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Publisher's Summary

Thief. Manipulator. Con artist. Call it what you will - Bianca St. Ives is the best in the business.

Growing up, Bianca St. Ives knew she was different from all her friends. Instead of playing hopscotch or combing her dolls' hair, she studied martial arts with sensei masters and dismantled explosives with special-ops retirees. Her father prepped her well to carry on the family business. Now a striking beauty with fierce skills, the prodigy has surpassed the master.

She's known as the Guardian. Running a multinational firm with her father, she makes a living swindling con men out of money they stole - and she's damn good at it. She does things on her own terms. But her latest gig had a little hiccup - if you count two hundred million dollars and top secret government documents going missing as little. Her father also died on the mission. The thing is, the US government doesn't believe he's really dead. They'll stop at nothing to capture Richard St. Ives, a high-value target and someone who has been on most-wanted lists all over the world for over two decades, and they mean to use Bianca as bait. With only a fellow criminal for backup and her life on the line, it's up to Bianca to uncover the terrifying truth behind what really happened...and set it right, before it's too late.

©2017 Karen Robards (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"The listener is pulled into the suspense by characters infused with life and believability. Whether you're new to audiobooks or a veteran, Julia Whelan will not disappoint in this mighty fine story written by Karen Robards." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Rare Find

What did you love best about The Ultimatum?

I don't usually write review but this author deserves a stellar one. She wrote about a women protagonist who never gave up her power, and never gave up. A character eminently likable. I'm so tired of reading books we're the man swoops in and saves a woman.This book the woman saves everyone.

What did you like best about this story?

There are too few authors that provide us with strong women role models. My only comment is "Write faster". I'd like to have the sequel now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Janet
  • ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States
  • 06-17-17

Boring and so predictable!

Would you try another book from Karen Robards and/or Julia Whelan?

I am usually a fan of Karen Robards but this story is boring and predictable with the main character so Barbie like.

Has The Ultimatum turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointing

Any additional comments?

No

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Who really wrote this book?

I was very disappointed in this book as I've never read a Karen Robards I didn't enjoy! This one was very different from her usual. Way too technical and redundant to the max! The ending left you hanging and wondering why you wasted your time! What there was of a story was totally unbelievable. I could say a lot more but I'll leave it to the next reviewer.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Beware. Cliffhanger

Cliffhangers are an automatic 1 star from me. There was no indication when I purchased both the ebook and audiobook that this was a ...to be continued...book. If an author is going to write a book, it should be an entire book, not one that forces you to buy another one just to discover how the story ends. By way of protest, I never buy the second book because I don't want to encourage the author to continue the practice, so I will just need to finish the story in my own head.

Ms. Robards is on my 'automatic' purchase list. I normally enjoy her stories enormously and have reread some of them, however we are generally left with a HEA/HFN ending. The story was paced nicely with plot twist that I enjoyed. The mystery surrounding Bianca and Richard was intriguing, leaving me to wonder why a father and daughter had such a distant relationship. I enjoyed the story until it ended. It was very unsatisfactory and authors that do this make us wait a year or so before there is another book to help explain the backstory and continue with the story. That just isn't for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story, but that ending ....

I loved the story. High suspense, lots of action . Hated the ending. ahhhh!!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sandwich book

What did you love best about The Ultimatum?

The beginning and ending were great. The story line in the middle was a bit slow and convoluted

If you’ve listened to books by Karen Robards before, how does this one compare?

Listened to another of Karen Robards' books and I must say I had hoped for better than what I got with this one.

What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Narration was well done.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing!!

I enjoy all of Karen Robards books but this series is set to be my favorite. This story is a little different from her other books as it’s not a Love story... yet. The lead character Bianca uses some of her strength but mostly her brain to get her out of tight situations. She’s a woman that has trained in mixed martial arts, languages and how to be a theft. She and her crew led by her father, make a living stealing from criminals. On the last heist things go wrong.
But Bianca is not a wilted flower she does what has to be done. Even though there isn’t any sex, she has a lot of sexual tension with one of the other characters and I can’t wait to see how that develops. Please note this is the first book in a new series. Some people don’t like that but I watch movie sequels and TV series so I don’t mind a second book!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cliffhanger!!!

I can't believe this book ended in a cliffhanger! I was pulled into the book from the very beginning with the chilling opening and gripped for the rest of the book. The imagery, suspense, machinations, and low steam were all well done. I thought the humor added was great too. The twists were surprising and numerous.
Julia Whelan did an outstanding performance with her distinguishable voices for the various characters. I really liked Bianca in this book and am looking forward to hearing what happens to her in the future. I loved how she was selfless and let her compassion take over. I really dislike cliffhanger endings, and that is why the story is not rated higher.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun New Series

Great Macha lead female character. I just love strong heroines. Can't wait for the next one!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great new series -- if Julia Whelan is narrator!

What made the experience of listening to The Ultimatum the most enjoyable?

Julia Whelan is perfect for this apparent new series. She is one of the few women narrators who can do male voices well. And she is terrific as the title character Bianca/Beth, really getting into the spirit of this complex and guarded young woman who has amazing physical gifts. Whelan has the youthful enthusiasm that is needed for the 20-something main characters, as well as the heft for the numerous male characters, heroes, villains and Beth's complex "father."
Frankly, I credit Whelan for my high rating of The Ultimatum. I cannot imagine another narrator doing as well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ultimatum?

Bianca's first escape, through an air vent that drops her in the men's room. where she lays scantily clad on the floor staring up at a young man -- who turns out to be "Mickey,'' an operative who is on her trail throughout the book, and gradually becomes a "good guy,'' MAYBE.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Mickey kisses Bianca on the deck of a yacht. And during his "passion," he also manages to handcuff her to the railing. She is furious and swiftly uses some kick-box moves that send him flying into the water -- while she's still handcuffed. Then she swiftly takes care of that problem and, in a moment of charity and sass, tosses him a life preserver before she high tails it off the boat herself.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A young woman discovers a shocking secret -- she's the sole surviving 'super soldier'

Any additional comments?

I'm a big fan of many of Karen Robards' books. I truly hope that she makes sure the publisher keeps Ms Whelan as the narrator in the expected subsequent books of this series. I could not listen to the sequel if it is performed by anyone else.
Too many authors (Kathy Reichs, Linda Scottoline, for example, who both wrongly ditched Barbara Rosenblat) blow it by switching narrators for their series. Rosenblat added depth and emotion to their characters that the newer narrators have failed to match.
In contrast, Whelan is the perfect young narrator for books with young heroines. She did spellbinding jobs with Nora Roberts' The Witness and The Collector.