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First Blood Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2000
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"I've been a Morrell fan for years -- and now more than ever".
-- Dean Koontz on Double Image
From the Back Cover
First came the man: a young wanderer in a fatigue coat and long hair. Then came the legend, as John Rambo sprang from the pages of FIRST BLOOD to take his place in the American cultural landscape. This remarkable novel pits a young Vietnam veteran against a small-town cop who doesn't know whom he's dealing with -- or how far Rambo will take him into a life-and-death struggle through the woods, hills, and caves of rural Kentucky.
Millions saw the Rambo movies, but those who haven't read the book that started it all are in for a surprise -- a critically acclaimed story of character, action, and compassion.
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Yes they are different but for once I like what the movie did and didn't change in the storyline. Books are almost always better than the movies (poor Stephen King-most of the movies based on his books are nowhere as good as his books), but in this case I like what the movie producers changed. As a result I get two great stories in First Blood and one very remarkable character in John Rambo.
Update (Dec 31, 2010): I finally got around to getting First Blood on my Kindle and I'm reading it right now (60%). Gee, it just gets better the more I read and re-read this thriller. It is fun to see what parts of the book, either the words spoken by Rambo or Teasle, or what scenes were included into the movie. Just remember, we would not have the exciting movie First Blood, if we didn't first have the trend setting blockbuster novel first. Now I am in the mood to put in my Blu-ray version of First Blood and really get caught up in the world of John Rambo!
Though based on Morrell's novel, Sylvester Stallone's movie is in no way the same story. Where the movie is a typical shoot-'em-up action flick, Morrell's creation is a complex character study of two war heroes – Rambo of Vietnam and Sheriff Teasle of Korea – and the strength and flaws that drive each of them. Where the movie is a MacDonald's burger and fries, the book a five course feast.
Morrell has written that his writing is greatly influenced by the fact he lost his father in WWII and that his step-father was abusive. You clearly see that influence in First Blood. Teasle lost his father at an early age, and Rambo's father was abusive. Teasle's marriage is breaking up over his desire to have children, particularly a boy. The imagery circulates through the book until, in the end, Teasle and Rambo are more estranged father and son then cop and fugitive.
This is a worthy book well deserving of its place in literature. But one warning: Do not read the author's introduction explaining the history of the book until after you've read the book. The intro contains spoilers
I already knew about the differences between book and movie, but that did not stop me.
And I was not dissapointed! This book (the first one ever published by David Morrell, in a distant 1972) is really good. It is fast paced, with good characters, perfect action, down-to-earth plot.
The ending is also touching, believe me or not.