Read The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum Online


Nobel laureate, international financier, and philanthropist Peter Novak-a billionaire who has committed his life and fortune to fostering democracy around the world through his Liberty Foundation-has been kidnapped. The terrorist known as The Caliph is holding Novak in a near-impenetrable fortress and has refused to negotiate for his release, planning instead to brutally eNobel laureate, international financier, and philanthropist Peter Novak-a billionaire who has committed his life and fortune to fostering democracy around the world through his Liberty Foundation-has been kidnapped. The terrorist known as The Caliph is holding Novak in a near-impenetrable fortress and has refused to negotiate for his release, planning instead to brutally execute his hostage in a matter of days...Running out of time and hope, Novak's people turn to a man with a long history of defeating impossible odds: Paul Janson-a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations. Janson sets in motion an ingenious rescue operation. But the operation goes horribly wrong and Janson is marked for death, the target of a "beyond salvage" order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own......

Title : The Janson Directive
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780752845951
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 524 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Janson Directive Reviews

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-04-22 04:51

    Robert Ludlum, while living or now that he is dead, never fails to astonish me. His works are just different from most of the suspense-thriller novels around. Ludlum books are like a certain kind of apparel brand whose owners and tailors seem to have me in mind whenever they design and produce their clothes. The Janson Directive was first published in 2002, a year after Robert Ludlum’s death. The question of whether he or some hired writers wrote this does not really matter. This book has the quality – size, color, texture and overall appeal – as the ones Robert Ludlum himself wrote when he was still alive. It tells the story of Paul Janson a former member of the Covert One, a secret US government agency that fights corruption, conspiracy and bioweaponary at the highest and most dangerous levels of society. Janson is already retired but he gets an assignment to pay an old debt: to rescue Peter Novak, a Nobel laureate billionaire, international financier and a philanthropist. Novak is in the hands of a militant organization called The Caliph and its members are geared up to kill him. However, just like in any other suspense thrillers, the rescue is not that easy. Janson becomes a target himself when the militant organization come to know about him. Surprisingly, that directive comes from the US Government after several of its top-ranking officials go on dying one after the other. It so happens that he is now the suspect of killing these government officials and so Janson has two issues to resolve: who twisted the truth and framed him up for the deaths and how to rescue Peter Novak.There is a twist in the end that I did not see coming. It is still realistic considering that there is a probability that it can happen no matter how remote it could be for some people.Like the earlier Robert Ludlum books I’ve read, the scenes are many edge-of-your-seat scenes that will keep you breathless as you turn the pages. There are no philosophical musings, metaphors and other literary gimmicks but the book is very readable, engrossing and entertaining. My quest is to read all the 501 and 1001 books but it is nice to have a breather like Robert Ludlum books just to while away the seriousness of the usual hi-brow literary masterpieces.Universal Pictures has been shooting the third Bourne movie here in the Philippines since a couple of months back. Next in line will be a movie adaptation of this book, The Janson Directive. So, all you Ludlum fans do read this book because in the next few years will be another Ludlum movie and it will be for this one. Hope they shoot it again here in the Philippines. and I hope they bring back Matt Damon to play Paul Janson.

  • ijeoma Agbaje
    2019-04-26 09:18

    i finished this catastrophe of a book.. too tired. Review to come laterMy thought at the end of this book was simply this:My only defense is this book actually started out really well, i read chapters 1-8 and i was thinking "oh shit this is going to be gooood." Alas this book turned out to be absolutely underwhelming, chock full of middle east stereotypes: starring your favorite recurring themes such as, westerners are evil "...the caliph was a leader in the struggle against the corruption of the West, the brutality and depredation of a global order the West imagined to be 'natural'. He prayed that his every choice, his every act would move his country closer to the day when its people would rejoin the ummah, the people of islam and he would be their rightly guided Caliph in more than name" Martyrdom: "you or your followers may die tonight, the caliph had told the members of his command hours before. if so, your martyrdom will be remembered- always! Your children and your parents will be sanctified by their connection to you..."Attending Univeristy in America just so said "terrorist" can be convinced on how trash they are and further cement his belief that they should be killed (phew that was a long one): he had spent 2 years obtaining a graduate degree in engineering from the University of Maryland, in College Park. he had been he liked to say, in the heart of Darkness...When the 24 year old graduate student returned to his native land , it was with an even greater sense of urgency. Injustice prolonged was injustice magnified. And he could not say it enough-the only solution to violence was more violencesanctifying the land of infidels: The blood of the infidel will indeed flow the caliph said...These palms will brim with Peter Novak's blood" Anyways you get the gist.Somehow muslims don't get to have starring roles in books except they want to blow up someone (preferably American), hate democracy (i swear if i hear the word Westerners or the west again i might scream)and whatever negative thing you can think of.and filled with everyone hates America lines: "You, Americans have never been able to wrap your minds around anti-Americanism. You so want to be loved that you cannot understand why there is so little love for you" ...You Americans think you know-nothing is what you know. Americans live in big house, but termites eat at foundationsMehn it was soooo freaking tiring.. Also not really a big red flag but i was kinda upset that UN Secretary General was referred to as West African?? What in the hell does West African mean sef? Is there some sort of defining feature for West Africans? Was West Africa a country?? I really wouldn't have taken offence but the author says here "Zinsou uttered a sentense in the complex tonal language of Fon spoken by his father's people. Zinsou pere had been a descendant of the royal court of Dahomey, once a significant West African empire" so obviously dude has a country which is present day Benin Republic by the way. Also Dahomey has ceased to exist first as a kingdom around 1904 then as a republic in 1975 when it was renamed Benin Republic, Let's say calling him West African isn't even a big deal, was it freaking hard to use the name of his country?This book isn't worth it really.. Read at your own risk.

  • Abram(Aegus)
    2019-05-10 09:14

    I randomly purchased this book in amazon and when I started reading it , I just couldn't stop. A well Narrated Spy novel by Robert Ludlum. Fast paced<>twisty<>and heck of a suspense

  • Joseph
    2019-04-28 05:16

    Just like Robert Ludlum's 'Bourne' series and Lee Child's 'Reacher' books, you WANT to believe there is someone that kickass out there... We all know there isn't. So, as long as you take it as seriously as the 'Die Hard' movies they are excellent books. In this story, the worlds greatest philanthropist, billionaire and all round good guy is kidnapped by terrorists. No ransom is demanded they just want to execute him. Novak's people call in the one man killing machine Paul Janson. Janson puts together a rescue plan so brilliant you know it's already gone wrong! Now, just in case you have any reservations as to how good he is, everyone blames him and the big Janson hunt is on. Can Paul Janson beat the odds and avoid everyone gunning for him and save the world from tyranny? You better believe it! Enjoyable from the beginning to the end. 4.5 Stars.

  • Teresa
    2019-05-18 10:12

    America secretly tries to influence the course of world history whilst appearing to stay at arms length but it all goes horrible wrong and eventually they have to rely on an ex super spy to save the day when their puppet decides he wants to control the strings himself. So utterly predictable I only kept on reading to see how dreadful it could get. In that respect it didn't disappoint it just kept on getting worse and worse. Also I kept really irritated by glaring errors that a minimum of research could have avoided, there are no English £100 notes, Scottish ones exists but any one trying to give one to a London cabbie isn't going to be welcomed with enthusiasm

  • Alexw
    2019-04-27 10:13

    Good action paced novel- just what you would expect from Ludlum- many plot changes that I didn't see coming so was enjoyable. If I was directing the movie abut the book would cast Bruce Willis as the aging hero and Kate Blanchett as the love interest.

  • Colin
    2019-05-04 09:03

    This was my first Robert Ludlum book, although I had heard the name over the years, and read a few reviews of his books. As I had a whole English pound coin burning a hole in my pocket I tried this one. Some familiar ground to start off with, a terrorist preparing to do something horrid and killing one or two sentries and border guards in preparation. The horrid thing was the abduction of a man who, along with being rich beyond our wildest dreams uses his money and influence for the good of his fellow man, that fellow man usually being the resident of a poor country ruled by unstable regimes who have the added bonus qualities of corruption, repression and being good customers of arms manufacturers. The kidnap happens, and the main character of the book, Paul Janson, is employed/unleashed to get him back. Janson manages this, with more familiar events like explosions, killing people with bare hands and gets him safely to the escape helicopter. This is where we get the first twist to the story (just before I was about to despatch the book to the ‘ho hum’ shelf, next stop charity shop) and the escape helicopter blows up in mid-air. Janson is, understandably, a bit put out about this and even more perturbed when he is identified as the main suspect in the murder of the millionaire saint. This is because a huge wodge of money has been deposited into his bank account, at almost the exact time the helicopter, and the victim, was no more. Janson is then pursued, shot at, and generally made to feel unpopular by people unleashed by...tell the truth I don’t remember who and I wasn’t going back into a 500 plus page book to figure it out, but while he is dealing with these people with ruthless efficiency Janson twigs that the millionaire benefactor might not be dead after all and could have, to say the least, feet of clay. There are a couple of back stories going on, Janson is a Vietnam vet who had a mentor – a commanding officer who taught him all he knows, and this is quite a lot, before he went bad and ever so slightly barking mad (think Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now but with more people skills) – and a relationship that Janson forms with, er, one of the snipers who tried unsuccessfully to terminate him with extreme prejudice. The story is about who the millionaire is, and why he does what he does – and for all of the usual stuff you will have seen and read before, it is pretty good, with more twists along the way, and neatly tied up at the end. As I mentioned earlier, it was a bit long for me, and probably my only real criticism might be the number of conversations and exchanges where we are reminded what a fantastic guy Janson is – yes we get it, he’s a hero and he’s American – move on! But still well worth a read, and I will look for some more by the author – checking how many pages there are first of course.

  • Alexandra Bogdanovic
    2019-05-15 11:02

    I have no words to express my disappointment or explain how truly horrible this book is. Having said that, the phrase, "what a load of rubbish" sums it up rather nicely. It starts off with so much promise, but quickly dissolves into the type of anti-American rhetoric frequently promulgated by those on the left side of the political spectrum at home and abroad. Don't get me wrong -- of course America is not perfect and of course it can and should be criticized. Just not this way. It is an insult to my intelligence -- and while I am not necessarily the smartest girl in the room, I am certainly smart enough to recognize a bunch of rot and drivel when I see it. The writing itself is incredibly formulaic -- a Serb as a secondary villain? Now that's original and creative. The "hero" is a self-righteous hypocrite. To buy into the plot requires a complete suspension of disbelief -- and to buy into any praise for Ludlum books outside of the Bourne series requires utter stupidity. Don't waste your time.

  • Ferne
    2019-04-25 06:14

    Oh my! It has seemed to take me 'forever' to read this novel. I always thought of Robert Ludlum as a writer of suspense and thrillers. In the midst of reading this book, I did something I have never done before. I came back to the Goodreads web site to read the reviews of others. As I learned that this novel was an unfinished work at the time of Ludlum's death on 12-Mar-2001, my suspicions were confirmed. I know that an adult should rarely use the word 'never' in their vocabulary so I do not state this lightly, "I will never read another Robert Ludlum title with a publication date after his death." This tedious experience of one was enough. For more details, see

  • Ron Holmes
    2019-04-20 06:01

    This is the first book in the series and the second Robert Ludlum book I have read. Robert Ludlum was a great writer with great attention to detail. This book is full of many twists and turns and fortunately for Janson he is able to navigate through it all. Of course, there was not enough sex, but Janson is getting up there in years.

  • jenniferharris
    2019-04-20 09:51

    Another great Ludlum book of intrigueI like intrigue, and the twists and turns kept me glued. This story will not fail you. If you have read his other books, read this one too,

  • Jason Sta. Maria
    2019-05-02 04:14

    It was a bit common story. But anyway I can still say it was good enough atleast.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-17 09:04

    It was very good many twists & turns. The main theme of it all eventually is revealed, being something completely hard to grasp but something only a select few will truly know!

  • BlackKat
    2019-05-18 09:20

    Robert Ludlum, c’est une vieille histoire d’amour que j’avais envie d’exhumer pour remettre ce fabuleux auteur au goût du jour et relire ses romans avec un œil différent, peut-être plus « mature » que lors des lectures originelles.La Directive Janson est un ouvrage posthume et le premier d’une série autour du personnage de Paul Janson (Paul Garrison, alias de Justin Scott, ayant repris le flambeau pour les deux suivants et Douglas Corleone pour le quatrième tome).Paul Janson s’est retiré des affaires, a déposé les armes, il est dans le privé maintenant, en qualité de consultant en sécurité pour toutes sortes de sociétés. C’est un ancien des Opérations Consulaires mais c’est à croire que travailler pour les agences aux acronymes bien connus des États-Unis vous colle à la peau toute votre vie!En effet, il se retrouve accusé ni plus ni moins d’avoir assassiné Peter Novak, philanthrope multimillionnaire et prix Nobel de la paix.Il va devoir défendre sa vie mais également élucider ce meurtre qui dissimule un complot qui risque d’ébranler le monde entier…Aaahhh l’espionnage, les complots, les politiques, les vitrines officielles des agences nationales de sécurité mais aussi et surtout, les non-officielles. Les milieux nébuleux dans lesquels l’eau est trouble et profonde, dans lesquels les allégeances changent au gré des courants et où la stratégie se décident dans les bureaux mais est chamboulée quand elle se frotte aux impondérables de la réalité… Des sujets sur lesquels l’encre peut couler à flots à l’infini tant l’esprit humain allié au pouvoir n’en finit pas de créer des monstres…Et à trop jouer à l’apprenti sorcier, il ne faut pas s’étonner que les marionnettes décident un jour de se rebeller et de couper les liens qui les agitent. Et là, la situation devient incontrôlable…Et c’est la vie de tous qui est en jeu quand les pions décident de prendre le contrôle!J’ai adoré cette histoire. J’adore la géopolitique, il faut dire. C’est le théâtre de l’ombre. Elle est le reflet des plus grandes intelligences comme des plus gros travers de l’être humain. C’est un bras de fer plus ou moins diplomatique entre les puissances dominantes mais qui ne peuvent s’asseoir qu’avec l’appui des plus modestes mais non moins ambitieuses. Elle est la scènes des plus gros trafics planétaires qui soient, d’influence, d’armes, financiers et bien évidemment, politiques.Quelques auteurs sont les rois de la géopolitique comme l’incontournable John le Carré, Robert Littell, Joseph Kanon ou un Philip Kerr ou Percy Kemp et, à mon sens, Robert Ludlum a largement sa place dans le panthéon de ces plumes!Et ses romans sont des pavés dans la marre des naïfs du journal télévisé et des candides de la politique.Le personnage de Paul Janson est très classique dans le style James Bond. capable de briller en costume cravate comme avec une arme à la main, et bien entendu de faire succomber une jeunette de la moitié de son âge. Classique mais toujours savoureux dans un rythme relativement nerveux pour ne pas décrocher en cours de route, malgré quelques longueurs. L’action s’équilibre très bien avec l’exploration des méandres de l’espionnage de tout poil.J’ai apprécié également les flash backs sur la guerre du Vietnam et l’analyse psychologique de Janson et de son mentor. Le passé sombre et sanglant de ces personnages est évoqué pour expliquer les crises de conscience de Janson et les raisons de son départ de la CIA mais ôte pour le coup un peu de suspens dans le principal retournement de situation du roman.Une relecture très agréable et vous savez quoi? La guerre froide est terminée depuis longtemps mais le monde de l’espionnage a encore de « beaux » jours devant lui!

  • VaultOfBooks
    2019-05-05 09:01

    By Robert Ludlum. Grade: AThe author of 37 novels, Robert Ludlum has been one of the busiest authors in literary circles. The Janson Directive is one of those 5 novels which were credited to Robert Ludlum and published posthumously.The spy game cost Paul Janson everything that was most important to him, so it would take a lot to lure him back into it. But there is one person to whom Janson owes a huge debt- and he’s calling in his marker. Peter Novak has been kidnapped and faces execution at the hands of terrorist extremists. Janson leads a team to extricate him- but something goes horribly wrong and Janson is the only survivor. It appears that the operation had been compromised from the start and the intelligence services are convinced that Janson is responsible. If he is to survive, he must unravel the truth about Novak. But something serious is about to happen- something which threatens the course of history itself.The plot begins in a small island of Anura in the Indian Ocean where a group of extremists have taken over the island with a very important hostage, Peter Novak. Peter Novak is the head of Liberty Foundation, a non-governmental trust working for world peace and democracy. But what makes it complicated is that no government is in a position to come forward and take up negotiations for the release of Peter Novak. The question is- who will come forward and do the task which nobody is willing to.The answer lays in the protagonist Paul Janson, a man who has left behind a past full of demons for a life which is far away from it. But he still wages a battle with his inner demons every single second of his existence. Once a decorated Consular Operations operative (for hardcore R.L. fans, Cons Ops seems to be coming up again and again), the man has put his past behind him for good. He now works as a security consultant and as expected, has created ripples in this world as well. Then one fine day he is approached by an associate of Peter Novak, the man who has been held hostage by the extremists in Anura. The catch is that Paul Janson owes a very heavy debt of honour to this gentleman called Peter Novak. Despite all the qualms he has about his past misgivings, he decides to take up this task to repay the one debt he has from his past. He gets together a team of highly skilled operatives each and every one of whom he has known for and since a long time and pursues this really perilous and near fatal mission. As expected, he is successful in extracting the hostage against all odds. But what follows baffles the minds of both the protagonist and the readers alike.Paul Janson witnesses an explosion in the very craft he was supposed to be, an explosion which killed all of its passengers- Janson’s team and the hostages they had freed. This really makes no sense to him. He decides to get to the bottom of it and vows to unravel the truth about Peter Novak. Since he is the only survivor, it is but natural that the people in swivel chairs in plush, high offices of various countries blame him for this mishap. Paul Janson, henceforth, is declared a traitor and orders are given to kill him. Mysteriously, evidence crops up that frames Janson and the one person who could prove his innocence cannot be contacted. Hence begins a wild goose chase between Janson and his executioners (US enforcement agencies, that is). In the process, he finds a trustworthy companion in Jessie Kincaid, the crème-de-la-crème sniper from Cons Ops, who turns over to his side after learning his story and finding truth in it. Together they begin a quest for the simplest yet the most bizarre piece of this puzzle- truth. Janson’s quest takes them from the lanes of London and Washington D.C. to the streets of Amsterdam to an ancient village in Hungary. In this process, Janson learns the real deal behind this whole Peter Novak incident. And when he finds out the truth, it does what it does best- blows his mind away (and the readers’ too). The question now is- Will Janson be able to do something about it while trying to stay alive or will he fall prey to this diabolical and colossal conspiracy?There are certain things characteristic of the author we know as Robert Ludlum- fluid but slick writing style, involvement of a government agency (the black suit types), a larger-than-life yet unknown-to-all conspiracy, a hero who works against all odds no matter their nature or their enormity and many more. But with the name Robert Ludlum on the cover page of a book comes a promise. A promise of an edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting, tight, pacey, first-rate novel. The Janson Directive is no exception to that.There are certain sequences which need, rather demand special mention. The first of such would be the skydiving free fall sequence. An eight page sequence in a standard paperback edition, this is detailing at its best. The extent of reality one experiences while reading these eight pages is unbelievable. From the sheer thrill of the experience to the expression of the magnitude of responsibility on this exercise to the use of gadgets to the brilliant insight into the human angle, this particular sequence is on top of the table, if any such table exists. Another one would be the Janson v/s the sniper teams sequence in London. Every time the agent in Janson props up, Robert Ludlum gives some kind of an extra edge to his writing which in turn gives the readers a certain kick. It is safe to say that if you keep reading Robert Ludlum’s novels, you have a fair chance in the field yourself. One more thing which is noticeable is the pace of the plot. The first 450-odd pages are fast, the next 150 are simply furious. As soon as the suspense comes out, Robert Ludlum wastes absolutely no time shifting into top gear, making the pace almost breakneck.All-in-all, if you just have time to kill, DO NOT pick this novel up because the next day you will not be able to put it back down.Originally reviewed at :

  • Jo
    2019-05-15 10:01

    enjoyed this. fast thrillerWhen billionaire philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it's up to Paul Janson--a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations--to save him. But Janson's rescue operation goes horribly wrong...and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a "beyond salvage" order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own.

  • Luke Allen
    2019-05-11 12:13

    This one was long winded. The opening mission, especially, went on for far too long and, as with much of the rest of the book, it felt like the plot could've been rounded up much quicker. It also reads like a novel that was incomplete (it was only half written when Ludlum died) and it didn't have the same level of cheese that was in the Chancellor Manuscript, which, oddly, I missed. Still, the plot itself was interesting enough and a last act twist genuinely surprised me.

  • Raymond F. Klett
    2019-05-11 11:10

    Not Ludlum materialOnly two stars because it does not measure up to the level of a Ludlum book. The story idea was good but the Jansen character was weak at key points. Furthermore, there were useless flashbacks that did nothing to develop the charater. And at least one glaring error in timeline, where Novak refered to yesterday and the storyline established the 'yesterday' event was at least two days earlier.

  • Kay
    2019-05-07 09:52

    Fast-paced, often terrifying, with an evil man at the center and a twist to it all, this might have been up on my top shelf with the Bourne books, but it isn't because of the long-winded, turn back and go over stuff, make things as confusing for as long as possible. Paul Janson is superficial compared to Jason Bourne, though he means what he says, has a strong moral core, and is loyal. But ...

  • Scott
    2019-05-16 08:52

    Audible version. Great story, good narration, but the production was just ok. The little musical interludes seemed odd and out of place every time they were used. Enjoyed the character of Paul Janson, and his eventual partner, among others.

  • Marcus
    2019-05-15 10:15

    Book was good, but wasn't what I expected.

  • Jerry King
    2019-05-12 05:02


  • KateMoxie
    2019-05-14 06:57

    Interesting premise but insufferably drawn out.

  • David Malloy
    2019-04-28 03:57

    I enjoyed it. I think it's one of his better ones. Not as good as the Bourne books but close.

  • Don Preston
    2019-04-30 06:12

    Very good spy novel. Looking forward to the next in the series.

  • Mark Wesling
    2019-05-15 09:11

    Would give it 3 1/2 stars. Slow at times and too long overall. But there is a great story in there and lots of action. At 450 pages would have been 5 star!

  • Al
    2019-05-13 10:11

    When billionaire philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it’s up to Paul Janson—a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations—to save him. But Janson’s rescue operation goes horribly wrong…and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a "beyond salvage" order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own... Review Even after death, Robert Ludlum remains the master of the international spy caper, and whether this posthumously published new thriller was cobbled together by a real ghost or already completed before Ludlum died doesn't matter. All the trademarked Ludlum gifts of plotting, pacing, and suspense are on full display in this engrossing mystery about a former covert operative turned private security executive who's stranded, abandoned, and marked for murder by his old colleagues when he manages to survive an unsurvivable mission. Rescuing renowned philanthropist and statesman-without-portfolio Peter Novak from the clutches of the terrorist who murdered his wife and unborn child, Paul Janson watches, unbelieving, as the plane carrying Novak back to freedom explodes before his eyes. Soon after the first post-mission attempt on his life, Janson begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but Ludlum keeps the reader from seeing it whole until the last thrilling chapter. A page-turner that doesn't let up, this one will leave Ludlum's fans hoping there are more unpublished manuscripts where this one came from, a not unlikely possibility. --Jane Adams From Publishers Weekly Ludlum died in March 2001, but here he is again, back with yet another posthumous thriller. Such books rarely live up to the author's standards, but this one is different: it's vintage Ludlum-big, brawny and loaded with surprises. The hero is Paul Janson, a private security consultant who retired a few years ago after a notorious career as the U.S. government's go-to guy for nasty jobs no one else was willing to take. Against his better judgment, Janson accepts an assignment to rescue Peter Novak, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning philanthropist and international troubleshooter held captive by Islamic extremists on an island in the Indian Ocean. Janson pulls off the stunning rescue, but as they make their escape, Novak dies in a fiery explosion-or does he? Janson has his doubts; within hours, he finds himself targeted by separate groups of assassins for reasons that baffle him. As he zigzags his way across Europe, leaving piles of bodies at each stop, he begins to wonder who Novak really is. The answer he eventually discovers provides readers with one of Ludlum's most outrageous plot twists in years. Extremely engaging and agonizingly suspenseful, Ludlum's plot bolts from scene to scene and locale to locale-Hungary, Amsterdam, London, New York City-never settling for one bombshell when it can drop four or five. If this wild, unpredictable and colorfully cast novel is Ludlum's swan song (he supposedly left behind notes for several thrillers), it's a memorable one indeed.Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • Keith Willcock
    2019-05-12 09:19

    As usual Mr Ludlum wastes no time in getting down to action in this non stop thriller. Our hero Paul Janson has reluctantly accepted a mission to rescue a world famous philanthropist from the clutches of a radical terrorist group who has kidnapped him and sentenced him to a beheading in , shall we say 48 hours. Not much time to work but Ludlum is a master at packing everything into a microscope and blowing it up in the shortest order possible and so it is to be once again. Stretching his almost superhuman powers to the limit Paul, now approaching his golden years and consequently slipping a bit in his ability to wreck havoc and waste human lives in the name of what the West believes to be right and good he mounts an all out offensive and manages to rescue our philanthropist from the clutches of a decidedly nasty death at the hands of the bad guys.That should be enough for any normal writer. It should be the point where we yawn in a satisfied way, perhaps reach for a beer and take a nap before going on line to find the sequel. But Ludlum is no ordinary writer. For him more is always better and there is no loss of quality in what follows.The next 500 pages are made necessary by the fact that there is a small fly in the ointment of this perfect rescue. As the plane carrying philanthropist and, if we are to believe the tale we are being told, most of Paul's friends lifts off from same place near Indonesia there is a loud BANG! You guessed it. Everyone on the plane has been blown up. Another case for baggage inspections but too late this time.. Fortunately Paul has seen fit to remain alone in his rubber dingy and having mourned the lot of them for a minute of two he sets off to seek revenge. We are now led deeper and deeper into the murky world of government intrigue and dirty tricks.I am always amazed by the attention to detail in Ludlum's writing. Small things are noticed, described, included in the bigger picture. All serve to enhance the impression one has that Mr. Ludlum indeed knows whereof he speaks. The speed with which we are compelled to move over the terrain of our story can blind us at times to the sheer impossibility of the whole thing. Paul would need a traveling entourage of makeup artists, arms dealers and God knows what else just to keep him well dressed and with the appropriate guns readily at hand. But who wants to think about that. We're having too much fun. Here it's the tale that matters and it is told with a force, a conviction and a rhythm that keeps us on the edge of our seats at all times.I suppose each of us has a hero or heroine buried in our past, a figure who was larger than life and could win the battles with the grown ups that we as children could never hope to win. Our childhood fairy tales speak of that. Grimm tales some of them but they did serve to keep us going when the going was tough. Perhaps Ludlum's characters are just such figures.I always enjoy Ludlum's tongue in cheek criticism of the system, the selfishness of governments and big business mentalities who will stop at nothing to keep their holdings intact. Perhaps larger than life characters like Paul Janson teach us that we each have the power to rise above our limitations and to strike a blow for what we know to be right and good and if we fail, not to take our defeat too seriously because in the end life is just another thriller which draws to a close just when we are getting to the best part. Next installment please.

  • Anthony
    2019-05-20 08:13

    I have to admit... despite the other "Robert Ludlum" series that I have already read, I haven't actually read one of Robert Ludlum's original novels written before he had passed and other authors had taken over the various series. Now, I have finally taken the time to read this particular novel because it's his original before recently a second book with the same main character, Paul Janson, has been taken over by another author.I have read the Jason Bourne series, and the Covert-One (Lt. Col. Jon Smith) series created by Robert Ludlum. They're incredible books in my personal opinion. This "different" main character, Paul Janson, to me, comes from a different aspect. The character's coming out of retirement and is a "free agent" with no ties, but resources at his disposal. Other characters from other series came with strings attached, this one's different. Robert Ludlum, in the beginning, takes the time to develop a not-so clear picture of the main character, Paul Janson. Why bring him out of retirement?The novel was explained in such vivid detail of who Paul Janson was in the past as a soldier, and why he all of a sudden had a 180 degree change of heart to leave. And also partially why he was asked back into action. What he went through; who his heroes were; what he had become; and what made him leave. Paul's main mission with a horrid twist that left him re-questioning why was he brought back and what happened in the first place?It's not that rare that a plot from a thriller can capture my attention, but this one really did because instead of answering questions, it actually either added more layers to the problem and/or left-fielded me from what I thought was going to happen. Paul Janson has become more of a problem than a solution with what's been happening to him and just about anyone he reunites from his past. One moment, he's loved and listened to, next paragraph (if not the next sentence later), he's become the most hated and hunted man.Throughout the thriller, the plot just gets more complicated with what Paul Janson is going through with his current situation. The overall question throughout the plot... who's who and why was everything so massively gut-wrenching? Without giving it away... don't believe who ANY of the characters are at first readings. By the time that any of the questions get to get answered, it's still not resolved.The novel is very lengthy and detailed. Four parts in total. But once I was sucked in to the plot mentally, it had become pretty difficult to put down. There are other thrillers that I have read that have detailed and drawn out descriptions of past memories and historical moments, but I have to say, this thriller tops them all in keeping my interest.

  • AnonymousReaderPerson
    2019-04-30 05:20

    Reasons NOT to give this one four-stars...1) Paul Janson is an awesome protaganist. So awesome in fact that he makes James Bond look like an amateur in CONVENIENTLY FINDING WAYS TO FINAGLE OUT OF EVERY SINGLE JAM HE IS IN. He's damn near flawless. He could make a spaceship out of a rotted jack-o-lantern and a few pieces of scrap metal. Not to mention he knows everything about every single piece of technology that shows up in this story. Tony Stark could learn things from this guy. Yessir, Paul Janson is just shy of invincible. Which threatens to remove every shred of tension whenever it shows some promise. Eugh.2) There's a romance in this story that serves no purpose. It almost plays like, "There has to be at least one romance angle here, so here's where I'll insert it."3) There's just a bit TOO much action in this book. Firefights and explosions only play well when they aren't devalued by including them in (what seemed like) every single chapter. Plus, see #1...After the protag emerges alive from so many of these scenarios, the story isn't believable anymore.4) Ludlum uses some cheap ploys to facilitate twists. The old "viewpoint-character-knows-something-but-hides-it-from-the-reader" routine. I don't mind that now and again, and as an aspiring author, I've used it, too. But geez Louise, a little dab'll do ya'. When the exact content of certain conversations and memories are outright skipped (or in some cases, it's almost as if they're redacted), the reader feels cheated.5) Too much detail for the combat sequences. I felt like I needed to be a Navy SEAL to understand some of what was going on. On one hand, it's cool to lend it that authenticity, and since Ludlum was a Marine, you'd hope he includes some of those particulars. But he went a bit overboard with it.So why, why pray tell, would I overlook these elements in giving this one four stars? Because it's a cool frickin' story. I wanted to see what happened next. And at the end of the day, isn't that the most important thing?