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The Matarese Countdown Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998

Book 2 of 2 in the Matarese Dynasty Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553579835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553579833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the audio version of Robert Ludlum's espionage thriller, The Matarese Countdown, the confident voice of actor Stephen Lang (Broadway credits include Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, and A Few Good Men) sets the stage. "He jumped out of the raft and pulled it between the rocks to the sand, securing it to the trunk of a palm ... it was time for the hunt, and hopefully luck would be part of it." And so the chase is on. Lang leads us through a suspenseful tale of inbred corporate corruption and free-market murder.

With his customary polish, Ludlum has devised a mind-bending plot that twists and turns through a complex maze of deadly consequences, pitting his team of heroes against a vicious and all-powerful evil empire. As in the popular prequel, The Matarese Circle, Lang uses his impressive vocal talents to create characters whose accented voices, regional dialects, and identifiable speech patterns heighten the drama. Some might consider the performance over the top, but it is nonetheless skillful and helps carry the action in this far-reaching tale of international intrigue. (Running time: nine hours, six cassettes) -- George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Welcome to Robert Ludlum's world...fast pacing, tight plotting, international intrigue."
--The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

"If a Pulitzer Prize were awarded for escapist fiction, Robert Ludlum undoubtedly would have won it. Ten times over."
--Mobile Register

Customer Reviews

The book is riddled with poor plot and poor dialogue.
Paul W. Nash
I speak as a fan of Ludlum - new readers of his may not find this a good introduction to him - they should try the Matarese Circle, Ludlum's best book.
imtiaz_shah@wragge.com
It is the worse book I have read with his name on it.
Phone_Junkie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David Rasquinha on October 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been a fan of Ludlum's work for years and his Bourne trilogy in particular are all time classics. I also loved The Matarese Circle so when The Matarese Countdown appeared, I couldn't wait to lay my hands on it. But there it stopped. This book I struggled to finish whereas earlier Ludlum's I could not put down. What happened here? The plot is very thin, the dialogues horribly amateurish. Ludlum's gift was an ability to tip an unbelievable situation just over the edge and make you think hey, perhaps, just perhaps, this could happen! Sorry, not this time. The list of improbable situations is just too long. The plotline is not even 1% believable. The characters are stereotyped to the limit. The tip off is is the absence of classic Ludlum phrases and concepts ("lies", "madness") and the absence of a catchphrase ("Perro Nostro Circulo", "Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain") and so many other Ludlum specialities which gives the game away.
I know I have no formal evidence as such, but for my money, this book was not written by Robert Ludlum. Only his name has been lent to it.
For all admirers of RL's work, avoid this one if you want to retain your good memory of him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Edwards VINE VOICE on April 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been a Ludlum fan ever since my older brother informed me that 'The Bourne Identity' was easily one of the best thrillers ever written...well I loved that book, but I enjoyed 'The Materese Circle' even MORE. I nearly fainted with surprise when I saw 'The Materese Countdown' on the bookshelf...not knowing at all that a sequel was even in the works. B-u-u-u-t after 'The Scorpio Illusion' I was becoming a bit skeptical at Ludlums ability to write world-class thrillers...however I picked it up anyway and then it sat on my shelf for quite some time. After having read the reviews here periodically I put off reading it even longer...but once again it goes to show you how each person is unique and has VERY different views of the same thing.
I happened to have enjoyed this 2nd outing into the world of the Materese. Nowhere did I see the discrepancies in Ludlum's writing style that many are saying that they recognized...and I am not a novice Ludlum reader, either. I've been reading all of his books (and I stress ALL) since the late 70's. Now I WILL admit that 'Countdown' was far from his best thriller, however it was a great deal better than 'The Scorpio Illusion' which was okay, but seemed like the same old story re-packaged. It was great to re-visit the lives of Beowolf Agate and Toni...and fondly remember how the bad guy from the Cold War (Taleniekov) became one of his greatest characters. No, this isn't the best of Ludlum's books, but he has several which are far worse than this one, too. Judge for yourself. I can't recall the last time I read so many reviews that opposed each other so much. It seemed that most people either loved it or hated it. I was somewhat in between, with a lean more towards the 'loved it' side.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Made the mistake of not scrolling through all reviews to see that the vast majority of readers panned this book. In this case, numbers tell the story. Like other readers, I just couldn't believe that the author of one of my favorite books, The Matarese Circle, could have written this sequel. The characters in The Matarese Countdown bear no relationship to the original cast of "Circle". The tension of the unlikely duo in "Circle", the intellectual and physical skills of two spies at the top of their game, is nowhere to be found in "Countdown". The new characters are never developed, and the old characters are no longer engaging. If, like me, you still find it difficult to believe how inferior this book is, at least try to borrow it from the library or buy it at a rummage sale for 50 cents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought Matarese Countdown because I have read all of Mr. Ludlum's novels. Absent strong reviews for any future works, this is the last I'll bother reading. The gripping turns of the plot that made his early works page turners are more contrived than ever in this one. To say that the dialogue is wooden is a serious insult to our friends from the plant kingdom. The narrative is downright silly in places, and even contains obvious grammatical errors (which the editor should have caught).
This book continues an apparent downward trend in quality; though nearly as poorly written, at least the Cry of the Halidon had an interesting plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've read almost every book Ludlum has written and this was by far the worse. In fact, I found it written so poorly, that I have a hard time believing he actually wrote it. The characters were two-dimensional and the dialog was cheesy. Put the story into an outline, and it's great... but whoever developed this outline into a novel did a poor job. If you're a Ludlum lover, stay away from this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having had at least an amiable relationship with Robert Ludlum before, and having balanced his somewhat lacking books with good books, like the matarese circle, I was looking forward to this book. And the first part of it builds up to something really good. We have world-wide conspiracies, corruption, deadly assanins and a general trust-no one atmosphere. Ludlum really does his best at making us wonder who, if anyone, you can trust, and by about 1/3 into the book, it seems as if this all-powerful cabal will crush the world, and one is left to wonder how Mr. Ludlum will manage to pull all the strings together and unravel the mysteries to a satisfactory conclusion.
Well... Obviously the same thoughts must have popped up in Ludlum's mind, and he obviously had no better notion of the answer than did I. For it soon becomes clear that with the picture of all-reaching corruption that is painted in the first part of the book, there is just no way that the next couple of hundred pages can somehow bring down this powerhouse and make the main characters live happily ever after in anything approaching a believable manner. So we are left with desperate shortcuts, where the main character suddenly just goes and says something cryptically suggestive to a central person in this cabal, and he suddenly folds and - tadaa - that branch of the cabal is incapacitated. Expect slack-jawed astonishment at some of the short cuts and disregard for blindingly obvious facts that Mr. Ludlum thinks he can get away with.
In addition to this, of course, the utterly laughable dialogue can be painful to behold.
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More About the Author

Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum--among others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001.

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