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The Lost Throne (Payne & Jones) Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 23, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
Book 4 of 8 in the Payne & Jones Series

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, July 23, 2009
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Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Steve Berry Interviews Chris Kuzneski

Steve Berry is the author of three stand-alone thrillers, The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Third Secret. His six Cotton Malone thrillers, The Templar Legacy, The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, The Charlemagne Pursuit, and The Paris Vendetta have all been New York Times bestsellers. His latest is The Emperor’s Tomb and an e-book original, The Balkan Escape. Read his interview with Chris Kuzneski:

Steve Berry: As a fellow writer, I’d like to talk about your process. You like to incorporate history into your modern-day thrillers. Do you let history dictate the plot, or do you find historical events that fit your needs?

Chris Kuzneski: Actually, I think it’s a combination of the two. First and foremost, I find an interesting subject—whether that’s a controversial figure or a legendary artifact—and use its actual history as the backbone for my novel. Then I create a scenario where the historical subject matter has a clear, modern-day significance. For example, what if a manuscript written by Nostradamus, the infamous French seer, suddenly resurfaced? Who would benefit from such a book? And what would they do to obtain it? That’s the basis of The Prophecy.

Steve Berry: Along those same lines, do you consider yourself a history buff, or is your research a by-product of being a writer? In other words, if you weren’t writing about it, would you still be reading about it?

Chris Kuzneski: I’m naturally inquisitive, so I would continue to read about the topics that interested me, but not at the level I do now. In all honesty, the amount of research I do before I start writing is completely unhealthy—and probably explains why I am single. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary part of my process. I’m never quite sure when I’m going to discover an interesting nugget that might make my book better, so I keep on digging and digging until my deadline forces me to write.

Steve Berry: Unlike most series in the action-adventure genre, your books are known for their humor. Do you find it difficult to balance the comedy and the suspense?

Chris Kuzneski: If you think about it, comedy and suspense shouldn’t coexist. I mean, the goal of comedy is to paint things in a humorous light, whereas suspense is all about prolonged anxiety. If you mix the two together, they’re bound to clash. So the trick is to alternate them. If done effectively, the two elements can complement each other. For instance, if I want to build suspense in my story, I’ll minimize the wisecracks for a chapter or two, which heightens the tension. But once the tension reaches a certain level, I want readers to catch their breath. That’s when I’ll sprinkle in some humor. Ultimately, I want to take readers on an emotional roller coaster, one with several peaks and valleys. That’s what thrillers are all about.

Steve Berry: The Prophecy is the fifth book in your Payne and Jones series. Can you tell us a little bit about your main characters?

Chris Kuzneski: Jonathon Payne and David Jones are best friends who once led the MANIACs, an elite Special Forces unit composed of the top soldiers from the Marines, Army, Navy, Intelligence, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Although they’re still in their prime, they retired from the military when Payne’s grandfather died and left him controlling interest in his family’s corporation. That occurred right before The Plantation, the first book in the series. Like many ex-soldiers, Payne and Jones miss certain aspects of their former life, most notably the adrenaline rush. To fill the void, they willingly help their friends (and total strangers) out of difficult situations. The person they assist the most is a historian named Petr Ulster. They saved his life in Sign of the Cross, and he has been repaying them ever since. Anytime his research takes him to a dangerous part of the world, he asks Payne and Jones to tag along—and they willingly jump at the chance.

Steve Berry: Speaking of travel, I love your books because the action takes place all around the world. The Prophecy starts in a blizzard in Pittsburgh, but seamlessly shifts to France, Switzerland, and Belgium. Where else have your stories gone?

Chris Kuzneski: I wish my books could earn air miles because my stories have spanned the globe. The Lost Throne opens in Italy, then jumps to Greece, Russia, and Finland. I had a lot of fun with that one because I’d spent some time in Greece and was able to incorporate my experiences into the story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that with Sword of God since one of the plotlines is set in Mecca, a Muslim-only city in Saudi Arabia. That was probably the toughest book for me to write because information about Mecca is so limited. Of course, that was one of the reasons why I chose to set the book there. I wanted to give readers a glimpse of a world that few people are allowed to see. In terms of mileage, I think more ground is covered in Sign of the Cross than my other books combined. It has action on five of the seven continents—Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and Oceania. As an inside joke, I referenced South America and Antarctica in the book because I didn’t want them to feel excluded. By comparison, I showed geographic restraint with The Plantation. It takes place in three countries—America, Mexico, and Nigeria—with most of the action near New Orleans. Since that was my first book, I spent more time with my characters and their backgrounds than I did with the setting.

Steve Berry: That brings up an interesting question. Do your books have to be read in order, or can a reader start with The Prophecy and go from there?

Chris Kuzneski: My books are written so that you can start at the beginning of the series, the end, or anywhere in between. To highlight my point, some of my foreign publishers have actually changed the order of my series to meet their individual needs. Most of the time, I tell readers to decide which subject interests them the most and choose from there. If you like religious thrillers, get Sign of the Cross or Sword of God. Stories about revenge? Go for The Plantation. A fan of Ancient Greece? Get The Lost Throne. And if you’re interested in Nostradamus or the fate of the world, you’ll love The Prophecy. Of course, if you ask Payne and Jones, they’ll tell you to buy all five.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

When the bodies of seven headless monks are found on the rocks below a Greek mountain monastery, Nick Dial, head of Interpol's homicide division, investigates in Kuzneski's fourth novel to feature ex–Special Forces warriors Jonathon Payne and David Jones (after Sword of God). Meanwhile, Payne and Jones are in St. Petersburg, Fla., when Payne receives a phone call from a frightened American woman, Allison Taylor, in St. Petersburg, Russia, who says her boss, a wealthy antiquities researcher, has just been shot dead there. Payne flies to Russia to rescue Allison. Both of these plots eventually join as all involved head off to find a mysterious lost artifact, now known to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Despite the silly, juvenile banter between Payne and Jones as they go about the business of killing bad guys and the book's weak denouement, readers will find the Greek setting a refreshing change after the usual Rome and Jerusalem venues of many such religious thrillers. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Series: Payne & Jones
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (July 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399155821
  • ASIN: B002XULWO8
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,055,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on July 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Looking for a beach or plane read? Like adventure? The Lost Throne fits the bill. A wealthy amateur archaeologist, who entered Russia illegally, is killed, execution style, in St. Petersberg, Russia. His beautiful but brainy assistant, Allison, calls on Jon Payne and DJ Jones, intrepid ex-MANIACS (special ops guys), to rescue her. At the same time, seven Greek Orthodox monks are beheaded in an all but inaccessible monastery.

Will these two threads merge? You bet they will. Payne and Jones, with the help of that brilliant babe and a hard drinking fisherman, must outwit a Russian assassin, identify and track down an ancient treasure, fight a dozen die-hard Spartans (really!), and save the lives of all the remaining monks in Greece, all without a lunch break.

The Last Throne is not War and Peace, nor is it meant to be. It's a rapid fire, non stop action tale with more zigs and zags than today's financial charts. So, suspend your sense of reality, buckle your seat belt, and enjoy the crazy ride.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I greatly enjoyed this novel. There are reviews questioning the plausibility of the story, but the true gift of a novelist is the ability to suspend disbelief. Even though I knew that there were portions of this book that were essentially "impossible", the author manages to write the story, use the characters, manipulate the history, in order to make the story enjoyable nonetheless.

The strength of this novel is, without a doubt, the character development. Each character, with very little description from the author, becomes very easily known; the author accomplishes this through conversation, which is key in writing a good story; don't tell it, let the story tell itself. But, for sure, the characters are quickly appreciated for their strengths, weaknesses, demons, quirks...

The story, based upon the very real, very eccentric, very egotistical Heinrich Schliemann and his findings as an amateur archaeologist, is quite enthralling. There are essentially three different stories to be followed; 2 ex-military operatives working with a woman whose associate has been murdered, an Interpol director and the young police officer/liaison in Greece, and a group of, it would appear, still surviving Spartans (some cry "300 rip-off", but I disagree; perhaps more of a cash in on what is now in pop-culture).
The Spartans remain a very guarded secret by the author for the majority of the book, which worked well in building the questions and uncertainties necessary in this type of novel.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Take one part The Librarian, one part The DaVinci Code, and one part National Treasure. Stir in a few dashes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Season to taste with Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt. Mix well. And the end result is THE LOST THRONE by Chris Kuzneski. THE LOST THRONE is an effortless, entertaining, summer thriller that gets your heart pounding and leaves you wanting more.

I really had a lot of fun reading THE LOST THRONE. This novel is apparently the third in a series featuring Jonathon Payne and D. J. Jones, ex-military special forces, who as private citizens, frequently do freelance work, taking on very dangerous and deadly missions. In THE LOST THRONE, the two best friends must find and recover an ancient treasure, one that could change history as we know it, and stop a mysterious, unknown, lethal opponent from killing again and destroying the treasure.

THE LOST THRONE is a rollicking roller coaster of a page turner. I was immediately captured by the story; I simply could not stop reading this book. Mr. Kuzneski writes with in a simple, easy-breeze style, making THE LOST THRONE a quick, relaxing read. Short, intense chapters make this book easy to pick up and put down whenever you have a spare couple of minutes. In this day and age of over programming and not enough time, I truly appreciate being able to quickly slip into and out of a story. The plot is familiar, but with several creative twists and innovations that keep the story fresh and fun. The characters are all engaging and interesting, if a bit stereotypical - the handsome and intelligent heroes; the brilliant, beautiful damsel in distress; the evil, menacing bad guys; the mysterious, secretive monks; the typical red-shirts.
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Okay, so first and foremost, I am a huge Kuzneski fan. That being said, I didn't care for this book as much as some of his later ones. I'm glad that his character John Payne has developed of the course of his writing to loosen up and not be so uptight and rude as I felt the character was in this book. The story line and everything else I found to be good, but this character kept irking me. I sort of started reading his books in the middle and wanted to catch up and read them all. Perhaps I should leave well enough alone and just keep going from where I'm at.
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