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The Hostage (A Presidential Agent Novel) Hardcover – January 3, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: A Presidential Agent Novel (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399153144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399153143
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Is Griffin our Homer or Tacitus? Those military experts wrote about real soldiers—and what the world needs now is a real-life Charley Castillo, Griffin's smart and efficient Department of Homeland Security agent, who works directly for the president on cases calling for more than routine skills. Introduced in By Order of the President (2004), Castillo is an excellent alternative to the usual crew who make it to the headlines. Told in Griffin's trademark clean and compelling prose, studded with convincing insider details, Castillo's second outing starts with an American diplomat's murder in Argentina, the kidnapping of his wife, and threats to murder her children unless she reveals the whereabouts of her brother, a U.N. diplomat involved in the food-for-Iraqi-oil scandal. Castillo and his team of tough and shrewd experts are just the kind of believable people we want in these situations. And if it takes a novelist like Griffin, who has honed his skills and weapons in five previous series, to bring them to life, at least their real counterparts will have some fictional role models to live up to. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Griffin's second novel in his Presidential Agent series is the best-selling author's thirty-sixth book. Delta Force Major Charley Castillo is the protagonist-hero; he works with the Department of Homeland Security. He is asked by the president to go to Buenos Aires, where the wife of the deputy chief has been kidnapped and her husband has been murdered, shot twice in the head as she was forced to watch. Terrorists threaten to kill her children if she doesn't tell them how to find her brother, who, it seems, may have knowledge about the UN-Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. The twists and turns here include the handling of a large amount of money--$16 million, to be exact--that a variety of people would like to get hold of, and the storyline is peppered with forged passports, special agents, and never-ending cell-phone calls. The convoluted plot will appeal to thriller readers, especially Griffin's many fans, and although some of the dialogue is hackneyed, fans of the genre and author won't care. The important thing is the fast pacing and the relevance of the story to today's events and headlines. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

W.E.B. Griffin is the author of more than thirty epic novels in five series, all of which have been listed on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and other best-seller lists. More than forty million of his books are in print in more than ten languages, including Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian. Mr. Griffin grew up in the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1946. After basic training, he received counter-intelligence training at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, and ultimately to the staff of then-Major General I.D. White, commander of the U.S. Constabulary. In 1951, Mr. Griffin was recalled to active duty for the Korean War, interrupting his education at Phillips University, Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. In Korea he earned the Combat Infantry Badge as a combat correspondent and later served as acting X Corps (Group) information officer under Lieutenant General White. On his release from active duty in 1953, Mr. Griffin was appointed Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Mr. Griffin is a member of the Special Operations Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Army Aviation Association, and the Armor Association. He was the 1991 recipient of the Brigadier General Robert L. Dening Memorial Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, and the August 1999 recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, presented at the 100th National Convention in Kansas City. He has been vested into the Order of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association, and the Order of St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation Association, and been awarded Honorary Doctoral degrees by Norwich University, the nation's first and oldest private military college, and by Troy State University (Ala.). He was the graduation dinner speaker for the class of 1988 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has been awarded honorary membership in the Special Forces Association; the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association; the Marine Raiders Association; and the U.S. Army Otter & Caribou Association. He is the co-founder, with historian Colonel Carlo D'Este, of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs. Mr. Griffin's novels, known for their historical accuracy, have been praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for their "fierce, stop-for-nothing scenes." "Nothing honors me more than a serviceman, veteran, or cop telling me he enjoys reading my books," Mr. Griffin says. Mr. Griffin divides his time between the Gulf Coast and Buenos Aires.

Customer Reviews

As such, it engages interest and keeps the pages turning.
John A Lee III
Almost no plot, characters that are much the same as all of the other Griffin books.
William M. Powell
They are all worth re-reading each time a new book comes out in the series.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Trimble VINE VOICE on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Until now, I suppose I was the only person left in America who had not read anything by the prolific W.E.B. Griffin. Glad that's changed AND what a great book The Hostage was. At nearly 500 pages it is sort of long for a thriller, but I can't say there was very much if any real "fat" in the book.

This is the second book in Griffin's new Presidential Agent series. For what it's worth, if you have not read the first book in this series, I don't think you really need too. Griffin does a very thorough job of bringing you up to speed on how his "presidential agent" actually got the job he now holds. The editorial review from Booklist is a good plot review so I won't repeat that, but I can add that getting Major "Charlie" Castillo into his current position involves on-going turf battles with a lot of governmental intelligence agencies, and while you may not think that would make for good storytelling, it actually does. Put another way, each encounter is a satisfying adventure in and of itself. The book is as timely as reading today's newspaper or watching the evening news, only more exciting and more authoritatively reported!

This is an easy read, primarily because of its extremely accurate conversational quality. I have read countless books about soldiers or former soldiers who are doing the things that soldiers do, and I would think to myself that soldiers don't talk or act that way. Griffin however, has the lingo and the mannerisms cold. Hostage will appeal to a wide variety of people and especially people who are familiar with the areas portrayed in the book. I am amazed at the sort detail and "insider" knowledge Griffin shares with the reader.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a public librarian I've handled almost every Griffin book published though I've never read one. For some reason, the cover, the author's rep, the advance publicity for the Hostage...who knows, I grabbed this book when it arrived at the library and read it. What a pleasant experience. There are more plot twists and surprises in the Hostage than a roller coaster has dips and turns.

Charles Castillo who works for the Department of Homeland Security and is a personal troubleshooter for the President is assigned to look into the death of an American diplomat in Argentina. In fact, the husband was shot in the head, and the wife taken hostage by terrorists who believe her brother has information related to the U. N./Iraq oil for food scandal.

Economically written with interesting characters and a timely, right off the front page story, Hostage will keep you in suspense. Grab this book if you get the chance.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael T Kennedy VINE VOICE on January 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second book in the Presidential Agent series is excellent. The character, Carlos Castillo, was introduced in the first novel of this new series. The exposition of the backstory is done very well and is not as obtrusive as it was in some of the other series. Another review comments that you don't have to read the first book to enjoy this one and that is true. The author is in top form. He combines a topical subject with his favorite scenes in Argentina and Germany.

Griffin fans like me know that his novels follow his own life story with the addition of inside information that he is privy to through old friends in the military. The lead character Charley Castillo is also a German national named Karl Gossinger. His father was a Green Beret and helicopter pilot who was kiilled in Vietnam. His mother is a wealthy German woman who was not married and who knew nothing of what had happened to the father of her child. She dies young in the first book leaving Karl an orphan. An Army officer acquaintance traces the father at her request as she is dying and finds that he has been dead for years. That is why he never returned to her. The grandparents, wealthy Texas Hispanics, come to Germany, bring the boy to America and he assumes his second identity. He graduates from West Point and becomes a helicopter pilot like his father.

Griffin was a young soldier in Germany during the occupation after WWII. He then attended Phillips University in Marberg, as do many of his characters. He served in Korea, called up from the Reserves just as some of his characters were. In recent years he has lived part of the year in Argentina and the Honor Bound series, also excellent, explores the history of that country when Peron came to power.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lovell Long Storey on January 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oh my.

I have read every book W.E.B. Griffin has written. I have enjoyed them so much, in fact, that I pre-ordered The Hostage as soon as it was announced. For the first time, I am disappointed, and deeply so.

Do you Clancy fans remember when Clancy shifted gears from first rate writing to shamelessly churning out junk? You may wonder whether this book represents a similar turning point for Griffin.

One of W.E.B. Griffin's writing strengths has been his sense of what I would call "rhythm." His stories usually tick right along with a wonderful sense of pace that feels authentic. There are periods of quiet movement and periods of jolting, intense action. In The Hostage, however, the periods of quiet seem to occupy almost all the paper between the two covers.

Have you ever been on "hold" on the phone so long that you glance at the clock just to see exactly how long you have actually been on hold? That is the feeling that came over me. Yes, there are a few bursts of interesting action, but painfully few. Only a few of the characters are really interesting, and here I am thinking of Colonel Alfredo Munz who is sharp, unappreciated, and honorable but flawed.

Absent in The Hostage was the quiet but measured build-up of tension . . . a sense something was about to happen. After a hundred or two pages, you get over that and realize you are just... waiting. Don't believe me? You will when you get through pages 451-453 where, incredibly, you are dragged through the entire culinary preparation of Chateuabriand by one of the characters. Whatever Griffin's purpose might have been, the effect is that he is either (a) showing off his kitchen knowledge or (b) simply adding filler to his novel.
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