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Robert Ludlum -- Master of the Espionage Novel
on January 29, 2002
I am hooked on Robert Ludlum's books. I gave up romance after I turned 20, moved on to murder mysteries (Ellery Queen genre), but I never experienced an author that could keep me awake until 3:00 in the morning, not only with this book--but with all of them!
I have read The Chancellor Manuscripts, all three of the series of the Bourne books, and just finished the Holcroft Covenant, which teases and hints at a sequel in the last few pages, and I'm crossing my fingers there is one (have to still check out his list of books).
The twist, as expected in any Ludlum novel, occurs about half-way through the book, from a direction the reader would never guess, and involves a woman (the hero always has to get his gal in Ludlum's novels!), and this right after he experiences something that forces him to run for his life, hide from those he loves, and/or forces him to cut his communications from any normal life that the hero would normally use if this was real life.
While Ludlum's books smack of a 'formula,' I'm hooked--you know that something unusual is going to happen to the main character, he's going to be forced to give up his normal life to go out and 'save the world,' he'll use life-long aquaintances for help throughout the book (although about 85% end up in a morgue by the end of the story), there's lots of shooting of the bad guys, a damsel in distress who will initially hate or distrust the main character, then fall in love with him, and after which everybody shoots at each other and more bad and good guys die, then the hero either ends up being 'savior' of the world, or he ends up chopped to pieces (ouch), but survives to take on the bad guys again.
Don't try this plot at home--only Ludlum can add enough realistic and believable imagery to convince you of the reality of the story with his details. I was surprised that this is the only book of Ludlum's so far to have the scenery completely fall within the continental USA versus his European settings for all his other books. While the details are pretty amibiguous in this book, they are realistic enough to give you a feel for the location (versus his precise details and descriptions of European sites in his other novels).
If you haven't tried a Ludlum novel, pick one up--any one, and enjoy an espionage thriller that only a master like Ludlum can write.