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Publisher's Summary

The Byzantine Fire is much more than a flawless ninety-carat ruby. As a stone, it's worth over a million dollars, a value vastly increased by its pure gold band - but its history is what makes it priceless. A ring that has been fought for with sword and pen and passed from nation to nation by all manner of theft and trickery, has finally made its way to the United States. The US agrees to return it to Turkey, but it's about to be stolen twice more.

A gang of Greeks armed with Sten guns burst into the security room at JFK Airport and escape with the priceless stone, which they deposit in the safe at a small jeweler's shop in Queens. A few hours later, unlucky thief John Dortmunder, expecting a routine robbery, steals it again. Having unsuspectingly lifted the hottest gem in town, John Dortmunder becomes the prey of the FBI, the New York City police, terrorist groups from three nations, and all of New York's petty and not-so-petty crooks.

Much blood has been shed for this little ruby, and Dortmunder's could very well be next.

©1983 Donald E. Westlake (P)2013 HighBridge Company

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Another delightful mis-adventure.

John Dortmunder scores his biggest prize accidentally. If it were anyone else they would be set for at least a nice vacation, but not Dortmunder.

The curse strikes again and John not only cannot get rid of the item but he has become a huge target for both the police and the underworld. He biggest goal is to somehow survive his "good luck" and live to see another day. What a hoot!

Donald Westlake has created a wonderful character with John Dortmunder and I have found every one of the first 5 novels well worth the time and money. I have not been disappointed with the characters, the stories or the wonderful finishes Mr Westlake has come up with. After a little rest (and some more serious books), it will be on to #6.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Cool

Good listen. Easily passed the time on a 7 hr flight. Ready for more Westlake. Westlake. Westlake Westlake. Westlake. Westlake.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

So, So Below Par

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, since this is a review for the audio version it was so disappointing. I

How could the performance have been better?

A different narrator for a starter. If I didn't see the authors name as Donald Westlake I would have sworn this was a fledgling writer making a sad attempt at telling a story. The narrator has part of the blame in this sad attempt at a Dortmunder comedy of errors. In all the other audiobooks the comedic punch was just that, a punch. From laughs to giggles to hysterical laughing. I couldn't find any humor. I found it dark in the reading. And so so not interesting. I did finish the audiobook but I will ask for my money back. I like have all the books in a series so I can read/listen in a marathon one after the other all the way through. I think in this case I'll just have to have books missing. Authors should listen to the narrator's reading before it is released.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Only if I were paid a lot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Very entertaining but not for the thin skinned

The story is now dated, and the ethnic slurs run hot and heavy. But if you are old enough to understand the jokes I found it very entertaining. Not the usual Dortmunder story where he steals the same thing over and over again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful