The Aquitaine Progression: A Novel
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2003
The Aquitaine Progression tells the story of an attorney, Joel Converse, who is in the middle of a business deal when he is recruited by a long-lost friend to uncover a conspiracy that would allow a group of generals and ex-generals to overthrow civilian governments and take over the major governments of the West and crush communism. He only has a short while to do this, he has little information, and he is soon on the run.
Robert Ludlum often uses one of two themes: an everyman is suddenly put into a position where he has to save civilization even though he has no special skills (e.g., The Osterman Weekend and The Holcroft Covenant) or a man with very specific and useful skills has to save the world but is reluctant to draw on those skills (e.g., this book and The Bourne Identity).
In The Aquitaine Progression, the hero learned his skills in a prison camp in Vietnam, but the horror of that experience and the dislike of the war make him unhappy to use them. I think this category of Ludlum book is more plausible, because there is a reason why the hero is able to outwit his enemies.
Overall, the book is well-done with gripping action and suspense, as well as the ever-present worry that the hero is trusting the wrong people or not actually one step ahead of his foes even though he thinks he is. Readers who like Ludlum will like this book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Not just good, but absolutely fantastic! I have to admit that I bought this book two days after it was released back in the early 80's...and attempted to read it probably 20 times, only to give up after about 50 pages or so. I just wasn't 'hooked' on the plot by that point...but after being urged to plod further on for the 100th time by friends who HAD finished the book, well I decided to give it a go yet again. I can honestly say that when the plot really begins to thicken, it hardens to the consistency of Titanium, and quickly, too! I really cheated myself all of these years by giving up way too soon on this novel.
Always sensing what could happen before it ever does, Ludlum sees the NOW popular 'New World Order' Global Conspiracy in a way that makes it seem plausible and VERY frightening indeed. Joel Converse is thrust into the thick of things totally against his will, and it seems solving this monumentally huge problem isn't so much a humanitarian thing to do, as doing so quite literally will keep him alive.
For those of you who have given up on 'The Aquitaine Progression' as I have done, I urge you to NOT GIVE UP. You are missing out on easily one of Ludlum's best novels if you pass this one by. Sure its a little dated...but look beyond that and you will find the events portrayed in this book to be absolutely horrifying. The story takes some time to get going, but like I said, once it does, grab on and hold on tight 'cuz it's gonna be a bumpy and thrilling ride. All Ludlum fans NEED to read this one, you will be forever glad you did, I know I am...FINALLY.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 1998
Ludlum is typically skillful in this novel, though some might think it overlong. The possibility that men somewhere might be devising a plot based on order out of chaos, making themselves not the villains but the saviors, is a terrifying "what if?" And the entire chain of events will be set into motion in a matter of days...However, in Ludlum's fictional setting there is Joel Converse, attorney at law. Converse sets out to expose "Aquitaine" legally, to bring in the key players without a fight. Only when he is in too deep does he become aware of the killer's resources; the fact is, the key players are innumerable, and it is most likely Converse that will be silenced without a fight. Then follows the most rewarding part of the novel, a chase (though not literally, because his antagonists wait for him everywhere) througout all of Europe, with Converse fleeing from bad guys with almost unlimited information and drawing upon an inner reserve he'd rather forget. The book only stumbles on a few points: first, the dialogue is at times straight of the comics and strangely lacking in expletives (despite the fact that the fate of the free world hangs in the balance). Also, the ending is packed with bizarre legal mumbo-jumbo to the uninitiated. In all: highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2001
This book was so close to reality that it was scary. A cabal of generals plotting anarchy and lawlessness so that they can impose a police state that is run by the military. The conspiracy that is discovered by Joel Converse thanks in part to his old schoolmate Preston Halliday turns out to be global. There are members of the military worldwide who are involved in the scheme to seize power worldwide. Converse is on the run fearing for his very life because of the farreaching conspiracy. Converse plays the perfect hero in this novel. The generals are the very embodiment of the forces of evil. The plot in this book is outstanding. Read this book. You will not be able to put it down. A definite page turner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2000
It's been close to 20 years since I read The Aquitaine Progression but since i've been thinking about it recently I thought I should chime in and state that I think this is one of the best spy/political thrillers ever.
What struck me while I was reading it is just how logical the literary explanations offered by Mr. Ludlum were in regard to the current events of that time. Even more unsettling was the idea that maybe there was some truth in this work of fiction.
All I can say is that it's a page turner and thriller of the first order.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2000
Just when you think things might start looking up, it hits the fan. This is a smart, fast-paced, entirely plausible page-turning thriller of the first order! This is one of Ludlum's best, just behind the Bourne trilogy. Sure, Ludlum's heroes seem to be almost superhuman in intelligence and capacity, but no one can match the sheer tension that Robert Ludlum writes into his stories. This is a long tale that you almost wish didn't end. Converse's involvement in the case is believable portrayed, and the only real detraction is the easiness of Joel and his ex's relationship. Read it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2001
This book is a fascinating read. You never quite know who Joel can trust. Those you think he can, he really can't and vice versa. I am not quite sure as to why Val is even IN the story, but she does add a certain touch of romance and intrigue. The only relationship I was left wondering about what the one between Joel and Larry...it is never quite resolved.
The ability of Mr. Ludlum to write a book of such scope and depth is a real testament to his knowledge of the world around him and the written word. I can't wait to keep reading his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
Must be spoiled by the Bourne books. Felt the pace was somewhat slow in the beginning however it did pick up enough to keep Me interested. Will continue to read Ludlum but perhaps lower my expectations.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 1999
being relatively young (18) i just started reading Ludlum. But i have already read close to 10 of his books. i love them, the nonstop action, twists and surprise after surprise. I still dont know how he crafts such incredible stories. This ranks right up there with the Bourne trilogy as my favorites, but they're all good especially his soemwhat older ones.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2000
I read The Aquitaine Progression last week and i felt it was so real and true.Ludlum wrote a story that explains many things that are taking place in our days.It's a story that you have to finish in the same day. You just can't stop.
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