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The Hidden Assassins Hardcover – November 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012398
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,090,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Wilson's strong third mystery set in Seville featuring police Insp. Jefe Javier Falcón (after The Vanished Hands and The Blind Man of Seville), the mutilated body of a nude male turns up in a municipal dump. Before Falcon has time to investigate, a huge bomb explodes in a mosque and flattens an apartment complex and a day-care center. Was it an Islamic bomb-making operation gone awry? A specific attack against Muslims? Or the work of separatists fighting to return Andalusia to Muslim rule? Falcón has a dark and tangled personal history that provides several side plots, some of which are incorporated into the terror investigation and some of which are left to be taken up in further installments. Falcón 's investigation is as detailed and meticulous as the writing, which makes for a dense tale that demands close attention, but will reward careful readers with a story that has not only plenty of plot but also in-depth character intrigue. Author tour.(Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A quiet morning in Seville, Spain, is shattered when an apartment block explodes. There was a mosque in the basement of the apartment building, but in the days following the bombing, police inspector Jefe Javier Falcon investigates an increasingly urgent question: Did the devastation result from the mishandling of explosives by Muslim extremists or from an attack directed against them by Christian Fundamentalists? This talky book never bogs down because the talk remains smart and compelling as Falcon and his confidantes explore what drives people to commit acts of terror. The Moroccan friend he enlists to spy for Spanish intelligence even offers a possible explanation for the U.S. invasion of Iraq that's as logically persuasive as it is counterintuitive. Wilson constructs a richly layered, intricately plotted story that examines the corrosive consequences of all types of terrorism, from the geopolitical to the domestic, on victims and perpetrators. As Falcon puts it, "It happened in the Crusades; why shouldn't it happen now? While some were out there battling for Christendom, others just wanted to kill, pillage and conquer new territory." Indeed. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

ROBERT WILSON is the author of nine previous novels, including A Small Death in Lisbon and The Company of Strangers. A graduate of Oxford University, he has worked in shipping, advertising, and trading in Africa, and has lived in Greece and West Africa.

Customer Reviews

I gave myself only two weeks to read the book, and I wished, at the end, that I had more.
Author Bill Peschel
There is also a good indepth depiction of what this investigaor is thinking during his investigations and the complications of his personal life.
M. Eckroat
The author is able to fully flesh out complex characters, as well as develop an intense procedural plot.
Roberta M. Austin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Robert Wilson's "The Hidden Assassins" is an intricate novel about the lengths to which extremists will go to achieve their goals. Wilson's recurring hero is Seville-based homicide inspector Javier Falcon, who is called to the scene when a naked corpse is found in a pile of rubbish. The victim had been scalped, his hands had been cut off, and his face was burned with acid to prevent identification.

Falcon is still pining after Consuelo Jimenez, a beautiful woman with whom he had a brief and torrid affair four years earlier. Little does Falcon know that Consuelo is close to an emotional breakdown because she is tormented by demons from her past; she is considering entering therapy with a blind clinical psychologist whom Falcon himself has consulted, Alicia Aguado. Meanwhile, Falcon's ex-wife, Ines, is unhappily married to a philandering and arrogant judge named Esteban Calderon who abuses her.

The main plot centers on a huge explosion that destroys an apartment building and mosque, and damages a nearby preschool. Falcon and his team, along with agents from Spanish intelligence and the antiterrorism squad, work tirelessly to find the perpetrators of this atrocity before they strike again. The public is inclined to believe that the explosion is the work of Islamic extremists, but why would they bomb a mosque? Could the explosion have been accidental? There are many questions to be answered, and it will take superior investigative work to break open this case.

"The Hidden Assassins" is a textured and atmospheric novel in which the author closely examines his characters and their actions, demonstrating that appearances may indeed be deceiving. Falcon discovers the existence of a fanatical Catholic group whose members despise Muslims.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Inspector Jefe Javier Falcon returns in one of the most baffling and sophisticated cases of his career when a horribly disfigured body is found in a local dump in Seville, the face burned off with acid, hands surgically removed, making recognition virtually impossible: "The unidentifiable corpse was like a neurosis." Although Falcon goes into action with his usual sense of purpose, the investigation is soon overshadowed by an explosion that demolishes a building in the poor section of town, killing the innocents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, a horror all too familiar since the 2005 Madrid bombings. That the bomb originated in a neighborhood mosque only serves to exacerbate the incipient turf wars of the anti-terrorism agencies, the din of their competition a testament to the new world order.

Falcon retains control of the investigation, at least figuratively, Juez Esteban Calderon assigned to the bombing case as well. Falcon has a history with Calderon, married for four years to the inspector's ex-wife, Inez. Given the pressure of public panic and the threat of terrorist activities, the process is retarded by internal entanglements and agency distrust, while the outraged citizens clamor for protection. The charismatic Calderon skillfully steers the volatile public debate, but his influence is short-lived when personal demons and a previously-hidden murderous temperament surface, Falcon's case fraught with internal complications ("Charisma... an intense form of self-belief. Its closest friend can quite quickly become corruption").
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Author Bill Peschel on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"The Hidden Assassins" is the 9/11 novel that's not about 9/11. The bomb blast that takes down a building in a Spanish city is an atrocity is on a smaller scale than the World Trade Center attack, but the aftermath covers the same routes that the survivors travel, and reflects the trauma a nation goes through at the hands of terrorists.

The book doesn't begin with the blast, but with the discovery of a man's corpse, sans hands and facial features, in a Seville landfill. The investigating detective, Jefe Javier Falcon, barely gets the investigation rolling when sounds of the explosion roll through the city.

But the book is not a direct recreation of 9/11. The presence of a mosque in the basement of the building raises important questions. Was the blast a bombmaker's error? Or was it revenge? There are several groups in play: intelligence services that may have been investigating the mosque, a political party from the Andalucia region that sees its popularity growing, a major multinational with a mysterious agenda. Anything is possible.

While the explosion doesn't affect everyone, there are those whose lives fly apart as if it had. Much of the tension in "Assassins" comes from watching them try to hold the center. Who will collapse? Falcon's ex-wife, who learns of her husband's affair? The husband whose family was pancaked in the building? Or Falcon's Arab friend who's asked to spy for him?

Wilson's story rarely does what's expected, keeping us off-balance throughout, and implying that life can be as combustible as a hundred pounds of semtex. I gave myself only two weeks to read the book, and I wished, at the end, that I had more. It's that good.
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