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Tsar: A Thriller (Alex Hawke) Hardcover – September 23, 2008


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Featured Author: Ted Bell
Read the first three chapters from Ted Bell's riveting thriller, Tsar [PDF].

Product Details

  • Series: Alex Hawke
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416550402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416550402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Bell's rousing fifth thriller (after Spy), Alex Hawke fights the leaders of a new and invigorated Russia, where Vladimir Putin has been locked up in a lethal prison built over a massive radioactive waste site. Evil mastermind Count Ivan Korsakov (aka the Dark Rider) is determined to return Mother Russia to her rightful place in the world order by reacquiring her former colonies, after which he intends to conquer Europe and reign as the new tsar. The only thing standing in his way is Hawke, who, as series fans well know, is more than up to the task of thwarting those who try to take over the globe. Life throws Hawke a curve when he finds himself falling in love with the astoundingly beautiful Anastasia, who just happens to be Korsakov's daughter. As always, Bell pulls out all the stops with terrific action scenes, fiendish murders, diabolical villains, dramatic rescues and all the cool weaponry the reader could possibly hope for. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The hero of Ted Bell’s spy series, Alex Hawke, battles treachery and love in his fifth adventure. Recuperating in Bermuda from the major injuries he received in Spy (2006), Alex is lounging on a beach when a ravishing beauty appears. His heart flutters, and he is smitten. She is the daughter of the ruthless power broker in the new Russia—a man who wants to destroy the U.S. and become the next tsar. In the meantime, a sadistic killer in the heartland of America unleashes his wrath, and a small town pays the price. Now Hawke must put aside his feelings for his new love and (once again) save the world. One subplot too many and the overplayed cliché of every woman in the novel being drop-dead gorgeous get in the way here, but even so, the main narrative flies by, displaying again Bell’s ability to turn out action-heavy espionage. --Jeff Ayers

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I was reading the first third of this novel, I honestly did not think I would enjoy it enough to even finish it. But, I decided to read a little more and then a little more because I hate to give up on a book. The second third of the book began to interest me much more, perhaps because I had begun to recognize the characters and understand the situations they were in. The final third of the book was very exciting and fast paced. I wanted to find out what was going to happen in this series of incidences which had the potential to change the world forever.

Tsar is a book which places before the reader a premise of what if.... What if there was an incredibly powerful man who literally sat behind "the red curtain" in Russia. A man who had a mind so warped and twisted that he had no moral compass which would keep him from committing horrifying atrocities in order to rule as the Tsar of Russia. A Russia which meant a forced reuniting of the individual countries which had broken away from the old Soviet Union when they had the chance. And what if this man had devised a method of using a common item, a simple item, and yet use it in such a brilliant way that he could actually control the entire world just by entering a code into a machine and pushing a button.

I enjoyed the last third of this novel immensely. I had to read through the first part (which I didn't like at all) to get all the characters in place and then the second part (which began to capture my attention more) to lead up to the real action packed events. It was, for me, as if I read three different books. Luckily the last third was strong enough for me to give this book a four star rating.

I have never read any other books by Ted Bell.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By bertrarious VINE VOICE on September 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really wanted to like this book. The timing of its release in light of Russia's recent incursion into Georgia and newly signed cooperation/protection agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia seemed perfectly timed and almost prescient.

But, alas, as you've probably gathered from the title of my review and despite two attempts to read this novel (40 and 90 pages respectively), it was not meant to be. It appears from the other reviews that I'm swimming against the current here.

First, I found the basic setup too derivative - a former British naval officer working for Her Majesty's government going up against a megalomaniacal villain. Having grown from a tweener to my current 50-something state during the "Bond era," this (at least what I read of it) had that "been there" feel to it.

Second, and parallel to the first point, an homage is an homage. However, when they start stacking up, it comes across as either satire (I didn't really sense any tongue-in-cheek signals from the author) or a total lack of imagination. Two cases in point jump out (there are others). 1) Anastasia Korsakova's first appearance, emerging from the ocean, is more than a little reminiscent of Ursula Andress's similar appearance as she steps from the sea in Dr. No - right down to the white bikini. (At least Honey Ryder (Andress's character) had the common sense to wear her bikini top while collecting tokens from the ocean bottom as opposed to Korsakova's emergence with "her deeply full and perfect pink-tipped breasts" exposed. Do people actually write like this?) 2) Korsakov's presence behind a curtain at a breakfast meeting, addressing his minions in a "familiar disembodied voice" which "boomed from hidden speakers" seems extremely reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz (?).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson VINE VOICE on November 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm waiting for a spy novel featuring a guy who is broke, lacks resources, is ugly as a mud fence and has no real connections. It seems all the characters I'm seeing are either from wealth or nobility, with more gizmos than James Bond. They can get what they want, when they want it and of course answer only to the president or prime minister.

This book is another in that school of writing. Alex Hawke is a second generation spook from a wealthy aristocratic family. He has tremedous personal resources and he is the ultimate operator. He meets and falls in love with a wealthy Russian girl whose Father is a supremely powerful meglomaniac with designs of restoring the Soviet empire AND the Tsars. Much of what happens is predictacle, but it is an enjoyable read. The book moves quickly and the action scenes are vivid.

I recommend the book if you just want a fast paced story to entertain you. If you are looking for complexity or characters who struggle with great themes (see John LeCarre) this is not for you. This is solid, but very predictable
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. R Weaver VINE VOICE on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really have nothing good to say about this book, unfortunately. The plot is goofy, the characters are stereotyped, boring, and will make you hate them within the first 100 pages. The sentence structure and word choice, especially in action sequences, or dramatic scenes, is asinine. Everyone 'screams' when they're upset. "He screamed at her, 'Blah, blah, blah...'" "'I can't stand you!' she screamed back." Gah.

I do apologize for the brevity of this review, but I'd like to forget I ever read this novel. I consider this the Amazon review version of quickly flushing something especially nasty down the toilet.
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