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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reader at a disadvantage
No doubt I'd appreciate the plot and characters more if I'd read other Christopher Reich thrillers. The author seems to assume that the reader knows all about Jonathan and Emma and Frank, but I didn't, and the tidbits I got along the way weren't really enough to flesh out those characters. I consider this a flaw. To contrast this series with another, the first Jack...
Published on June 30, 2010 by Bookworm

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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars best in series
"Rules of Betrayal" is the third volume in a series starring idealistic doctor Jonathan Ransom and his superspy wife, Emma. In my opinion, it is the best so far. Of course, the plot is implausible, to say the least, but if you object to such things you would not read most thrillers, including the two previous books in the series. One of the improvements I saw in...
Published on June 25, 2010 by M. S. Butch


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars best in series, June 25, 2010
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M. S. Butch (Katonah, New York USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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"Rules of Betrayal" is the third volume in a series starring idealistic doctor Jonathan Ransom and his superspy wife, Emma. In my opinion, it is the best so far. Of course, the plot is implausible, to say the least, but if you object to such things you would not read most thrillers, including the two previous books in the series. One of the improvements I saw in "Betrayal" was a switch from a pure "chase" plot -- in which the good guys spend most of the book running away from baddies who are trying -- usually for unknown reasons -- to kill them -- to a plot in which the good guys have some idea what's going on, and act with purpose. I'm tired of the pure "chase and shoot." In "Betrayal," Ransom is once again providing free medical services to the needy in the third world, when he discovers that he has been used as a pawn by "the Division" (the obscure branch of U.S. intelligence for which his wife formerly worked), in one of its operations. Rescued by the Division from the resulting melee, he is persuaded to join up to help with the next operation.

At least one of the baddies is a "James Bond" type villain -- fabulously rich and eccentric, but with a chip on his shoulder because of his impoverished background. I kept thinking of those baddies who capture Bond and offer him every luxury before they begin to torture him ("Mr. Bond, how about one last bimbo before I feed you to my pet shark? Do you prefer blonde or brunette?) More jarring to me were a couple of spots where the plot just plain failed to offer any explanation for what happened next. For example, when Emma is "outed" as an agent and tortured by her enemies, she immediately concludes that her mentor, Frank Connor, deliberately arranged for her to be killed, without once considering whether someone else might have done it. This was important to the plot but makes no sense.

On the whole, however, "Rules of Betrayal" is entertaining, and if you read the preceding volumes, you will not want to miss it.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reader at a disadvantage, June 30, 2010
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Bookworm "jcc" (Colorado Springs, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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No doubt I'd appreciate the plot and characters more if I'd read other Christopher Reich thrillers. The author seems to assume that the reader knows all about Jonathan and Emma and Frank, but I didn't, and the tidbits I got along the way weren't really enough to flesh out those characters. I consider this a flaw. To contrast this series with another, the first Jack Reacher novel I read was the fifth or sixth one in the series, but Lee Child masterfully characterized Reacher in that book. After reading it, I went back to the first in the series and got caught up, but I didn't feel I'd missed something by starting later in the series. In Rules of Betrayal, I never felt I'd gotten to know those characters very well. Having said that, the action and suspense were good enough to hold my attention to the very end.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turn off your brain, August 9, 2010
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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Sometimes, it's nice not to think. You don't get on a roller coaster for intellectual stimulation. And if you're willing to turn off your brain when reading Christopher Reich's Rules of Betrayal, you may be similarly entertained.

This book is the third in a series featuring Jonathan and Emma Ransom. Jonathan is a humanitarian doctor; Emma is the spy who married him as a cover but apparently actually fell in love with him. As the story opens, they are estranged: Jonathan is working in Afghanistan, providing medical aid to the needy; Emma is arranging the assassination of a United Arab Emirates prince who is secretly financing terrorists.

Emma's ploy fails, leaving her in a dangerous situation. She is fortunately rescued by an arms dealer who intends to use her to procure a small atomic bomb lost in the Himalayas a couple decades earlier. Meanwhile, Jonathan runs afoul of an Afghan warlord; though bailed out of this frying pan, he soon finds himself in the fire of a mission to meet the arms dealer in the guise of a plastic surgeon.

Reich keeps the pages turning, so he's not a bad writer, but that doesn't mean he's a good writer. Much of the story depends on coincidences; one minor plot issue is resolved when a deer wanders onto a road, and that's the least of these cases. Characters facing death are rescued by the sudden appearance of another character, and even Reich can tell that there are some points (like Jonathan's recruitment) that stretch credibility.

While I enjoyed the previous novel in this series (I haven't read the first) and was even somewhat entertained by this one, it wound up being one of this books which, the more I thought about it, the less I liked. Yes, you might also be entertained, but why settle for this book when there are so many better ones out there?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read for the Spy Suspence Thriller Enthusiast, July 4, 2010
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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Rules of Betrayal is the third novel featuring characters Emma and Jonathan Ranson following Rules of Vengeance and Rules of Deception by Christopher Reich; however, if I did not know better, I would have thought that this was a stand alone novel. Although this was my first exposure to this author it will not be the last. From the onset, the author grabs and takes the reader on a rollercoaster thriller/espionage ride which does not stop until the final page is turned.

A Russian, Emma, aka Lara Antonova, is a double agent for both Igor Inanov, the chief of the Russia security service, the FSB and a secret American spy organization called Division headed up by the picture of bad health, 59 year old Frank Conner and his fit deputy Peter Erskine in Falls Church, "Virginia.

Jonathan, a doctor and Emma's husband for the past eight years learns for the first time three months ago that his wife is a Russian whose real name is Lara and that she married him because of his job with Doctors Without Borders which provided her with cover and got her into "politically sensitive spots in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe so she could carry out her missions--bombings, extortion and assassination." Seeking absolution and penance for his part in mayhem, Jonathan leaves Doctors Without Borders and sets out alone to treat the poor deep in" the Taliban-controlled Lashkar province of Afghanistan." Still in love with his estranged spy wife, Emma, Conner uses that vulnerability to recruit Jonathan, have him trained by an Israeli operative named Danni and sends him on a suicide mission to prevent terrorists from obtaining and using a weapon of mass destruction against the United States.

First of the three main bad guys is 32 year old Prince Rashid, the twelfth son of the sitting President of the United Arab Emirates, Crown Prince Ali-al-Nayan.

Next, American hater, opium dealer, terrorist and ruthless mass murderer Sheik Haq is the son and brother of equally crazed fanatics' hell bent on making a name for themselves by outshining Mohammed through deeds death and destruction.

"Bastard son of a Muslim mother and British father, brought up in the City of Joy, Bombay's worst slum," 52 year old Ashok Belfour Armitraj a.k.a. "Lord Balfour" rounds out the evil trilogy as a ruthless killer and Pakistan billionaire international narcotics and arms dealer looking for his biggest score, the procurement and sale of a 150 Kiloton nuclear warhead with 10 times the explosive power of the bomb that fell on Hiroshima.

This 342-page international espionage suspense thriller keeps the reader on chair's edge rapidly flipping pages from beginning to end.

After reading this novel, I agree with author James Patterson, "Christopher Reich is one of my favorite suspense writers." I think you will enjoy it too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written spy novel set in the Middle East, July 2, 2010
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This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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Rules of Betrayal presents a story that seems current with the chain of events after 9-11 -- secret agents pulling off jobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the US. There's a thread of romance running through the story, but it never seems to gain traction and be a major part of the story. The ending is satisfying despite leaving you hanging, possibly for a follow up book?

It's a well-written novel and was easily read in one evening. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 Star Escape, June 30, 2010
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Konrad Kern (OFallon, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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See book summaries above. Rules of Betrayal is Christopher Reich's 3rd thriller to feature Dr. Jonathan Ransom and his wife Emma, a well studied spy and assassin. Reich's writing style both pulls you in and opens your mind to some stunning thrills. This is a topical thriller that will provide you with a great escape. The author's mastery of international thrillers seems to get better with each novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The True Purpose In Life, April 10, 2011
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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It took a great deal of resilience for me to get through this book. I love mysteries and especially spy thrillers. However, this book is not my genre. Fairly well written but not for me.

Jonathan Ransom, a physician who works for a group of physicians who do great charity in other countries, has a missing wife. It seem she is some sort of spy working for dual spy groups. The entire book is dedicated to finding her, and discovering what her work is. The book brings us to the mountains and caves of Afghanistan. Jonathan has several adventures, none of which are very realistic. This is my main complaint. This kind of book is so far out that it is not entertaining for me. I can't get into a book that has very little substance based on fact.

prisrob 04-10-11

Rules of Vengeance

Rules of Deception
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING SPELLBINDER - AUDIO REVIEW, July 25, 2010
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Audio CD)
As has been said some guys have all the luck - it was just a few years ago that stage, screen, and television actor Paul Michael was asked to narrate a book - the title? The Da Vinci Code. No one could have guessed that that title would remain on the bestseller list for over two years and Michael's narrative would be heard by countless numbers throughout the world Needless to say this actor has had very little free time since then.

While Michael has been seen in a number of British sitcoms, his deep voice and clear, concise diction are appreciated by multitudes of audiobooks fans who have heard his narrations of such titles as Digital Fortress, The Tristan Betrayal, Rules Of Vengeance, Alibi, Icebound, and numerous others. He brings not only skill and perception but also added excitement to his presentation of RULES OF BETRAYAL.

The third in Reich's thriller series bringing us Dr. Jonathan Ransom finds the good surgeon in a Taliban controlled section of Afghanistan where he narrowly escapes death. That might have been preferable to what he now faces. Emma Ransom (obviously, the woman he married) is in reality Lara Antonova, an assassin and a spy. She is now missing, probably captured by Lord Balfour, an arms dealer. Ransom is charged by Frank Connor, who runs Division, a secret U.S. Government agency, to bring Emma out. Of course, Division isn't the only entity that has an interest in Emma - the FSB in Russia also wants her. More than adding to the threats surrounding Ransom is The Hawk, an evil terrorist in Afghanistan who is close to being in control of a weapon of mass destruction.

RULES OF BETRAYAL is not only a spellbinding stand alone thriller but the ending leaves just enough hanging in the balance for us to eagerly await the next installment from Christopher Reich.

- Gail Cooke
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A living/breathing stunner, July 4, 2010
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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The jacket blurbs read, "Christopher Reich is a superstar" (Lee Child); "Christopher Reich is the master of the espionage thriller for the 21st century" (Clive Cussler). Sweet. I can't disagree. Rules of Betrayal is a living/breathing stunner. I had encountered Jonathan and Emma Ransom in the past, but Reich has taken them to a whole new level here.

A B-52 crashed on the Pakistan/Afghan border in the early 1980's. Carrying a cruise missile. A nuclear-tipped cruise missile. And the nuclear device is still-operative. Americans want to recover it. Terrorists want to secure it. Emma, who has been betrayed by a person at Division, is suddenly ready to help the bad guys. Along with the assorted terrorists there's an anglophile Indian arms dealer who calls himself Lord Balfour. Not to do anything in a small way, he has recreated a replica of Blenheim Palace for his personal abode. He's the go-between.

Jonathan is drawn into this viper's nest, not knowing which side Emma is currently supporting. Fortunately, he has the help of his Division controller and he is able to partner with a Mossad agent, who trains him in the ways of modern espionage.

Yes, the terrorists want to take their new toy to a landmark site in the U.S. Yes, Jonathan and Danni, his Mossad partner, will try to stop them. Yes, Emma is still in the picture and yes, the betrayer within Division will try to frustrate the good guys. There are also some assorted Seals and Delta Force types around to raise the body count.

This is the book of the summer. Part espionage, part techno-thriller, this is the real deal. Jonathan and Emma are back and they're here to save the country and all things holy. Pre-order now for a 7/13 release. Whatever you do this summer, don't miss Rules of Betrayal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb espionage thriller, July 1, 2010
This review is from: Rules of Betrayal (Hardcover)
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In Zabul Province, Afghanistan Dr. Jonathan Ransom of Doctors Without Borders is providing medical care to the locals when a Taliban assault occurs. He is air lifted out of the deadly firefight.

However, Jonathan learns from his assistant Hamid who secretly works for the American top secret agency Division that his wife Emma also known in some circles as Lara Antonova, who may be one of their operatives, is in trouble. He knows how capable a killer his Emma is so Jonathan has problems accepting the assertion, but refuses to ignore the possibility. Apparently Emma has done something to anger a Taliban brutal operative The "Hawk" and thwart fuming arms dealer Lord Balfour. The Division fears Emma has gone rogue somewhere in the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact she has found a B-52 that crashed in 1980 carrying a nuclear bomb that she has taken with her. Everyone from the infamous Indian war dealer to the deadly Taliban terrorist to the Division and even the Russians' FSB head to Lashkar Province seek to take the bomb from Emma-Lara; except Jonathan who seeks to extract his wife from being in the eye of the storm.

The third Ransom Rules (see Rules of Vengeance and Rules of Deception) is a superb espionage thriller as Jonathan who wants nothing to do with Division or spying is back in the field worried about his mysterious spouse. Readers learn much more about enigmatic Emma's background as she operates with rules in which trust and rely on no one as they will betray you. Jonathan is pulled between saving his wife and securing the bomb, which leaves readers anxiously awaiting the fate of the nuke in his next thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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Rules of Betrayal
Rules of Betrayal by Christopher Reich (Hardcover - July 13, 2010)
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