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Publisher's Summary

One of the world's greatest men has been kidnapped! Nobel laureate, financier, and philanthropist Peter Novak - a billionaire committed to fostering global democracy through his Liberty Foundation - has been captured by the Caliph, a near-mythical terrorist who plans to execute him in a matter of days.

Running out of time and hope, Novak's people turn to a man with a history of defeating impossible odds: Paul Janson. For decades, Janson was a legendary covert operative and assassin. Now he has retired, and nothing could lure him back - nothing except Peter Novak, who once saved Janson's life.

Backed by the considerable resources of the Liberty Foundation, Janson assembles a crack extraction team to rescue Novak from his fortress prison. But the operation goes horribly wrong and Janson is marked for death, the target of a "beyond salvage" order.

Now he is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, an agent who, as a student of Janson's own lethal arsenal of tactics, can anticipate his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its creators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own. Janson's only hope is to uncover the nearly unimaginable truth behind these events - a secret that has the power to foment wars, topple governments, and change the course of history.

©2002 Myn Pyn LLC; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"All the trademarked Ludlum gifts of plotting, pacing, and suspense are on full display in this engrossing mystery." (
"Vintage Ludlum - big, brawny, and loaded with surprises." (Publishers Weekly)
"A marvel of stunning physical detail...Ludlum's best since The Bourne Identity." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Captivated me from the beginning

This is one of the best I've listened to in a long while. I burn CD's to listen in my car going wherever. I found myself anxious to get in the car so I could listen to more. I guess this is the equivalent to a book you can't put down. Very well written to keep attention...very exciting. Only complaint was an occasional excursion into explaining how items used in the adventure worked. Some were tedious.

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Best narrator I've heard yet

This story is full of twists and turns, it will surprise you thoroughly. The most incredible part is that although the story is very complex and loaded with characters, the narrator manages to give each a distintive voice, making it possible to keep them straight. I love a good spy novel, and Ludlum was one of the best. Check this one out, you'll be late to every appointment you have until you are finished with it!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another Ludlum Pleaser!

In typical fashion, Robert Ludlum has created a fast paced story of international intrigue. His precise descriptions help immensely in this audiobook format. What makes all of his stories worthwhile is the plausibilty that it could happen.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Xavier
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 08-17-11

Nice action audiobook

I loved the action which was almost nonstop. That means it kept me up past my bedtime a lot. Although I wish I could have had the will power to have not kept adding 30 min to my nightstand ihome player, resulting in lost sleep, I really enjoyed the relentless action in this thriller. I recommend highly.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Katy, TX, United States
  • 05-27-08

the best in recent years

Of all the recent co-written Ludlum novels, this is by far the best. Whether it is truly written by Ludlum or not is largely irrelevant, as this story is extremely well-written. I especially liked the sniper scene in the park.
It is exciting from the first page and does not let up until the end.
Janson is an interesting character, and the supporting characters are also well developed.
To be honest, there havent been many good spy novels written in the last decade. One good one is "Avenger" by Fredrick Forsythe.
"The Janson Directive" is also very good. I finished it in one day, and highly recommend it to anyone who likes espionage, action, and mystery. I was disappointed when it ended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Thrilling and action packed

Ludlum has woven a fine thriller that just made it to the top of my favorite listens. The covert operations and spy sequences in this audiobook were phenomenal, and kept me itching for more. Every time I thought that I knew what was going to happen next, I was proven wrong. As a story alone this book is great, but there's more. Paul Michael does a fantastic job of narrating this book while keeping the separate characters in check. Each voice is distinct, and it really helps ease into Ludlum's style. I like this book better than the Bourne series, and that is a compliment. Get it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very Good Thriller

Really enjoyed this book. The Paul Janson character seems to be a guy that can think/act his way out of most anything that is thrown at him, especially if weaponry is involved. Sounds like a guy to have on your side if you needed to survive a very bad situation. The reader has quite an array of voices that he uses to portray the various characters. Did a really good job on the narration. I found it very easy to tell one character from another.
Now for what I didn't like. The thing I didn't like the most, or at least got tired of, was the flashbacks to Vietnam. Enough already with Paul Janson Vietnam flashbacks. Either get the whole flashback over with or mention them but don't take so long going in to so much detail where the only purpose seems to be to indicate his resolve at surviving and his being set up. I found this part distracting from the main story line and could have been completely removed and the story would have been even better.
Don't read on if you don't want to read something that may give away the story line: what was with saving Novak at the beginning and the Kalif character (assume the spelling is correct since I can only hear the story, not read it) that was holding Novak just kind of disappears until the end of the story? You'd think there would have been more around the guy being ticked that his hostage was rescued and somehow got away. Seems like there should have been at least a little more mention of what happened when he discovered the hostage was gone. I mean was he mad? Did he slaughter his own people for "dropping the ball," or did he exact some revenge on someone else, or did he fall out of favor and get lashed? Surely something happened right away near the beginning of the story. Why didn't the author at least close the loop up front since this is where the story started? I thought the story would have been fine with much fewer flashbacks.
Having said all this, I enjoyed the book quite a bit though and will read more Ludlum books.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Never lets go

Talk about a thriller! What a roller coaster this one is. I loved it, never knew what was coming. How that preview reviewer can call this book "predictable" indicates that he or she is clearly clairvoyant because this book is just the opposite of that and a great listen. I found so many new ways to drive to and from work, just to make the drive longer!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The best produced audiobook I have ever heard

Other's have said plenty about the storyline, and if you are familiar with Ludlum's work, there is no surprise here. However, the reading and production is absolutely top-notch. Paul Michael does and excellent job with the different characters, giving them each a specific tone and accent that is a pleasure to listen to. I've listened to at least a dozen other audiobooks and never knew the experience could be this enjoyable. I highly recommend Paul Michael as a narrator. I will now be seeking books he's read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


Same old same old. Too contrived. Frequent boring. Other Janson's have been far superior. Narration ok. Story line is déjà vu.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful