Nicholai Hel--genius, mystic, and the perfect, formidable assassin--was first introduced to readers in Shibumi, the classic #1 bestseller by master storyteller Trevanian. Now, critically-acclaimed author Don Winslow continues Hel's story for the first time in this all-new, blockbuster thriller.
It is the fall of 1951 and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu or "naked kill," fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary "proximity sense" - an extra awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world's most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him. The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China. It's almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori - the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.
©2010 Don Winslow (P)2011 Hachette Audio
I read some negative reviews of this book in comparison to Shibumi but since I had never read Shibumi and was enjoying Winslow's other books I took a chance on it and enjoyed the hell out of this. I did go back and read Trevainian's after it and found I prefered Winslow's book much more. Hope he takes a crack at a sequel.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
It's in the middle of many good ones.
There is a seamless connection between Travanian's style and Winslow. This seems very difficult to pull off, as any fan of Ian Fleming will note of the Bond novels that followed his death. Some other efforts that disappoint are the post Ludlam Bourne series and the last few Jack Ryan novels co authored after Clancy fell ill.
Winslow's effort is a huge success.
He never diassapoints.
Nice thriller but not Winslow's best. Winslow is best when his characters are beach bums, potheads, or surfers. Here he takes a risk by taking one of Trevanian's beloved characters and trying to write a new adventure for him. It doesn't work that well if you have already read or heard "Shimumi" and loved it (the opposite may be true if you haven't). The main character learns to become a assassin to quickly and easily to be believable. Also the character doesn't have the cynical devil-may-care attitude and feeling of the original character. It just doesn't work well. I give this three stars more out of charity because I am a Winslow fan more than because I think it deserves even that. The reader is great but he can only do so much with the story.
It ranks in my top 3, and I have read and listened to quite some...
The thrill of not having idea what's coming next....xlent plot
I don't know if there would be a diff.
Highly recommend...but read or listened to Shibumi first...
Don Winslow is an awesome writer. He continues the story of Nicholai Hel in "Satori." Trevanian's novel "Shibumi" is a classic and that is due in part to the character of Nicholai Hel. Nicholai is a master assassin with a gift for languages and a passion for the game of go. Oh, by the way he is also the ultimate lover. I enjoyed "Shibumi" so much that I was really afraid to listen to "Satori." I took the chance and listened to "Satori" with the same pleasure that I got from listening to "Shimbumi." This is a great audiobook complemented by Holter Graham's narration. Awesome audio book...definitely a 5 star!
Somewhere around chapter 120-something I found myself wanting to get to the end. The story got old. The first half moves great and I would read this just for that part. You can get the rest of the story by listening to the first minute of the chapters past 120. If Don had closed out the story sooner, I'd rate it a 4-5.
So unlike his previous work, I had the feeling Winslow "had always wanted to try political intrigue" as his motivation for this dog. It drones on interminably from cliché to cliché, never really building any suspense and it's protagonist is paper thin and not really very likable. By the time I gave up on the book (which I rarely do) I was hoping someone would just shoot the bastard.
About mid way through we are taken to a climactic moment that just begged for some imaginative escape or twist and we are offered a solution so implausible and uninspired that I thought the thing was over with, but sadly we had only reached the end of the first download.
I am a Winslow fan.
To appreciate this good, one really must read Trevainien's Shibumi first. And THAT's a weird book as well. Both books center around a James Bond type raised in the orient and schooled in eastern philosophy. It was an interesting character. Shibumi kind of became almost cartoonish after awhile. Still, I found it enjoyable and worthwhile. Satori is kind of further examination of the main character through a smaller period of his life. So Winslow must have been attempting to meld his fine style with that of Trevainian and it was odd. there was not nearly so much of the eastern philosophy in this book but it was also more of an action thriller. As much as I love Winslow's work, this is not his best. It was interesting to see how one might adjust one's style to fit another's, but I missed the cartoonish over-the-top personalities of Shibumi.
I would recommend this book to friends who are really engaged by action thrillers based on conspiracies within conspiracies.
Graham did multiple accents quite well. I would look for him again.
this is a book that I really enjoyed reading it can easily being followed up by another but taking it closer to you shibumi I'm really enjoyed it and I'm looking for maybe another follow-up book
Holter Graham is a great narrator.
The initial half.
Excellent. Love all of his performances, but as a CJ Box fan I was thrilled he was narrating Don Winslow.
I listened to it on two long road trips and like all Don Winslow, it's easy to listen for long periods of time because of the quality of dialog and the characters.
As many have pointed out this book is a bit flawed in plot. I'd highly recommend reading the afterword FIRST to understand what Don was trying to do in honoring Trevanian.
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