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The Fourth K Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1991

3.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, November 1, 1991
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--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest from the author of The Godfather is a surefire success, a political novel that starts with a terrorist assassination of the pope on Easter Sunday, a deed that sends global aftershocks to jolt the power strongholds around the world, from the palace of the sultan of Sherhaben to the White House. The U.S. president is charismatic Francis Xavier Kennedy, scion of the famed and ill-fated clan. Still mourning his dead wife, Kennedy turns his energies to the country's betterment, forging an idealistic "new social contract." But Kennedy is also a target of the terrorists, whose mentalities the novel deftly probes: Romeo, a "Christ of Violence," needs to atone for his pampered upbringing; Yabril, a fierce Arab, privately thirsts to smite--like the angel Azazel--the president's daughter Theresa. After an appalling crime is committed, Kennedy coldly vows to bomb Sherhaben off the map, despite the American fortunes invested there. His cabinet and the wily, aged members of the Socrates Club--who control grain, real estate, oil, the media and Congress--plot to impeach him. Random acts of violence by young Americans (e.g., naive MIT scientists who plant a mini-atom bomb in Manhattan) enliven and multiply the dangers. Within the male power hierarchy, capable women like vice-president Helen Du Pray calculate their moves. Astute characterizations, vivid drama and Puzo's shrewd analyses of the paradoxes of evil detonate a top-notch thriller.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The Washington Post

Los Angeles Times
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 479 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553292714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553292718
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,406,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Francis Xavier Kennedy, nephew of the slain JFK/RFK has ascended the presidency due, in no small part, to his family name, his political instincts, and his near-adolescent idealisim.

During Holy Week it seems as if the world is falling apart at the seems. The Pontiff has been assasinated, and FXK's daughter has been kidnapped by Muslim extremists and then executed in cold blood.

FXK devises a response that he feels is commensurate with the crimes committed, and one that is befitting defending the honor of the most powerful nation on earth. There is one little snag; an imperial congress, motivated purely by greed,political opportunism, and a visceral hatred for the CINC,is poised to declare him non compus mentis and have him impeached.

An incident of 9/11 proportions takes place in New York that changes the entire dynamic of this political opportunism/intrigue and FXK adresses an emergency session of a join-session of Congress, and is spared the ignominy of being removed from office. Puzo's prescience here is uncanny; a nation in crisis after a terrorist event, a zealous President/Justice Department eager to preserve the Union, to the point of using draconian measures...it is all there, prophetically so. Eerie.

Puzo spins a yarn like no other. His scenarios/character; development/plots, sub-plots are woven into an exciting, breathtaking tapestry that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride; the thrill of a lifetime. There are so many twists and turns it is likely to give a less engaged reader the literary equivalent of motion sickness. Dialogue is crisp, sometimes raw, and cynical. The stuff a poltical thriller is made of.

Some have decried this work as being a little contrived, but Puzo has a knack for tying up all of the loose ends and leaving the reader satisfied after he/she has read the novel.

A first-class piece of literature.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not surprised that reviews for this book were mixed. Writing The Godfather gave Puzo a tremendous reputation to live up to. But make no mistake, he is a very fine writer, and this book is a good one. It is easy to read, interesting, and contains a good plot and sub-plots. The characters are well portrayed, and there is a good deal of suspense. Well worth reading.
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By A Customer on May 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I gather that Puzo wrote this book long before 9/11. The narrative is spooky in that it parallels that event and the conspiracies that followed. The concern for loss of civil rights; the never ending central factor of the Israel-Palestine conflict; the bombing to rubble of a middle east capital city.
All of this, read in light of what followed, would speak to Puzo's grasp of international skulduggery, long before most of us anticipated the coming tragedies. On this basis, alone, it is well worth reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first time I read this book was in 1993 - borrowed from a friend, then I loved it so much that I bought the book and read it 2 more times. Probably the only book which I have read 3 times.

This is one of the finest stories which tells the story of a President, Arabic and Italian radicals, An Airport worker by the name of Zonzi - who plan multiple terror attacks. You could almost relate to present day politics.

Each one of the scenes still lingers in my mind 20 years on. It felt almost like a real story when the 9/11 happened, the ruthless Arabic terrorist by the name Yabril and an Italian who proclaims that 'God is the ultimate Terrorist'.

This still remains one of the best novels which I have read till date.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this when I was in high school. I enjoyed it very much then, and would re-read it many times over the the next nearly two decades.

This book seems to be fairly polarizing, with a lot of people loving it and a lot of people hating it or at least being dismissive of it. It's not a perfect book, by any means, but I think the positives far outweigh the negatives.

I think Puzo tends to "overwrite" in spots, a criticism that I've levied towards Stephen King as well. Spending pages to write something that could be condensed greatly. This is most evident when dealing with the chapters dealing with The Oracle and the chapters dealing with David Jatney.

I just finished reading the book a few moments ago, the first time I've read it in about three years. A criticism I've seen is that characters show up and then disappear never to be heard from again. However that's not really true. There are characters that disappear for extended times, however with the exception of Cryder Cole, David Jatney's college friend who participated in the Assassination Games at BYU, everyone else in the book that is brought up plays a fairly major role in the book.

And even Cole, it's revealed what happened to him. He was never a major character, he was simply an associate of Jatney, who has a major role in the climax of the novel. I think pretty much every character that is featured in the major storylines were very instrumental in the plot and the winding road that the novel follows. As much as I wasn't really that interested in reading the Oracle's story (after years of reading the book, perhaps) I recognize his importance to the overall narrative.
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