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The Parsifal Mosaic: A Novel Paperback – February 1, 1983

3.8 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Robert Ludlum and The Parsifal Mosaic
 
“[Robert] Ludlum’s narrative imagination is a force of nature.”The New York Times
 
“As fast-paced and absorbing as any he’s written.”Newsday
 
“The suspense never lets up.”The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“A crackling good yarn.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

From the Publisher

"Mr. Ludlum's narrative imagination is a force of nature."--The New York Times.

Michael Havelock's world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava. He watched as his partner and lover, Jenna Karats, double agent, was efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There was nothing left for him but to quit the game, get out. Until, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock saw his Jenna alive. From then on, he was marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins, racing around the globe after his beautiful betrayer, trapped in a massive mosaic of treachery created by a top-level mole with the world in his fist--Parsifal.

"Massive melodrama... Ludlum does know how to put on a show."--Chicago Tribune.

"A crackling good yarn."--Los Angeles Times Book Review.

"The suspense never lets up."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"As fast-paced and as absorbing as any he's written."--Susan Isaacs, Newsday

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (March 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553252704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553252705
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeff Edwards VINE VOICE on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Ludlum in the late 70's by my brother who claimed that if I thought Clive Cussler was a good author, I needed to check out somebody who could really plot a story well.
I started off with The Bourne Identity, which I still rank as one of the most original stories I have ever read. I waited quite some time before attempting 'Parisfal', and by the time I finally got around to doing so, it didn't take long to realize that I had cheated myself out of quite an adventure.
I was going through my library here not long ago fixing up my book shelves when I ran across my old copy, and decided it was time to crack it open yet again. I was amazed at how well it has held up over the years, and just how REALLY GOOD it really is. I won't attempt to go into the details of the plot, because quite frankly, Ludlum puts just too many twists and turns into his average novel that just to attempt to summarize 'Parsifal' in such a short amount of room would be incredibly disrespectful to the memory of Robert Ludlum (in my opinion). No, instead I would rather go into what makes his novels so darned fun...
Ludlum will never be confused with what some consider 'True Literature' but what he lacks in major character development, he more than makes up for with the sheer speed of his plots and how his stories seem to be several plots all going at once on a runaway train with no brakes...yet he manages to keep control at all of the crucial moments and never gives you more peeks into what is really happening than you absolutely MUST have, and yet you still have a grasp of what is going on, without knowing what is going to happen next. Is someone going to die in his books?
Yes...
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big Robert Ludlum fan, and love the spy / mystery type of novel. The Parsifal Mosaic is very involving and complex, and in general great fun.
Without giving away the inner layers of the story, Michael Havelock is a US spy with a tortured past, who has finally found some happiness with a fellow spy, Jenna Karasova. Unfortunately, he is shown that Jenna is a double agent, and watches her die for her betrayal. Preparing to abandon his agent-life and retire to become a teacher, he catches a glimpse of Jenna, alive, at a chance meeting in Europe. The chase is on, as he tries to track down Jenna and figure out why she's alive, and who was deceiving who.
There are a variety of interesting locations, from the docks of Italy to meeting rooms in Washington DC. The characters each seem to have an outward 'mask' plus an inner 'motive', and Michael moves from scene to scene trying to unravel it all. There are twists and turns as he gets closer and further away from the truth.
Maybe it's because I've read so many mysteries and thrillers, but I do have to say that a few things disappointed me. First, many of the situations were extremely staged and obvious. There were many things that I guessed long before the characters did, and with the lead characters made out to be extremely intelligent and quick, it was hard to believe they were still muddling through something for chapters after it had been made obvious. For example, Michael recognizes one of the guys killing Jenna - Michael knows he knows him but doesn't remember WHO he is. Throughout the rest of the story, while trying to figure out what is going on, he never bothers to try to track this guy down.
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Format: Paperback
One feels almost shame in enjoying the works of Robert Ludlum. The dialogue steps out of the Stone Age onto the paper (the phrases "my friend" and "spell it out" are used overgenerously), the melodrama is suffocating (ditto the words "madness" and "insanity", always in italics and always followed with an exclamation point), and the characters are photocopies of each other from book to book. Meanwhile, the good-guy spy is over-romanticized, the stuff of a fourteen year-old girl's wildest fantasies. The problem is, Ludlum is so darned fun to read. And, as his novels go, The Parsifal Mosaic is among the best. This might be directly related to the sky-high body count, but it's Ludlum: get used to it. I felt almost guilty the first time I acknowledged to myself that the bloodbath trick--someone getting killed every four pages or so--never gets old. No one said this guy was Tolstoy. He's not even John LeCarre or Frederick Forsyth. But nor are they Robert Ludlum. If you want pragmatism, realism, and a spy hero who gets his hands dirty, eats corn flakes, and drives a Taurus, then read LeCarre (the master of characterization) or Forsyth (the master of the political thriller). But none of their work gives you quite the same thrill as sitting down with Robert Ludlum...
...while he blows away five hundred people with machine guns.
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By A Customer on January 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book represents Ludlum at his best, bar none!!! My only problem with this book is the dialogue which strikes me as unrealistic. I found myself repeatedly thinking that people do not speak to each other as the characters do in this novel. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the plot development and, well, just about everything else. In fact, I have read this book at least ten times. For my money, I would strongly recommend this novel and the following: The Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Scarlatti Inheritance, Aquitaine Progression, Matarese Circle, The Holcroft Covenant and The Gemini Contenders. Please, PLEASE, avoid the following: The Matarese Countdown, The Road to Omaha, The Scorpio Illusion and The Bourne Ultimatum.
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