I think this novel must have been written by Gayle Lynds from an outline by Ludlum and then published to take advantage of Ludlum's huge fan base. Shame on you publisher!!
It is vaguely entertaining and the reader is good, but NOTHING like you'd expect from a real Ludlum novel. The facts are jumbled, the descriptions BLAND and often annoying, huge mistakes are frequent (i.e. according to this author they speak arabic in Iraq- as far as I know, and the CIA worldbook confirms this, they speak Persian or Turkish and only 1% speak arabic). This is just an example of the myriad distracting discrepancies. Moreover, where Ludlums "voice" is discerning and his characters express fairly complicated international opinions, Lynds is pretty jingoistic and simplistic.
The hardest thing for me though, as a Ludlum fan, are Lynds poor descriptions, the 2-D characters, the tendency to tell rather than "show" the action. If you're looking for lyrical prose, tight plotting, smart descriptions and truly memorable characters Ludlum's other novels are worth a purchase. Definitely try the Janson Directive read by Paul Michael. As far as the Hades Factor, I wish the publisher would let Ludlum rest in peace or find co-authors who are up to his level of storytelling. Sigh.
This book represents a miracle of marketing-- how else could they get blurbs from Nelson DeMille and Clive Cussler?? I hear they posted a job listing on Monster.com to recruit agents for the "Atlantis Project" so maybe that kind of stunt has drawn people to read this excuse for a thriller.
I don't mind an outlandish plot-- I love escapist fiction. But the descriptions are so banal and the characters so unlikeable that I found myself laughing at the writer's choices (rather than enjoying the ride of a compelling story).
Definitely my harshest review ever, but the combination of poor prose, whiny characters and contraction action (comes every two minutes whether the plot calls for it or not) deserves zero stars.
This abridged version and this narrator don't do this book justice.
Wait for Audible to offer Recorded Books' wonderful versions of this and other early Quick books. They're funny, fast-paced, and charming.
What a disappointment. I accidentally clicked two stars-- meant to give it just one. I picked it based on the customer reviews and Scott Brick's talents as a narrator. Even Mr. Brick couldn't save this one; though the narration is very good, this story is not. The plot doesn't twist-- it rambles, the characters are boiler plate, and the hero's behavior is bizarre (super cool one moment, silly outburst the next). Throw in some painful deus ex machina moments and you've got this book in a nutshell.
Some fairly good chase and slaughter scenes, but that's not why I read a mystery.
A worthy addition to the Flashman opus- though not the best starting place for newcomers to this series. Readers who love Sharpe will adore Flashie. Fraser offers a rollicking romp through history through Flashman's wonderfully jaundiced eyes. Irreverent, poignant, factual, bawdy, action-packed-- these books are a find.
I hope Audible will offer all the Flashman books so readers can start at the beginning. If not, read the others first, then enjoy this audiobook for dessert. David Case (aka Frederick Davidson) is the perfect reader.
I can't get enough Amelia Peabody read by Barbara Rosenblatt. These wonderful books come to life with her narration. Emerson's paper tiger voice, Peabody's ringing tones, Abdullah's wry humor all sing in this recording. And this installment of the series is one of Elizabeth Peters' best. If you like smart and funny mysteries, with the perfect touch of melodrama and a bit of real history, read these.
I listened to the abridged version first (it was available much earlier). Even if you listened to that one, GET THIS UNABRIDGED VERSION. Paul Michael is a great narrator (his characterizations and accents are perfect) and the details they cut out of the abridged version were critical to the tightly woven tapestry of the story. A fun ride with lots of interesting historical and regional detail. Don't miss it.
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