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.
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.
No matter where you go, there you are.
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.
Oh my. I loved the sequel to Shibumi. I never thought it would happen but it was wonderful. I look forward to more like Satori. Kudos to Don Winslow.
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...
Winslow is one of my favorite fiction writers when I am in the mood for this kind of story. Unfortunately now there are none left that I havent read. I put this one off, beause it looked so different from his usual stories. But this one is over the top. From spys in Beijing to going down the Mekong to a final showdown in the tunnels south of Saigon. I listen while driving, and this story had my pulse elevated several times. This one is one of the best.
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!
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