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Publisher's Summary

The complete story of Charles Sobhraj, the serial killer who inspired the hit Netflix series The Serpent.

Charles Sobhraj remains one of the world's great con men, and as a serial killer, the story of his life and capture endures as legend. Born in Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and Indian father, Sobhraj grew up deprived of a sense of identity, moving to France before being imprisoned and stripped of his multiple nationalities. Driven to floating from country to country, continent to continent, he became the consummate con artist, stealing passports, smuggling drugs and guns across Asia, busting out of prisons, and robbing wealthy associates. But as his situation grew more perilous, he turned to murder, preying on Western tourists dropping out across the 1970s "hippie trail", leaving dead bodies and gruesome crime scenes in his wake, triggering an international manhunt that put him at the top of INTERPOL's most wanted list.

On the Trail of the Serpent draws its listeners into the story of Sobhraj's life as told exclusively to journalists Richard Neville and Julie Clarke by the investigators, families of the victims, and even Sobhraj himself. Blurring the boundaries between true crime and novelization, this remains the definitive book about Sobhraj - a riveting tale of sex, drugs, adventure, and murder. 

©2021 Richard Neville and Julie Clarke (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary." (The Guardian)

What listeners say about On the Trail of the Serpent

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EXHILARATING

There was no such thing as a friend, a lover or business partner, they were all prey.
Even his brothers and sisters were used and abandoned.
One of the weirdest, most exciting, and intriguing true crime tales of a charismatic serial killer and charming psychopath I've come across.
A very exciting and captivating and exhilarating read.

3 people found this helpful

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If you loved the Netflix series...

But needed more details, then this unabridged and well researched tell all is a must for you.

2 people found this helpful

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Pass on this book

horrible book... drawn out stories and boring ! don't waste your money. wikipedia would serve u better

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Interesting

This is another interesting look into the mind of a serial killer. Having traveled through many of these cities, I found it very fascinating. I feel like the authors did a solid job. No unnecessary drama, they let the story speak for it's self. The narrator does a fine job. Worth a credit.

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A great listen

Unbelievable story, and great performance by the reader! So much research done by the authors.

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Truth is Stranger Than Fiction!

This riveting story is very well told and narrated. It is almost hard to believe but it is all true. »Charles » is one of the most fascinating psychopaths in history!

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If you love the Netflix series get this book.

I was fascinated by the Netflix series so I had to get this book. It was written and narrated perfectly and the authors even updated the book while the series was being made.

Charles Sohabraj life before the murder cases was even more fascinating. Not saying you will sympathize with him but you can see he was a rejected but a ambitious man.

Richard and Julie seem at odds with each other. Richard having a similar background as Charles and Julie being the grounded female skeptic. Makes you wonder what went on behind the scenes. You can tell some conflict within the writing.

The opening chapters made you reflect the damage western countries done during their force addiction of East Asian cultures to Heroin and other drugs that the hippies walked along.

Overall the book is not too long or too short. Glad I got this biography instead of the Thompson one which sounded too redundant.