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Publisher's Summary

Nicholai Hel--genius, mystic, and the perfect, formidable assassin--was first introduced to readers in Shibumi, the classic #1 bestseller by master storyteller Trevanian. Now, critically-acclaimed author Don Winslow continues Hel's story for the first time in this all-new, blockbuster thriller.

It is the fall of 1951 and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu or "naked kill," fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary "proximity sense" - an extra awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world's most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him. The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China. It's almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori - the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.

©2010 Don Winslow (P)2011 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    350
  • 4 Stars
    195
  • 3 Stars
    79
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    359
  • 4 Stars
    154
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    6

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    148
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    81
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    12
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    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John E
  • Clinton, CT, United States
  • 09-20-11

LOVED IT!

I read some negative reviews of this book in comparison to Shibumi but since I had never read Shibumi and was enjoying Winslow's other books I took a chance on it and enjoyed the hell out of this. I did go back and read Trevainian's after it and found I prefered Winslow's book much more. Hope he takes a crack at a sequel.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

Not the same caliber as The Force

Frankly throughout this book I was waiting for the Don Winslow writing that I loved in The Force, and The Cartel and the entire California marijuana industry series. It never came. Instead there is a perfect main character, with super human abilities that always comes out on top. Predictable and a bit of a bore.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carl
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 03-22-11

Nice But Not Winslow's Best

Nice thriller but not Winslow's best. Winslow is best when his characters are beach bums, potheads, or surfers. Here he takes a risk by taking one of Trevanian's beloved characters and trying to write a new adventure for him. It doesn't work that well if you have already read or heard "Shimumi" and loved it (the opposite may be true if you haven't). The main character learns to become a assassin to quickly and easily to be believable. Also the character doesn't have the cynical devil-may-care attitude and feeling of the original character. It just doesn't work well. I give this three stars more out of charity because I am a Winslow fan more than because I think it deserves even that. The reader is great but he can only do so much with the story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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

A Worthy Sequel To Shibumi

Where does Satori rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's in the middle of many good ones.

What did you like best about this story?

There is a seamless connection between Travanian's style and Winslow. This seems very difficult to pull off, as any fan of Ian Fleming will note of the Bond novels that followed his death. Some other efforts that disappoint are the post Ludlam Bourne series and the last few Jack Ryan novels co authored after Clancy fell ill.

Winslow's effort is a huge success.

What about Holter Graham’s performance did you like?

He never diassapoints.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • Jupiter, FL, United States
  • 05-03-15

Great first half, but went on way to long

Somewhere around chapter 120-something I found myself wanting to get to the end. The story got old. The first half moves great and I would read this just for that part. You can get the rest of the story by listening to the first minute of the chapters past 120. If Don had closed out the story sooner, I'd rate it a 4-5.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
  • 12-21-17

Cartoonish and Poorly Narrated

While Mr. Winslow gets points for trying, his attempt never gets beyond the bad comic book stage, with campy romance and over the top villains that remind me of all the worst James Bond movies I've ever seen.

And the producers of the audiobook didn't help themselves by casting Holter Graham to do the narrating . . . this production may have been saved by a more mature voice to give the story the weight and gravitas that seem to be so glaringly missing.

Mr. Graham's narration sounds more like a 12 year old reading a comic book than a grown man telling an adventure story.

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

THE BEST OF THE BEST, BUT READ SHIBUMI FIRST

Where does Satori rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks in my top 3, and I have read and listened to quite some...

What did you like best about this story?

The thrill of not having idea what's coming next....xlent plot

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

I don't know if there would be a diff.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many moments

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend...but read or listened to Shibumi first...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Not the usual Winslow

When I started this book I really didn't understand that this was a prequel to Shibumi, which I've not read. I just jumped in thinking I was going to listen to another fantastic Don Winslow novel. It just didn't grab me the way his work usually does. It took a good three or four hours for me to get settled in. Once I got that far I began to enjoy it.

Now I understand the main character was trained and raised essentially has a Japanese (I think it was Japanese, I wasn't quite hooked yet in that part) warrior, but the repeated reference to his "proximity sense" seemed a little over-the-top. All I could think of when I heard it was "Spidey sense". It just seemed a little ridiculous.

After listening to the authors notes at the end it became clear to me why this novel seemed different in someway. Being a prequel to Shibumi the story and characters were not the usual organically inspired by Winslow. It seems he had boundaries to stay within.

I wouldn't say I'm anxious to listen to Shibumi but it might be worth a credit. The narrator could make or break it. This narrator did a good job, not spectacular but good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

An excellent companion to Shibumi!

Don Winslow is an awesome writer. He continues the story of Nicholai Hel in "Satori." Trevanian's novel "Shibumi" is a classic and that is due in part to the character of Nicholai Hel. Nicholai is a master assassin with a gift for languages and a passion for the game of go. Oh, by the way he is also the ultimate lover. I enjoyed "Shibumi" so much that I was really afraid to listen to "Satori." I took the chance and listened to "Satori" with the same pleasure that I got from listening to "Shimbumi." This is a great audiobook complemented by Holter Graham's narration. Awesome audio book...definitely a 5 star!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Out of His League!

So unlike his previous work, I had the feeling Winslow "had always wanted to try political intrigue" as his motivation for this dog. It drones on interminably from cliché to cliché, never really building any suspense and it's protagonist is paper thin and not really very likable. By the time I gave up on the book (which I rarely do) I was hoping someone would just shoot the bastard.
About mid way through we are taken to a climactic moment that just begged for some imaginative escape or twist and we are offered a solution so implausible and uninspired that I thought the thing was over with, but sadly we had only reached the end of the first download.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful