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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Author Jean-Christophe Grange has come up with a real page-turner in "The Empire Of The Wolves," his fourth book. This novel noir is a terrific suspense thriller which delves into contemporary Turkish politics, exploited Turkish immigrant workers in Europe, an up close and personal look at the French police system, neurological research and experimentation, plastic surgery, serial killers, amnesia, and memory distortion. Grange, a former reporter, demonstrates his journalistic background with his attention to detail and the depth of his research. The plot is somewhat reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's work. It features a woman with severe memory problems and bizarre scientific experimentation with the human brain. A fast-paced narrative, quick, accurate character sketches, very descriptive, almost graphic prose, and offbeat settings add to the novel's drama and uniqueness.

Anna Helms, a lovely Parisian woman and wife of a senior police official, has been having serious neurological problems. She experiences temporary loss of memory, hallucinations and intense panic attacks. Sometimes she fails to recognize her own husband, and at others she feels she knows people she has never met. Both her neurologist, (a shady character), and her husband believe Anna may have a brain lesion. However, Anna will not allow them to take cortical tissue from her brain for a biopsy. She slowly begins to piece her life together, the parts she can recall, and nothing adds up. As she searches for her identity, Anna becomes more suspicious. Finally, she seeks alternate medical help.

Simultaneously, in the same city, a vicious serial murderer is at work terrorizing the Turkish immigrant population. Three corpses have been discovered, all redheaded Turkish females, all workers from the same sweatshop, all brutally disfigured. Two French police detectives are at work on the case. Paul Nerteaux, is a good cop, dedicated, who has a real vocation for detective work. He brings a renegade cop back from retirement to assist with this case. Schiffer, called "The Cipher" or "Mr. Steel," has broken all the rules too many times to count. However, he has an in-depth knowledge of Paris' Turkish community. They discover that "The Gray Wolves," an extreme right-wing, Turkish nationalist group may be behind the killings. All the twisting, turning points of the story converge, explosively, in the brooding nighttime streets of Paris and the winding walkways of Istanbul.

Grange's writing is spare and superb. His characters are all unusual, even the dead ones - the victims. And most have backgrounds steeped in violence. Yet Grange doesn't allow his readers to acclimate to the bloodshed or the brutality. The descriptions of the murders are quite graphic, so this is not a book for the faint-of-heart. Some of the scenes are haunting, others nightmarish. And the ambiance is dark, murky, almost surreal at times. Overall, I am so impressed by "The Empire Of The Wolves" that I plan to look for some of the author's other titles. Highly recommended.
JANA
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2004
This intricate and beautifully written story takes you on a wild ride. Mr. Grange doesn't disappoint. He weaves a tale that is absolutely wonderful, terrifying and shocking. The translation from the French is absolutely flawless and keeps it's integrity. Fantasique! This intricate and beautifully written story takes you on a wild ride. Mr. Grange doesn't disappoint. He weaves a tale that is absolutely wonderful, terrifying and shocking. The translation from the French is absolutely flawless and keeps it's integrity. Fantasique!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2005
I have read all of Grange's novels: "Empire of the Wolves" is not only the worst of them all, but is just a bad book full stop. The suspense is very gripping until about the middle of the book, and then the plot become completely ridiculous and the end utterly pointless. Don't waste your time and money, but do go and read Grange's other four brilliant novels (not all of them have been translated to English though).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2004
Jean-Christophe Grange and his books are very popular in my conuntry, Turkey. So in here we have an opportunity to read Empire of Wolves(Kurtlar Imparatorluðu, in Turkish) much before..It is not a suprise that Empire of Wolves stayed in Best Sellers list in Turkey for many months, because the story in that book takes place in a Turkish neighbourhood in France. Story starts with brutal deaths of three immigrant Turkish women who are illegal workers in France, and goes on as a dark story..But that dark story is not a suprise or shock for Turkish readers because it is not an unknown thing for us.. All in all, this book is fast going, interesting and dark. A dark story about a deadly group of Turkish people and their ways..
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on October 9, 2008
A Parisian housewife who first fears that she may be losing her mind, and then comes to suspect that she may be the victim of a conspiracy, when she can no longer recognize her own husband, teams up with a psychologist in order to investigate her own past. Meanwhile, a young police officer teams up with an ethically challenged older cop, to investigate the grisly murders of three illegal Turkish immigrants.

I read "The Empire of the Wolves" after seeing the movie, which is one of the best crime movies that I have seen in a long time. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, "The Empire of the Wolves" can be best thought of as "Total Recall" set in the real world and turned into a police procedural, with enough plot twists to keep you interested right to the end. The movie of "The Empire of the Wolves" was actually pretty faithful to the book, so if you've seen it, then you should have a pretty good idea of most of the major plot twists, but as you would expect the book goes into more detail and there are some significant differences towards the end. The ending of this book is a little weak (I think it should have ended when the main character leaves France, as the final two sections, set in Turkey, felt forced, in order to explain the motives of the characters), but the strength of the 300 or so pages that went before them is such that it should carry most readers to the end of the book.

This is the second book by Jean-Christophe Grange that I have read, the first being "The Crimson Rivers" and both of these books are well written and original mysteries that make me want to come back for more. There is a good reason why Grange has been so successful in France and why his books have been translated into English. Both of these books should appeal to readers of modern crime thrillers.
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on July 27, 2005
The face of her husband has become frightening to Anna Heymes. Her daily hallucinations and memory lapses are at the point where both her husband, a senior government official and her physician wish to perform invasive surgery on her brain in an effort to discover what has gone wrong. This terrifies her so much that she seeks another opinion, and begins to doubt that all the problems she's currently experiencing are solely to do with her own illness. The discovery that even the face she sees looking back at her in the mirror is not her own sends a terrified Anna on the run, trusting no one but her new doctor to speak the truth to her.

In the Turkish quarter of Paris a series of grisly murders baffle the investigating officer. Paul Nerteaux has a burning urge to prove himself and in the effort of doing so, takes an enormous risk. He enlists the help of a retired French police officer, Jean-Louis Schiffer who once was the scourge of both the police and criminals alike. What all will acknowledge is that Schiffer's knowledge of the murder patch is unparalled, and his contacts remain strong still. It is the belief of Schiffer that the attacks upon the working Turkish girls of the illegal sweatshops could be the work of an extremist group called the Grey Wolves. The Wolves are searching for someone, and they will kill all in their path to recover the renegade member of their own.

"Empire of the Wolves" has a brilliant start that sucks you straight in hard with the pages turning in a blur. Eventually though, this slows down. The two sub plots can't compete for interest; it is the tale of Anna that fascinates and the political and procedural maneuvers of the French police will most likely fail to have the same attraction to the reader. The metamorphosis of Anna Heymes should hold your attention throughout the read but the unsuccessful merging of the two sub-plots becomes quite ridiculous as the novelist attempts to tie them both together. In the fashion of the thriller last-man-standing read "The Empire of the Wolves" has a cold and melodramatic conclusion. It would depend on what reading camp you fall into; there is no moral satisfaction in the outcome of this read which shouldn't scare off the readers of noir thrillers, but if you're anticipating a twist-upon-twist suspense thriller and looking forward to seeing your heroine her fight to regain her life and revenge herself upon the evil-doers, then perhaps this one isn't for you.
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on March 21, 2011
Jean-Christophe Grangé's Empire of the Wolves, is as harrowingly graphic as a lover of violence might desire. A secret right-wing Turkish sect is busy butchering its way through the textile-worker community in Paris (all trafficked women from Turkey). The wife of a senior bureaucrat is having violent flashbacks that lead her towards paranoia and breakdown. The policeman investigating the serial killings is forced to rope in a retired colleague, a man who has been well-known for his efficiency in keeping crime down in the Turkish quarter in the past (and notorious for his corruption and brutality). The two of them determine that political schisms in Turkey and the spread of transnational criminal gangs led as much by ideology as mere lucre are the cause of the murders in Paris. Naturally, the killers are in search of one particular person, and it's not difficult to discern early on who this person might be. After all, there are only two supposedly disparate strands in this novel, and so they have to connect at some point. The denouement is, once again, in classic mode: in the end there are two people out to get each other, there's some grandiose recrimination, and an obvious conclusion. This novel is completely over the top; for a much more satisfying experience, check out Dominique Manotti's Rough Trade, which is taut, gripping and eminently true to life.
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on December 5, 2013
THE EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES by Jean Christophe Grange (CRIMSON RIVERS) is not only a fine suspense and action novel, but one that can be read for the sheer pleasure of the writing and the imagination behind it. Read the book and then see the movie with Jean Reno, and you will enjoy a fine experience in the very best of the French thriller genre.

The story follows a young woman who suddenly forgets her life, the French woman psychiatrist who becomes tied into her dilemma, a French cop pursing an apparent serial killer in Paris Turkish quarter where the cities large Turkish population lives, and a corrupt cop recruited to help in his investigation and leads them into a conspiracy of international proportions, and draws ever closer to the story of the heroine who holds the secret to both.

Grange writes well, and the excellent translation captures the best elements of the original French text. Read this one, but be ready for some truly jolting twists, and an ending so perfect no mere description could do it justice. Thoughtful, intelligent, well written, thrilling, and truly unexpected, this is a thriller that will blow you away.
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on June 5, 2011
I was expecting to find a great book. I found a 'great great' book.
I red it in few days, cause the story was fast, like i have never read so.
The most important thing of this book is not the story in itself (it's crazy original) but the carachters that the author creates. Men and women, they fight for the good or for the evil or maybe sometimes for both of them.
I gave like a gift a new book to my frind and he red it in three days. It was his first Grange' story. He gave to another one and the chain is not still interrupted.
Why to buy this book? You are looking for a story in a modern contest that talks about things you could not imagine without the company of Grange'. You will find out many things and when you think you are so smart that you close the story after the 50% of the book, then you start learning that just there there is the real beginning.
Super fast, super good, incredible carachters and a city of Paris that hide much more than we can see in the sunlight.

Trust me, it will shake you.
G.N.
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on March 3, 2007
The writer begins his book in a most suspenseful manner that kept me glued to the book. The story contains characters that have depth and mystery that leads to a smoothly flowing novel. This is certainly true for the first half of the book. In the second half, it seems as if someone else has been doing th wruting. All of the postives that were introduced to the reader earlier in the book turn into a story that stretches the credulity of the reader. The solid beginning has turned into a rather unrealistic middle and end. The story, which began with so much promise, rapidly evaporates into mediocrity. The book was originally written in French and would have had a smoother flow to it had the translator done more to "Americanize" the story in the use of character names. This was, at best, a fair read.
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