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Rules of Vengeance Hardcover – August 4, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Jonathon Ransom Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Vince Flynn Reviews Rules of Vengeance

Vince Flynn is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nine previous thrillers, including Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, and Protect and Defend. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children. Read his guest review of Christopher Reich's Rules of Vengeance:

Last summer, before I picked up Christopher Reich’s Rules of Deception, I’d heard it was the kind of smart, high-octane international thriller that would take me back to tales of espionage and political intrigue written by the masters—like Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follett, and Robert Ludlum. Those books were propulsive mixes of fact and fiction, set in a combustible, all-too-real world where peace balanced on a razor’s edge and nuclear annihilation was a single bullet away. The best of them, like Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol and Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity, left you wondering if they might, in fact, be true. Might something like this really happen?

Then came the 1990’s. The Iron Curtain fell. Russia imploded. And Japan suffered a severe economic crisis. The world was left with America as its sole superpower. The bomb had been defused. We felt safe. And so ended the domination of international espionage blockbusters on the bestseller lists.

Along came Rules of Deception. Was it really a return to the big blockbuster of the 70’s and 80’s? Critics certainly were embracing it with gusto. So it was with some excitement and no small amount of skepticism that I picked up the book. The story started like a rocket and picked up speed from there. By page 20, I knew the critics had gotten it right. Rules of Deception was the very definition of a blockbuster: a lone, intrepid hero battling immense odds to save the world from a cataclysmic battle while also regaining the love of a fallen woman.

Now, Reich gives us Rules of Vengeance. Sequels are rarely as good as the original, so again, I was skeptical. And yet, Rules of Vengeance turns out to be that rare exception—where the novel not only stands up to its predecessor, but actually takes the story and characters in new—and completely surprising—directions. Again we meet Dr. Jonathan Ransom, a surgeon for Doctors Without Borders. The story begins with his arrival in London to deliver an address at a prestigious international medical conference, and it takes off from there at mach speed, offering more twists than the Monaco Grand Prix. I’m not going to give away any of the unexpected plot turns (and there are many), but I will say that once again, Ransom quickly finds himself in trouble not of his own making. And, once again, he is forced to maneuver between the good guys and the bad guys in order to figure out just what he’s been pulled into, and then make sure that no one else suffers because of it. The stakes are sky high. The locales are exotic. The plot is ripped from tomorrow’s headlines and Reich controls the story with a deft hand from beginning to end.

What’s particularly appealing about Jonathan Ransom is he is not a spy or a trained assassin. He is, in fact, the opposite: a doctor who has devoted his life to helping others—a loner working outside political boundaries who exemplifies the best in us all. But like each of us, he has a dark side that is both frightening and compelling. You do not want to make this man angry.

As for Christopher Reich, he—like Ransom—also may not be a trained spy or assassin (at least not to the best of my knowledge). But he certainly does manipulate the twists, summon the adrenaline, and create a landscape of thrills that can only leave readers with one lasting impression: Chris Reich is the real deal. —Vince Flynn

(Photo © Peter Hurley)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Near the start of bestseller Reich's stellar sequel to Rules of Deception, Dr. Jonathan Ransom flies from Africa to London for a medical conference. That same day, intermediaries arrange for him to meet his fugitive wife, Emma, once a secret agent with the Pentagon group known as Division, in a cheap hotel. The next day, Jonathan's world is literally and figuratively torn apart after a large car bomb explodes in Westminster, seriously injuring the Russian interior minister. Jonathan is sure Emma is behind the car bombing, but the police, led by Det. Chief Insp. Kate Ford, think Jonathan is responsible. Thus begins a convoluted chase—Jonathan hunting his wife, Kate and the cops along with MI5 agent Colonel Graves tracking Jonathan. Everyone, including the reader, remains clueless, except for master spy Emma, as to who is really the guilty party. A blinding twist at the end adds a spectacular fillip to a masterful performance by one of the genre's elite. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Read the first chapter of Christopher Reich's Rules of Vengeance [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385524072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385524070
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Christopher Reich's newest book, Rules of Vengeance, is the follow up to his book, Rules of Deception. Yet, while it is recommended that you read the latter book first, it isn't necessary -- as each book can be read as a stand alone.

The book features a very intricate plot: The wife of Dr. Ransom has been missing, and the woman that is standing in her place (fooling everyone by claiming to be Emma) has been revealed as an international secret agent. Only from the mind of Christopher Reich can a plot like this be constructed.

Anyway. While attending a medical convention in London, a group of foreign diplomats in killed in a car explosion, and someone points the finger at, Dr. Ransom, claiming he is the culprit responsible for the explosion. How is this possible?

The book starts out strong and ends even stronger. This is a thrill ride that buckles the reader in and refuses to let go until the final page. That is always what I look for in a great book. And what I always get from, Christopher Reich. Another book I would highly recommend is Conquest: The First Horseman (The Four Horsemen Series, Book 1) another incredible thrill ride that won't let the reader go.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down sometimes. That said, it was a bit hard to follow and much harder to swallow.

I have read my share of books, and while understanding that this is fiction, the main characters are practically superhuman. Only Superman can escape the situations that Jonathan and Emma do! And Jonathan, a doctor working in remote corners of the world helping those who need it so desperately, must be a really quick study. He went from being a doctor in Africa to a super-spy able to leap tall buildins in a single bound! No, I mean able to track his super-spy wife while escaping all types of secret government and non-government (maybe) agencies. Phew, what a guy!

I did enjoy this book when I finally accepted that this was more science fiction than fiction. It can be a good read, but if you are looking for a believable spy novel, look elsewhere.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the first book because it was on a list of books recommended by one of my favorite authors. When I discovered there was a second installment, I recalled that it had not been recommended. I can see why. I loved the first book. Reich has made Jonthan a terrific character, which to me just makes Emma even more detestable than perhaps she is intended to be. I will not read any more. "Rules of Vengeance" was just more of the same (Jonthan running around trying to bail Emma out) and obviously will continue to be. With the way this one ended (and reading the comments regarding "Rules of Betrayal"), it is going to get even more complicated, with no clear definition of Emma, which has already gotten boring for me.

I was truly hoping Jonthan would shoot Emma, so we could all move forward. I already see this series being the same template, bailing out Emma. For my two cents, the story can't change and the characters can't grow using the same template. If Emma had died, truly had died, Christopher Reich included a sworn oath that Emma was dead, never to be seen or heard of again, I would be reading "Rules of Betrayal" rather then writing this. There are two many other good stories to waste time reading the same one, over and over again.
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Format: Hardcover
1. lock pick sets are not sharpened; nor oiled (powdered graphite is used)
2. Sig (and most modern semiautomatics) pistols use magazines, not clips
3. The Cirrus SR22 is not a turboprop. (if it was a turboprop, it wouldn't burn gasoline, but Jet A) The airplane is available with a turbocharged motor)
4. partially filled fuel tanks are much more explosive than full tanks
5. firing a pistol out the window of a moving vehicle blinds the shooter (unless wearing googles) with unburned and partially burned gunpowder particles (first hand experience being a painful teacher here)
6. 9mm silencers are long and bulky and not all that silent and best used with subsonic rounds
7. Street, and especially tactical, cops don't carry pistols without a round already chambered (even in Italy and France)

And, unless this author's readers are primarily outside the US, how about using feet instead of meters?

Having said all that, not a bad read. This author does get better with each book.
Read his bio. An interesting dude.
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Format: Hardcover
Reading the previous book, Rules of Deception, first is recommended. Readers who haven't read Deception will find it hard to appreciate how deeply Jonathan loves Emma and is disappointed by her actions and the level at which Emma has apparently deceived him.

Readers who like this series should consider the Len Deighton series about the spy Bernard Samson (start with Berlin Game (Panther Books)). It's similar in that the hero is continually deceived and used by the woman he loves.

I like how this series treats the human interest concerns and motivations of the characters at the same level of importance as the action-packed spy story. There is good character development for all the major players except for Emma, who I feel is being intentionally under-developed until later in the series.

I'm anxiously awaiting the next book, Rules of Attack. At some point in the series, I hope we get a book summarizing the series from Emma's point of view.
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