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The Ambler Warning Hardcover – October 18, 2005

106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For some bestselling authors, death is no impediment to an enduring career. But the latest Ludlum (d. 2001) novel, penned by an unnamed hired hand, reveals the problems inherent in such an arrangement: neither sufficiently like Ludlum's originals nor compellingly distinctive, it inhabits a kind of thriller purgatory to which only the most dedicated Ludlumite will be eager to venture. After a two-decade career as a clandestine operative, Hal Ambler is drugged and warehoused in the Parrish Island Psychiatric Facility, a government nuthouse for spies. A sympathetic nurse aids his escape, and soon Ambler is on the run, trying to figure out who he is and, more importantly, who he was. There are a few interesting characters—particularly CIA accountant Clayton Caston, a man who knows little about feelings but who can tease a mountain of information out of a spy's expense account—but the villains are mostly invisible and everybody else ends up dead before you really get to know them. Just because a writer can copy what was once a successful style does not automatically assure his publisher a successful book. (Oct. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This is Ludlum's twenty-sixth, a remarkable feat given that he is deceased. The locale is a barrier island six miles off the coast of Virginia and officially part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It's really the site of a psychiatric facility for patients who possess highly classified information. At Parrish Island, "potential security risks could be carefully managed and the patients are identified by number, never by name." One of them is Hal Ambler, who had been a clandestine operative for nearly two decades. He doesn't know why he's being held by his own government. He also doesn't know how long he has been confined, but realizes he must escape. There's probably no doubt in readers' minds--right from the start--of the outcome, but they will be delighted to stick around to the end. Given the late author's still-viable name recognition, this novel is bound to be popular; and it could even be used as a good way for librarians to introduce unfamiliar readers to his works George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312316712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312316716
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,908,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum--among others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sabella on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because Ludlum is my favorite author, I was disappointed to see a publisher use Ludlum's name without providing the true author's name and produce mediocre work. Bottom line, this book lacked the terrific content that you would find in a typical Ludlum novel. It was so cut-up that the book lacked any continuity to previously described incidents within the book. Furthermore, the true author spent more than half the book describing surroundings and things that had nothing to do with the plot. Out of boredom, I found myself skipping parts and not skipping any of the plot. Its only redeeming factor is the surprising ending, even though it took the author less than three pages to cover it. It doesn't even compare to the last two Ludlum novels written by other identified authors. If I was the publisher, I would be ashamed to use Ludlum's name in this manner. But of course, Ludlum's name sells books. Alas!
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This plot of this novel operates on several different levels - some of which are much more successful than others. Its primary goal is obviously simply to be an old fashioned conspiracy/action/international intrigue thriller in the tradition of Robert Ludlum, the creator and all time master of the genre. Through the person of the central character Harrison (Hal) Ambler it also asks the existential question, what constitutes evidence of the person who we believe ourselves to be? And concomitantly, what constitutes proof of our sanity. Furthermore, it has elements of romantic tension between Ambler and Laurel Holland, whose fate becomes inextricably interwoven with Ambler's own attempts to penetrate the veil of his own identity while eluding the pursuers intent on his murder following his "beyond salvage" designation. It also allows the wonderful character development of Clayton Gaston, the CIA analyst who operates in the lowest decile of empathy for his fellow human being and is much more at home in the world of abstract analysis and mathematical deduction than in his own home interacting with his family. Lastly, the conversations and actions of the characters on topics as diverse and the emergence of China as a superpower to brainwashing techniques (and the manufacture of memory vignettes) and as seemingly far afield as the relevant inclusion of Theseus and Ariadne provides the author considerable time to thoroughly expound on esoteric topics which lend authenticity to the tale. Perhaps my favorite was the appropriate inclusion of (and the development of the analogy of present day events to) the Chinese legend of "the man of ancient times, who set up shop in a village selling both a spear he said would penetrate anything and a shield he claimed nothing could penetrate".Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Fritz Gorbach on November 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Ambler Warning is a readable, yet formulaic thriller. What it is most definitely not is the work of Robert Ludlum or any worthy inheritor.

I was given this book under the pretense that it was pure Ludlum, simply published posthumously. Several pages in to the first chapter, I was sure this was a mistake. The author lacks Ludlum's gift for subtle, existential descriptions of characters, locales, and situations, which made one feel intimately aquainted, and instead relies on cold, sterile recitation of sensory details. Furthermore, Ludlum's twists and turns of plot often felt like speeding into a blind corner hiding a hairpin turn, those in The Ambler Warning were quite predictable, more like standing on level ground, watching the truck tha is going to hit you close in from a mile away. As an additional annoyance, the author seems to pay much more attention to technical detail, for example, a description of a sniper's tranquilizer rifle. Some may see this as an addition to authenticity, but since the details are not effectively worked in to the story line, it only makes the novel more standoffish.

All in all, not a bad evening's diversion if you must, but there is definitely better out there.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By wjn on December 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Selling books under the name of an author who's been dead for several years... that's what ought to be illegal.

This author, whoever he/she is, ought to be embarrassed. My two major complaints.... 1) this author decides to use obscure words every couple of pages (likes that thesaurus apparently) when more common words would be fine, and certainly less distracting; and 2) the main character is the typical super-agent who you would think would know better than to think he'd be untraceable if he uses a computer to search the internet for secret answers (you guessed it - the bad guys trace the IP address and show up with guns blazing) - BUT THEN THIS SUPER-AGENT DOES THE SAME THING TWO MORE TIMES! By the third time, you're rooting for the bad guys. This is just plain lazy writing - an author not clever enough to find new ways to get the good guy in a pickle.

Save your money and your time - skip this one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Young on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Any modern writer who uses "My Darling" as an endearment should be strung up. I'm a strong proponent in SOD (suspension of disbelief) when it comes to written thrillers and movies, but from the initial Tylenol thing to the ending trigger thing, this piece of work pushed even my limits. It was whiny, highly unlikely, and, in the case of the audiobook reader, passionless, and highly undeserving of the Ludlum name. Skip this one and let Mr. Ludlum rest in peace. Those executing (pun deserved) his estate aren't doing him any favors by condoning the creation of this gargage.
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