jean-Pierre is conspiring with the S oviet intruders to kill Masud, Ellis, Jane and even the infant girl, the story races to an explosive climax. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection; author tour. Foreign rights: Writers House. January 31
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his newest thriller, Follett updates the elements of his popular Eye of the Needle a spy fleeing desperately across a hostile landscape; a woman who must decide between her husband and her lover, opponents in a deadly struggleto contemporary Afghanistan. Jane Lambert discovers that her French doctor husband is really a KGB agent plotting to entrap a rebel leader. Ellis Thaler, spurned by Jane when she learned he was a CIA operative, arrives to conclude a treaty with that same leader. Soon Ellis, Jane, and her infant daughter are fleeing for their lives through treacherous mountain terrain, closely pursued by Russian patrols. As with Eye of the Needle , the implausibilities, the factual errors, and the sometimes trite writing do not slow the forward propulsion of the story. A page-turning escapist adventure that is sure to be a success.BOMC main selection. Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, will be published in Autumn 2007. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, WHITEOUT. He is also the author of non-fiction bestseller ON WINGS OF EAGLES. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Customer Reviews

A solid love story, with larger-than-life characters, wrapped in suspense and tension.
My only gripe (I WON'T ruin the plot) is that the last 80 pages were a little too detail-oriented giving the effect of being just a TAD too slow-paced.
D. Lee
We read Follett, like we read Clancy and Grisham, because they're amazingly talented story tellers with interesting stories to tell.
Volkswagen Blues

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Volkswagen Blues on March 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's unfortunate that one of the previous reviewers found so much to hate in "Lie Down With Lions," and I'm guessing it's because that reader was looking for the wrong things. No, Follett's not Faulkner, and you'll get no musings on the human condition. But that's not why one reads Follett; you read Follett for the tightly written, superbly constructed thriller, and, in "Lie Down With Lions," that's exactly what you get.
The action is intense, right from the outset, where American agent Ellis blows his cover in Paris, losing in the process his girlfriend Jane, who takes up with another guy and heads with him to Afghanistan, to offer medical assistance to a populace wearied by war against the invading Soviets (sort of a 1980s version of Médecins sans frontières). Ellis tails her there, under the auspices of the US government, to train the Afghan fighters. At which point, the plot thickens, and doesn't let up till the very end.
The dynamics of the Ellis/Jane relationship are great, very natural and well drawn in a way one doesn't usually find such relationships drawn in action novels. Their moments of greatest intimacy--including an amazingly and erotically written love scene that rivals anything in Miller or Joyce--help drive one of the novel's main tensions, a tension between the reader's responses to these two characters who are often at odds but both very sympathetic. This tension, though, merely underscores the real, action-based tension surrounding the military skirmishes taking place on the greater stage outside the Ellis/Jane relationship.
As some reviewers have pointed out, "Lie Down With Lions" isn't much use as a history primer on the war in Afghanistan, or as a probing meditation on the nature of existence.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began on Christmas Eve 1979. The inhabitants of this geographically isolated land, rose up to defend their country. They armed themselves with whatever was on hand, gathered into loose formations and began to attack and sabotage the Soviet Union's personnel, installations, depots and transports with any available weapons. Scattered guerrilla bands, with fierce pride, and a tremendous ability to endure, fought against the far superior and more numerous Soviet forces and sophisticated weaponry.
"Lie Down With Lions" opens in Paris in 1981. John Ellis, an American CIA agent, is working undercover and living with a politically active Englishwoman, the sensual, lovely Jane Lambert, who he plans on proposing marriage to as soon as he completes his assignment. Jean-Pierre Debout, a French doctor and member of the Communist Party, is going to Afghanistan, ostensibly to provide medical assistance to the rebel forces fighting against the Soviets. He has, however, another agenda. Jean-Pierre also loves Jane and wants her to accompany him to Afghanistan as his nurse-assistant. Ellis, after capturing an important KGB agent, is exposed as CIA. Jane leaves him in disgust, not only because of his job, but because he lied to her.
The Valley of Five Lions, a place of ancient legend, lies deep in the Afghan mountains, far removed from civilization. Jane and her husband, Jean Pierre have been working here, in a rebel village, for a year. They minister to the local inhabitants, who have never seen a doctor before, and patch together and stitch-up the wounded warriors. An American visits the valley with an important message for Masud, a famous and effective guerrilla leader, from the White House. The messenger is John Ellis.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By LadyT on August 1, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
I purchased this book because the setting -- Afghanistan -- sounded interesting, I like spy stories, and I'd just read Jackdaws by Follett which I'd thoroughly enjoyed. This book exceeded my expectations.
Three characters are the main focus of the story -- Ellis, a CIA agent, Jane, the woman he loves and wants to marry (although she doesn't know it), and Jean-Pierre, the man who also wants Jane for himself.
From the beginning Jane and Ellis's relationship is rocky because she doesn't know he's a spy and some of his actions have her puzzled. She wants more of a commitment and he doesn't seem willing to cooperate. On the day he decides to come clean about what he does for a living and how he feels about her, all hell breaks loose. The next thing Ellis knows, Jane is gone and so is Jean-Pierre.
Ellis later accepts an assignment to Afghanistan and their paths cross again. The fact that Jane now has a child doesn't change the way he feels. He's still in love with her, but he expects no love in return. Aside from that, his mission could get him killed and he doesn't want to bring harm to her or her child. Besides that, Jean-Pierre, who's always been jealous of him, has no intention on losing Jane to a past rival.
What follows is a roller-coaster ride of action, danger, romance, and suspense. I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this book and the cast of six readers were excellent. They changed their tone and pace to fit the scenes that they read. As a result, the characters seemed to come alive. Follett does a pretty good job of giving you enough of a description to help you envision the scenery and the dialog was good. To top it off, the action made sense and was interesting.
I don't know if the book accurately portrays the people of Afghanistan, so I didn't accept some of the characters' observations about how they are as a people. I mainly listened to the book to be entertained and it did that superbly.
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