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The Assassins Gallery Hardcover – July 25, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Mikhal Lammeck Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in 1945 near the end of WWII, Robbins's daring thriller opens with a brutal, brilliantly described double murder on the beach near Newburyport, Mass. From that scene to the end of the novel, the author's sure-handed control of his material never lets up, aided by his clear focus on the killer, a woman named "Judith," and the man assigned to solve the murders, professor Mikhal Lammeck, an expert in the methods of assassins. As Lammeck's investigations take him up and down the East Coast and, increasingly, to Washington, D.C., he comes to realize that someone may be trying to assassinate President Roosevelt. Robbins (War of the Rats) has an uncanny ability to provide just the right amount of historical detail without overwhelming the plot. This talent, coupled with superior characterization and a masterful, direct writing style will provide thriller lovers with one of their best reads of the year. The powerful climax deserves the term "heart-stopping." (Aug.)
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"Provide[s] thriller readers with one of their best reads of the year.... The powerful climax deserves the term 'heart-stopping.'"—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Ingenious.... A solid, satisfying treat for the armchair historian."—Kirkus Reviews

"An exciting thriller that rings so true it's difficult to tell where fact ends and fiction begins. Robbins is a master—at the top of his game with this one."—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Legacy

"If you read one book this year, make it The Assassins Gallery. Mesmerizing plotting, characters you'll never forget, and a wealth of invaluable historical seasoning that make you wonder ... did it actually happen this way? Only one word will do to describe this novel: masterpiece."—Brian Haig, bestselling author of Man in the Middle

"Nobody is better than David L. Robbins at making yesterday feel like today and fiction feel like fact. This is his most audacious book yet and probably his best."—Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of One Shot

"An absolutely sensational historical thriller—with an ending so shocking that I literally jumped up out of my chair!"–Max Byrd, author of Grant

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553804413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553804416
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,983,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"The Assassins Gallery," by David L. Robbins, is a historical thriller set during the early months of 1945. Professor Mikhal Lammeck poses the question: "Can a single man change or direct the course of history?" during the first session of his class at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Although the professor is fascinated by the whole "bloody mess that is human history," his particular field of expertise is the political killer or assassin. Lammeck has begun to write a treatise on assassinations, but, after five years of work, the book remains unfinished. Adding to his already heavy workload, Lammeck spends time in the Scottish highlands instructing clandestine teams of highly trained British operatives who work behind enemy lines. However, all of his activities are put on hold when Lammeck receives an unexpected visit from an old friend, Dag Nabbit.

Nabbit is with the American Secret Service, and his job is to protect President Franklin Roosevelt. After two civil defense wardens are killed while patrolling a remote Massachusetts beach, Nabbit and his superiors suspect that a deadly intruder has infiltrated the country to kill FDR. They want Lammeck to lend his expertise in the hunt for this would-be assassin.

The author provides some interesting facts about famous assassins in history, and he repeatedly raises questions similar to the one that the professor asked in Scotland: Do people mold history or are they history's unwitting pawns? By killing a head of state, can a single individual accomplish what years of war cannot? Trying to change the direction of world events is an exotic looking woman from Cairo who calls herself Judith. She has been hired to rid the world of FDR, and Robbins follows Judith as she settles into Washington, D. C. and formulates her strategy.
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Format: Hardcover
As the countdown ends 1944, Judith comes ashore from the freezing water off Newburyport, Massachusetts into a Nor'easter. When a two-person civilian patrol stops her on the beach, Judith tries a bluff, but when that fails she kills them. Judith cannot find her murder weapon, a twelfth century knife belonging to enemies of the Templars during the Crusades. Still the enemy agent knows stealth remains her major weapon so no one must know who came ashore.

The murders on the beach upset the Secret Service, who assume a plot against President Roosevelt by unknown assassins. Agent Nabbit obtains the help of his former history professor Mikhal Lammeck, who concludes by the murder weapon used that the killer is a professional who will slay anyone remotely in his or her way. He assumes like Dag that FDR is the target. So he waits patiently in DC for the assassin's arrival, not realizing a female is the cold blooded killer and that she is already on the staff of Roosevelt's mistress Lucy Mercer Rutherford, but beyond stopping the assassin Lammeck wonders who hired her.

David L. Robbins provides a fascinating historical thriller that uses an electrifying plot to enable the audience to look deeply at 1945 DC. The story line is action-packed so that the thriller crowd will sit on edge throughout, but also includes interesting tidbits. For instance many people by his fourth term thought Roosevelt was a benevolent dictator whose popularity was waning as the war seemed endless, but feared switching administrations (when will we begin hearing the noise to change the twenty-second amendment?). Lammeck is a well-rounded hero struggling to stop an assassination and uncover a conspiracy, but also relaxes by exploring his favorite subject, what is history, which ultimately is the underlying theme of this delightful thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
One might be tempted to dismiss David L. Robbins's latest historical thriller as a rewriting or perhaps a recasting of Frederick Forsyth's classic THE DAY OF THE JACKAL. This should only arise as the result of failing to read THE ASSASSINS GALLERY, an engrossing, riveting work that needs to be judged solely on its own formidable merits.

THE ASSASSINS GALLERY is set in the closing months of World War II. Suspicions have arisen that an increasingly ailing Franklin Roosevelt may be the target of an assassination attempt. Mikhal Lammeck, an expert in the history of assassinations and a special ops instructor, is clandestinely recruited by the Secret Service to determine if such a threat exists and, if so, to thwart it. Lammeck, a United States expatriate residing in Scotland, is initially reluctant but soon becomes engrossed in the hunt for the assassin, who by appearances is as unlikely a murderer as Lammeck is a hunter.

The killer, whom we come to know as "Sarah," is a master of subtle disguise, recruited by an unknown principal to assassinate the most powerful man on earth. Utilizing her looks to pass freely between the black and white community, Sarah is able to slowly but inevitably work her way toward the White House, turning culturally imposed limitations and barriers into strengths while using her own formidable skills to turn Lammeck from the hunter into the hunted.

Robbins's dialogue is absolutely first-rate, capturing the nuanced cadence of the early to mid 1940s. He also deftly weaves his way through the crazy quilt patchwork of race relations during the mid-twentieth century. Washington, D.C., where the majority of the novel is based, was officially not segregated, yet people of color were assigned to second-class status.
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