Wow! I thought this book was great. Having said that I must say that it is not an easy listen. The names are strange, the places distant and the time was long, long ago when the world was a very different place from what it is today. I say this to describe why it is not an easy listen. I was constantly trying to place the people, the location or the historical occasion in context.
This is not a negative criticism of the book but rather a criticism of my knowledge of the era. I found the book interesting, educational and well written. It is not a book for everyone but for those looking for an analysis of the crusades, I think this book is great.
I could not think of the proper way to express my reservations about this book. When talking to a friend of mine she said that she found the book to be contrived. I think that is an excellent way of expressing my critique. Typical of Dan Brown, there is a load of information, perhaps too much arcane information. However, that is the most interesting aspect of the book. I found myself being lectured way too often or as another friend said "speechifying". I was also troubled about the repetitive nature of some of the lecturing which talks place in the form of an explanation. I swear it is almost cut and past from one section of the book to another.
By the end of the book I was happy that it had finally finished and felt that the work to get through it was really not worth the effort.
Perhaps I missed something after reading the other reviews. I did not like this book. I thought the story was flat and did not flow smoothly. Other than some moments with the brothers, there were not any moments of excitement or eager anticipation.
I easily could have put this book down and forgotten about it. The final straw was the ending. I do not want to spoil anything for those that want to listen to the book so I will simply say that I thought they forgot to record a chapter at the end of the book.
I not only thought the book to be disappointing but I felt cheated by purchasing a book by a well-known accomplished author only to be provided with a transcript seemingly written by an aspiring literary student. The leading character is a professional private detective is it credible that she does not have a cellular telephone? Or, being the object of criminal intent, is it believable that the perpetrator would simply leave? I think NOT!
I really agree with Sandee's review. The book started out great. I was really excited about the writing, the subject and the satire. The situation kept building and I could hardly stop listening. Then, suddenly it was as if the air went out of the balloon. It was as if Buckley had got to a certain point and didn't know how to finish. What a disappointment! As Sandee wrote, it just petered out. Even at that I'll give it a 4 for originality, taking on a difficult subject, and being entertaining for 3/4s of its length.
I really enjoyed the book. I couldn't quite understand the reasoning behind some of the physical threats to the main character. I don't think this added anything to the story. However, the corporate intrigue with its international implications really is a nice setting for the action. The way Crichton uses the media has a very satisfying feel about it. I thought the book started a bit slow but finished up very nicely.
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