The Ultimatum

The Guardian, Book 1
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Series: The Guardian, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (587 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    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.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow! Just Wow!

Wow, just wow!! This is my first ever Karen Robards book and it will not be the last, I have already preordered the next book in the Guardian Series.

Bianca St. Ives runs a successful security firm publicly, privately, she is part of her father’s team of thieves. Her father is one of the best he is impossible to be caught or killed until one of their operations involving two hundred million dollars in a secret safe beneath the palace of an Arabic prince, Bianca discovers the money is gone. They have been played, from there, anything that can go wrong goes wrong, the palace guard catches up with her before she can make an escape. However when she does make her escape she is just in time to witness her father blow up in the getaway vehicle. The US Government doesn’t believe her father is really dead so they con her into doing another job for them in the hopes that she will lead them to her father or that he will appear.

Bianca! I absolutely loved this character, she has been trained from a young age how to disguise herself, fight, break into anything, charm people, to get out quickly and she is smart. To her this is the way of life with rules in place for a reason, as the story unfolds, she learns a lot of new truths that she has to deal with.

I couldn’t stop listening to this book, it was action packed and kept me wanting for more. This book was the perfect blend of Oceans Eleven and Mission Impossible, with a female lead. Karen Robards did an amazing job with this book, I am looking forward to reading other books by her. I found that the book might have been a little too detailed but at the same time, I love that she hasn’t left you wondering how that just happened. The book ends with a cliffhanger but it did not leave me with unanswered questions. If this book wasn’t a part of a series I would have been happy with the ending. The only question I have is what’s next for Bianca?

The narration of this book has been brilliantly done by Julia Whelan, switching between characters you could clearly hear a distinction. I could listen to her voice all day she conveyed urgency and suspense you could feel the emotion that has been described in this story. I don’t really have the words to describe Julia Whelan’s narration it was THAT good. Even with all the extra detail in this book that would normally annoy me Julia made me keep listening. I really hope that Julia gets to narrate the rest of the books in this series.

The production of this audiobook was excellent.

I would recommend this book to anybody that enjoys this genre, young or old and especially females.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

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4 people found this helpful

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holy moly! can't wait for the next one!!

ok I like Karen robards a lot, but I could not have loved the characters in this book more!! kick ass female, great male characters, tons of action and talk about suspense! just awesome! one of the best I've listened to in a while. and Julie Whelan does a great job!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Story was good.... I wasn’t crazy about the whole “Forcing a woman to be sexually aroused” theme though.

This story was pretty damn good. I liked the main character as well as the supporting characters. I did NOT like the scenes with “Mickey” where Bianca loses all of her wits because she’s attracted to a man who forces kisses,etc. onto her. It’s 2019, please, please please drop the assumption that if a guy can just force a woman to kiss him and grope her a bit, she will become willing because won’t be able to control her sexual attraction to him. That is pure bullshit and it’s insulting. The story would’ve been just as good (possibly better) without those scenes.
I’m going to give the sequel a try..... hopefully they will either make Mickey a real love interest or drop him since the unanswered questions are enough to carry the story alone.

1 person found this helpful

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I Hate Cliffhangers

I bought this a while back and forgot about it--then started to listen a few days ago. Just finished and said to myself what a way to end it; started looking on the website and see that it was the first book in a series (didn't realize it at first in a series). I am glad and am getting ready to purchase the next two to see how it ends.

Love, Love, Love Julia Whelan's performance--she makes it even better,

Karen Robards, you write Great stories!!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

I loved this as impossible as it was, great story and very exciting. Just about the best part is Julia whelan as the narrator, I can listen to anything she narrates. Love her

1 person found this helpful

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Cliffhanger

The ending was abrupt and ruined the whole experience. Sorry I even started it. Wasted time on this listen.

5 people found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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Fun New Series

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

1 person found this helpful