15 thriller masters. 1 masterful thriller.
Former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton possesses a previously unknown score by Frederic Chopin. But he is unaware that, locked within its handwritten notes, lies a secret that now threatens the lives of thousands of Americans. As he races from Poland to America to uncover the mystery of the manuscript, Middleton will be accused of murder, pursued by federal agents, and targeted by assassins. But the greatest threat will come from a shadowy figure out of his past: the man known only as Faust.
The Chopin Manuscript is a unique collaboration by 15 of the world's greatest thriller writers. Jeffery Deaver conceived the characters and set the plot in motion; the other authors each wrote a chapter in turn. Deaver then completed what he started, bringing The Chopin Manuscript to its explosive conclusion.
The Chopin Manuscript was written by:
Jeffery Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme series)
David Hewson (Nic Costa series)
James Grady (Six Days of the Condor)
S. J. Rozan (Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series)
Erica Spindler (Last Known Victim)
John Ramsey Miller (Winter Massey series)
David Corbett (Blood of Paradise)
John Gilstrap (Scott Free)
Joseph Finder (Power Play)
Jim Fusilli (Terry Orr series)
Peter Spiegelman (John March series)
Ralph Pezzullo (Jawbreaker)
Lisa Scottoline (Daddy's Girl)
P.J. Parrish (Louis Kincaid, Joe Frye series)
Lee Child (Jack Reacher series)
© 2007 International Thriller Writers, Inc., Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, David Hewson, James Grady, S. J. Rozan, Erica Spindler, John Ramsey Miller, David Corbett, John Gilstrap, Joseph Finder, Jim Fusilli, Peter Spiegelman, Ralph Pezzullo, Lisa Scottoline, and P. J. Parrish (P) 2007 Audible, Inc.
"Innovative and unique, The Chopin Manuscript, written by masters in the field of thrillers, is far more than the sum of its parts. Here each author shines, blending individual skill and energy, into a riveting, crackling-paced tapestry of murder, mystery, and mayhem. Not to be missed!" (James Rollins, author of The Judas Strain)
"A GREAT story, written by one GREAT author after another, in one GREAT chapter after another. A stellar achievement of collectivity that blows from the starting gate at 100 mph and never slows down. A thrill-a-page from 15 GREAT thriller masters. Don't miss this one." (Steve Berry, author of The Venetian Betrayal)
American Harold Middleton is a music professor and former war crimes investigator who is called to Poland to assess whether or not a manuscript purported to be an original, previously undiscovered, Chopin is genuine or a fake. However, the man that Harold meets with is murdered soon after their meeting and it soon becomes clear that there is more to the manuscript than mere rarity.
For what is essentially a publishing gimmick the book is delightfully entertaining. The plot rollicks along with red herrings and shocking twists aplenty, just as a good thriller should. The only evidence that the story is written by 15 different people is that there are perhaps a few more characters than normal, but the upside to that is that there are more genuine surprises than you might expect with a book authored by a sole writer who has pet characters and plot threads. There are several themes which are carried throughout the book, such as the role of music, and these help to produce a surprisingly cohesive story.
None of the characters are particularly well developed, there are too many and the book too short for that, but as this is a book all about a fast paced plot that's not a huge turnoff on this occasion. There was enough information to glean about Harold, his daughter Charlie, the evil Faust and a few of the other characters to engage my interest and keep me listening.
The book is narrated by actor Alfred Molina who does a superb job of handling the dialogue-rich story which features a couple of dozen characters.
This was really an excellent book! It could have turned out to be awful with so many fingers in the pudding, but it was just the opposite. I found it unique and I couldn't wait to see where the next author took us. The two winner short stories were a nice addition. Thank you writers for such excellent work and story line. It was a real great read.
Each chapter of this book was written by a different author, the promise was to have a seamless story. And it is seamless, yet noting the difference in writing style, slightly different prose was fascinating. I READ books to enjoy the use of language and style; I usually listen to books that are just plain engrossing and fun. In this book I was able to experience both. Enjoyable, good listen!
I loved how each author made his/her chapter as exciting as possible and with its own arc that still fit into the arc of the overall story. The characters are fun. Well worth it.
This is an amazing story. It is fast paced, and really action-packed. The plot, to be put simply, is similar to the DaVinci Code. Harry Middleton holds a rare manuscript, and someone is out to get it from him. This someone will kill anyone who stands in the way, including Harry.
It has a really good plot and story behind it, but the only thing is that near the beginning they introduce so many different characters that it is difficult to keep everyone straight in your mind. Once you get down who the people are and their relationship to protagonist Harry Middleton, it flows nicely and is a really cool story.
Alfred Molina does a wonderful job bringing the story to life. I couldn't wait to get in my car after school knowing that I had this book waiting for me! Hope you enjoy!
I've only recently found this audio book and have enjoyed it so much I immediately bought The Copper Bracelet. Not only was I fascinated by the concept but all the threads opened up by each of the writers were immensely intriguing. The way Jeffery Deaver pulled it altogether in the last chapter was extraordinary. Kudos to all for taking up the challenge and participating in it so brilliantly.
Jeffery Deaver and Lee Child have always been favourites of mine and I can't wait for their new works to come out. Not only is The Chopin Manuscript a really, really good listen, but it's opened my eyes and ears to a whole other group of writers that I am now going to investigate as potential favourite authors too. Good going Gentlemen & Ladies!!
With so many authors, it is hard to believe that such a cohesive and engaging story. This book keeps you guessing until the end and the authors seemed to challenge each other by twisting the expected storyline into completely unforeseen directions.
I am not english native. I do buy english audiobooks to learn english and to get entertained at the sametime. :o)
About the book: I liked it very much, but: Plot has many twists, many characters do survive about 15 seconds :o) Characers are described only vaguely... Everybody is shooting everyone without hesitation. It is reminding me B action film. Entertainment only, do not look for something more. Anyway, I would buy that one again.
I was very reluctant to try this, hating the idea of multiple authors working in any which direction on the same story. But, it worked surprisingly well, perhaps thanks to the skill of the narrator. Anyway, I liked it.
This book, written by 10 or 12 thriller writers is an amazing feat. That each of these authors could receive the manuscript, in turn, and have no other communication with the other authors as they write their part, is pretty incredible.
The book is consistent, believeable and exciting. It was a pleasure to read this book.
I liked the IDEA of this book - all these great writers teaming together to write some amazing secretive masterpiece - but I felt the book turned out to be a bit disjointed. OK. Very disjointed.
And it was only until I listened to the bonus interview at the end of the audible recording that I learned that the authors did not work together ONE BIT!
They just sent the growing manuscript to the next person on the list after they had added their chapter. So there was very little vision here for how the whole story would turn out, because none of them actually had any clue whatsoever, and it really really would have been a FAR greater book if they did some planning.
It all felt like a bit of a muddle really. Enjoyable because of the concept, all these writers coming together, but I felt it could have been so much more given a little planning on their part.
"And lucky to get one star."
I cannot say that this is the worse book that I have ever read/listened to but I can say that it is the worse I can recall. Not to be beaten I persevered to the end, believing that it could not get any worse and could only get better. I was wrong.
The best to be said is that it must a been a real hoot for the authors to write. I bet that they had a real laugh, they clearly enjoyed themselves; brutally obliterating the work of their predecessors; killing of characters that showed any promise; creating their own characters [only to have them removed by those coming after; reinventing key characters, assuming that they had allowed them to live; twisting what remained of any plot?? They were so busy destroying what had gone before and introducing their own cunning [not] twists that the story, what there was of it, had no continuity or validity. Characters that did survive to the end of the book where amalgams and contradictions, due to repeated rewriting, and lacked any real individuality, making empathy impossible. The plot line was a nonsense, from Dick Barton to Batman. Enough said.
I bought the book as I found the concept of multiple author interesting. Perhaps it was too much to expect that they would cooperate rather than compete, each trying to outdo the previous with ?clever? plot twist. The easy line was to destroy what and gone before and start again. At first I had some sympathy with the later authors, after all they also had to read the earlier chapters but as my brain screamed 'this is trite nonsenss' I quickly lost that sympathy.
I did not like the reading either but cannot criticise, the reader has my full sympathy. How do you read a book that swings from comic strip to English language primer?
I have enjoyed some of these authors in the past but here, well, least said the better.
I have never seen much purpose in writing book reviews and this is my first. This book has changed my mind.
"This book simply does not flow"
Ultimately it disappoints due to lack of structure and continuity. It feels "wrong"
"Interesting idea full of twists and turns"
This is my first ever audible book and I found the experience sufficiently enjoyable to become a full member.
Each chapter has been written by a different author and it is quite good fun to pick out the different narrative styles. This has meant that there is little restraint to the plot so the experience is like riding a roller coaster. This is an exciting story even if it is not entirely credible.
"Audio book of the year?"
This is a truely awful book. As previous reviewers have said, it is extremely disjointed. Each new author seemed to have wanted to make his or her mark by developing or introducing new character so that it had no cohesion. There are also a couple of glaring errors in characterisation - obviously they did not all read the previous chapters that carefully.
I found it extremely irritating although I had paid for it so I did listen all the way through. Goodies became baddies, characters ran round in ever descreasing circles and got nowhere.The ending is terrible.
Don't waste your money.
"Not bad but....."
This book promised so much within the first few pages but just totally failed to deliver. It becomes very cliche'd about halfway through and it really shows that there are a number of different authors involved as each chapter changes dramatically and there are several desparate attempts to bring the story back on track!
"An interesting experiment - doesn't quite work."
I was interested to read about the way that this had been written and was interested to listen to it. There were too many twists, turns and characters for my own liking but it was interesting to remember how it had been formulated.
I devoured this book. It's a unique creation, with the first and final two chapters written by Jeffrey Deaver, and every other by another author. Fantastic collaboration woven seamlessly despite each chapter being written by a different expert in the thriller genre. Looking forward to reading the next joint effort (just downloaded it from Audible.com - The Copper Bracelet!) from the International Thriller Writers. Great stuff, particularly if you spend a lot of time motorway travelling as I do. This book eats the miles away!
"NOT the way to write a book"
A big mistake, each author seems to vie with the other to outstrip his predecessor, the body count makes the final scene in Hamlet look like a storm in a tea-cup. A very unsatisfying listen, suspension of disbelief zero, you could not 'trust' the author because there was no 'direction'.
Narration was excellent.
I wouldn't usually buy books of this genre, but I thought it sounded like an interesting prospect so I decided to give it a try. It didn't win me over to the genre, though I did buy the sequel, 'The Copper Bracelet' (although I haven't actually had the inclination to listen to it yet!) So as you can see, I have mixed feelings about this book.
You have to take this book for what it is. If you're expecting a great thriller then you'll probably be disappointed. Of course the way it has been written doesn't lend itself to being a literary masterpiece. But if you accept that and take it as a bit of a novelty, an experiment, then it's reasonably enjoyable to listen to.
Yes, it doesn't always flow well. Yes, authors tend to do all the things you might expect - change the character's personalities, put in dubious twists, kill off some characters and invent other new ones. But in my view these issues are not as serious as some other reviewers suggest.
There were chapters I really enjoyed and chapters I didn't like at all.
All in all, take it for what it is. It's not a great novel, but it's an interesting experiment, different to most of the other books you read/listen to. If you're up for that, give this book a try.
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