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The Last Man: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Well-done...a terrific story... Damn good. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

P.T. DEUTERMANN spent twenty-six years in military and government service before retiring to begin his writing career. He is the author of thirteen novels and lives with his wife in North Carolina.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312599455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312599454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In 73 A. D., over nine hundred Jewish Zealots, who had previously withstood the mighty Roman legions, realize that the end is near. They had resisted the enemy for nearly three years, but after a "treacherous desert wind ... turned on them," the patriots' casement walls caught fire on the fortress of Masada. Rather than surrender and end up slaughtered or enslaved, the rebels decide to take their own lives in "a glorious act of defiance."

"The Last Man" refers to sixty-one year old Judah Sicarius, the oldest warrior on Masada. He drew lots along with his fellow men to determine who would kill whom and in what order. "[Judah] had drawn the final tile, the tenth lot," and it conferred on him "the horrific responsibility to finish it." In a stirring prologue, P. T. Deutermann portrays Judah as a hardened combatant grimly determined to complete his final mission before he commits suicide.

In the present day, David Hall, an American nuclear engineer, travels to Israel with specialized equipment. He is preparing to test his former girlfriend's theory about what is hidden beneath the "mythic shrine" of Masada, the site of world-famous excavations. Hall's escort is thirty-eight year old Dr. Judith Ressner, an archaeologist and antiquities historian with a graduate degree in ancient languages. Dr. Ressner never recovered from the shock of losing her beloved husband in an apparent accident five years earlier. Unbeknownst to Ressner, Hall sneaks up to Masada at night. The engineer is oblivious to the fact that his movements are being monitored by a malevolent and murderous individual with his own secret agenda.

The author mesmerizes us with his mastery of history and physical setting.
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Format: Hardcover
Following a long list of engrossing novels by former career Navy Captain P.T Deutermann the Last Man is a very well done archeological story revolving around the self immolation of more than 900 Jewish Zealots at Masada in 73 A.D. David Hall a disgraced and discharged from his job American nuclear engineer travels to Israel in order to visit the Masada site and test his former girlfriend's theory about what is really buried under the site and never been found. The Israeli government assigns an archeological professor and antiquities historian; Judith Ressner as his guide and watcher She has been in mourning for five years over her husband killed in an accident at the Israeli nuclear facility which is near the Masada site and is not happy about breaking away from her duties at the University. With both carrying mental baggage concerning past loves friction is inevitable.
David visits Masada and against Israeli regulations goes to the site at night without Judith his required guide and based on his research prior to coming to Israel makes a startling discovery. The description of what is discovered and the consequences of the act are extremely well handled by Mr Deutermann. The climax of the story takes the reader by surprise, but is logically in keeping with events and background.
Generally characters are very well fleshed out by Mr. Deutermann and the reader develops an understanding and sympathy for both David and Judith. The only slight variation is the somewhat poor characterization of the villain Colonel Malyuta Skuratov a Russian emigre and head of security at the Israeli nuclear facility. It does not detract from the story but it is unDeutermann like to not allow us into the personality of this evil character and cheer as he is thwarted.
An engrossing and very well researched book with Mr Deutermann continuing his success in his second career.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An unusual turn on a thriller by Deutermann. It is a tale of intrigue, espionage, archaeology, and last, but not least, religion. One aspect of Detutermann books that stand out, and evident in this story, is his fixation with caves. If anything can build up suspense for a reader with a touch of claustrophobia is being trapped in a cave absent the possibility of escape. Deutermann manages to instill the creepiness of fear in this book as well as several of his other thrillers (Hunting Season, Cat Dancers, Spider Mountain). The setting for this tale is Israel, and primarily at the site of ancient Masada (Metsada or Fortress). The objective is development of nuclear capabilities within the Jewish state and the entanglement of an American nuclear engineer as a dupe in the resolution of counterintelligence activities. It concludes with a turn on religion by the discovery of Second Temple artifacts, and yes, although with a modest and subdued presentation, the Holy Grail. Grail stories have been attempted by many authors, to include the likes of Bernard Cornwell and Nelson DeMille. Deutermann's is a quiet approach and he doesn't use the word grail in the book, but it is strongly implied. Although this particular Deutermann book is not as good as Hunting Season, Sweepers, or Official Privilege, it does capture the emotions of the major characters -- one aspect of Deutermann stories very well done. As a consumer of Deutermann thrillers & war stories, I can also recommend this as a solid read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Let me say at the outset that I have gotten pretty bored with a lot of archeological novels, Templer sort of historical novels, that are Dan Brown knock offs. Even those by Clive Cussler. Not only too many chase scenes, but the plots sort of hang out in thin air with very loose research. (jade,for example, being unheard of in ancient Egypt, but a key plot point in a novel about archaeology in ancient Egypt). This was a very different plot, you have an archaeological treasure sort of where it ought to be, a plot twist involving modern Israel that is somewhat believable. And there are very strong characters, such as a wealthy amateur archaeologist, and is sort of a bumbling hero, in over his head. Generally strong characters all the way through, ancient and modern that carry the plot, or from which the plot grows.

Special mention should be made of how well the author uses the Masada site. It is as though it is an additional character in the novel. He has done at least basic research and has the locale down perfectly. In a time when people can move from reading a novel on their iPads, to Wikipedia and Google Earth, more or less seamlessly, this counts. I could move from the novel to google earth to sort of trace the action. Similarly at least at the level of wikipedia, he has his secondary and primary sources down. Even down to the lots cast, found by an archaeological expedition, in the sixties. A small fact that I would have found unbelievable if I hadn't seen the pictures of the expedition on the Internet.

Because the plot turns on characters and their development you don't have a lot of unnecessary chases and fights you do have a genuinely unfolding process of discovery that is more rewarding to the reader. So I read this book through in a couple of sittings.
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