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The Prometheus Deception Hardcover – October 31, 2000

180 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

The Prometheus Deception begins with a deep-cover operative, a beautiful cryptographer with a shadowy past, a government organization that's not what it seems, and an assignment that goes very, very wrong. Nicholas Bryson, a spy for a secret intelligence group known only as the Directorate, has his cover blown on a Tunisian operation and is retired to a new identity: Jonas Barrett, lecturer in Near Eastern history at a small liberal arts college. Five years later, the CIA corners Bryson/Barrett and tells him that his entire 15-year career in the Directorate was a fraud, that the organization was really an elaborate front for the GRU--Soviet military intelligence--and that his former boss, Ted Waller, was actually Gennady Rosovsky, a GRU muckety-muck. Even Bryson's beloved estranged wife, Elena, was actually a Romanian Securitate agent assigned to keep him in line. And now...

"Damn it!" Bryson shouted. "This makes no sense! How ignorant do you think I am? The goddamn GRU, the Russians--that's all in the past. Maybe you Cold War cowboys at Langley haven't yet heard the news--the war's over!"

"Yes," Dunne replied raspily, barely audible. "And for some baffling reason the Directorate is alive and well."

So far so good; after 22 thrillers in this vein, Robert Ludlum could probably have written this one in his sleep. Fortunately for his fans, he was not only awake at the wheel, but ready to race--on a track with more twists and bumps than a roller coaster in an earthquake. The CIA claims it needs Bryson to reinfiltrate the Directorate and help them bring it down, but when Bryson is cornered by an erstwhile Directorate acquaintance aboard a floating arms bazaar and rescued by a woman named Layla just before the ship blows up, he begins to realize how the years of retirement have dulled his formerly keen reaction time. While Bryson cautiously feels (and fights) his way from Virginia to Spain and back again, mistrustful of his new CIA colleagues even as he dodges murder attempts by his former Directorate henchmen, there are rumblings in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress. Several respected statesmen are raising a ruckus about widespread invasions of privacy, behind which stand a Seattle software billionaire and a mysterious nexus of power called Prometheus. But is Prometheus allied with the Directorate--or with a different group altogether? Filled with post-Cold War double-crosses, New Economy high jinks, and even a few Wall Street shenanigans thrown in for good measure, The Prometheus Deception is pure old-style Ludlum, repackaged for the new millennium. --Barrie Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

Ludlum goes full throttle in this frantically paced, if somewhat hollow, tale of one man's efforts to thwart the forces of world domination. That man is Nick Bryson, a retired operative for the Directorate, the most secretive of the world's many private intelligence agencies. Now working in the peaceful halls of academe, Bryson is stunned when the CIA informs him that the Directorate, to which he pledged his loyalty for nearly 20 years, was actually a Russian front. Worse yet, the organization seems to be stockpiling weapons for a secret assault on the West. When Bryson agrees to help the CIA bring down the Directorate, he's hurled into a series of hair-raising episodes that take him from one world capital to another. With assassins snapping at his heels, Bryson watches in horror as tragedy follows him wherever he goesAan anthrax outbreak in Vienna, a passenger train blown up outside Paris, a jetliner falling from the sky over New York City. Could these terrorist attacks be the work of the Directorate, Bryson wonders, or should they be attributed to the Prometheans, another shadowy intelligence outfit that seems to be the force behind a new international surveillance agency? Catapulting from one action sequence to the next and culminating in a spectacular finale in Seattle, the story is an exciting showcase for all the latest spy gadgetry, but it has little of the contemplative quality and social context of Ludlum's finer efforts. Ludlum's cautionary themeAthat technology will soon allow for surveillance on a scale that grossly infringes on personal privacyAgets lost in the barrage of flying bullets and explosions. Bryson himself is a dynamo and lots of fun to watch in action, but his almost superhuman endurance and intelligence seem more suited to that other heroic gentleman of adventure, Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt, than to a Ludlum hero. Major ad/promo. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031225346X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312253462
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 94 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on November 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Wherever you keep your favorite works by Mr. Ludlum, "The Prometheus Deception" deserves equal space. It has been too long since there has been a Ludlum book that belonged with the best of what he has written. "The Hades Factor", was to some unknown degree his work, it was wretched, and even though I am an admirer who has read all his published works, that co-authored mess received a one star rating. A rating denoting a book that should have never left the realm of Hades.
This is top tier writing from Mr. Ludlum. To the extent there appears to be familiarity, it usually is due to the number of imitators that have tried to emulate the real masters of this genre like John Le Carre, and Mr. Ludlum. The imitators are usually one hit mediocrities whose borrowing from the real craftsmen may put a nick or two to a work, but after 30 years and 22 novels, Mr. Ludlum stands, if not alone, then certainly with very few peers.
This work will bring veteran readers back to the days of the original "Matarese" and "Bourne" books, in terms of their complexity, their cadence, and quality. This book is not perfect, but in spite of those readers whose constant refrain of, "it could have been better"; this is escapist fiction at its best. And while many readers, myself included, can romanticize the memories of the first book or two we read by Mr. Ludlum, if you actually do go back, like many memories they are selective. A subsequent book rarely compares to the thrill of finding a new Author and enjoying that first read. "Prometheus", for first time Ludlum readers, will remain a favorite, as the original "Matarese" has for me.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Goldman on November 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Maybe because I do so much flying for work, I've read a lot of Ludlum, but "The Prometheus Deception" really blew me away. For one thing, I happen to work in the tech sector, and the book was really smart in the way it touched on that world. I guess Ludlum's been writing books for three decades, but it turns out he really keeps up, the way a reality-based novelist ought to. Tom Clancy, watch your back! For another thing, the plot is incredibly inventive: the story elements in the first forty pages alone would have sufficed for a dozen run-of-the-mill thrillers. And then it just doesn't stop. Nobody's going to confuse Ludlum with Henry James, or Graham Greene for that matter. The writing is strong and vivid, but this is more of an amusement park ride than a wallow in existential despair. "Brighton Rock" it ain't, and thank god for that. I did have some complaints: the hero, Nicholas Bryson, is actually too skillful - hell, he's practically invincible, to the point that plausibility is a bit strained. I miss the slight cluelessness of some of Ludlum's earlier protagonists, like Noel Holcroft or Joel Converse. But these are minor misgivings. Overall, this novel--which I started on a plane from Seattle to New York and finished on the back again -- left me with a great buzz. As a Ludlum fan, I also found it heartening to think that there might be more like this one to come. This summer I read "The Hades Factor," or the first half of it anyway. It was shockingly bad. And since "The Apocalypse Watch" and "Matarese Countdown" were sort of lame, I'd begun to worry that Ludlum had run out of steam. "The Prometheus Deception" put that worry to rest. The guy's back, and at the top of this game.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read all of Ludlum's novels, but quite a few and this one is certainly his best yet. I like the international intrigue in it as he takes us on a journey around the world where there are terrorist activities everywhere. Who's behind it all? Well that's a surprise. There's plenty of action and suspenseful scenarios. I also appreciated that this book is kept shorter than his previous works which makes this book a faster read. Another brand new book that I enjoyed a lot and it is strongly recommended as it is along the lines of Ludlum's new book, but it is faster paced is the international megathriller "The Consultant" by Alec Donzi.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sanity Stream on December 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book begins much better than it ends. I'm a longtime Ludlum fan (I've read every book he's ever done), and for awhile, I really thought the Ludlum of old was back. I thought MATARESE COUNTDOWN and APOCALYPSE WATCH were just bad dreams I could forget.
Nope. This one isn't much better. Ludlum does a great job hooking you with the premise, but then proceeds to go nowhere with it. The much vaunted "high tech" angle is rarely reflected in the plotline, which I thought got duller and duller as it went. It was a real struggle for me to finish the last 40 pages or so, because I just didn't care anymore.
Overall, it reads like a lukewarm rehash of Ludlum's earlier (and much better) book AQUITAINE PROGRESSION. The problem as I see it, is that the Ludlum of today no longer connects the twists and turns to the story. Instead, the characters just stagger around from city to city, country to country, with little rhyme or reason to be found.
Sigh. I think I'll go back now and re-read BOURNE IDENTITY.
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