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I Am Pilgrim

Average Rating 4.5
( 79 )
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5 Star

(62)

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(11)

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(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's

I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's filled with everything I love about thrillers - great characters, a frightening scenario, the slow and unrelenting build of suspense, and a deeply layered story.

Pilgrim is brilliant but so is Saracen, the...
I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's filled with everything I love about thrillers - great characters, a frightening scenario, the slow and unrelenting build of suspense, and a deeply layered story.

Pilgrim is brilliant but so is Saracen, the person he is trying to track down to avoid a disaster of epic proportions. Watching Pilgrim's mind work is a real joy. He's clever and inventive. He is the first to admit to his shortcomings. He does make mistakes. He's not omniscient, but when it comes to investigating he has no peer. He puts things together is ways that are remarkable yet explainable (and are explained). This adds a great deal of depth and veracity to the novel. We get to see how Pilgrim thinks. He also works hard. He hunts down clues. He's a man of action when necessary.

The Saracen is also very intelligent. His life history is slowly shown to the reader throughout the novel. The reader is privy to why he's become single-minded in his quest to bring down the United States. The Saracen is very, very patient. He is one man, more or less off the grid, planning unimaginable destruction. The plan he eventually concocts appears frighteningly real which heightens the intensity of the novel.

In addition to trying to stop the Saracen, Pilgrim is also figuring out a couple of murders that are unrelated to the Saracen plot. I enjoyed this part of the story as well because it gave me additional opportunities to see Pilgrim in action and see how his mind works.

I Am Pilgrim is a beautifully written novel with excellent pacing, wonderful twists and turns and plenty of action. The story not only switches back and forth between Pilgrim and Saracen, but there are flashbacks to Pilgrim's past. The reader gets to learn quite a bit about Pilgrim's life and who he is. Hayes handles this back and forth and the shifting story lines skillfully. There is a very strong cast of well-developed supporting characters who help or hinder Pilgrim in various ways.

I Am Pilgrim is a nail-biter. Even after 600+ pages I was disappointed that the novel ended. I wanted keep reading about Pilgrim and to be in his mind a bit more. If you enjoy well-crafted, exciting espionage thrillers this is an absolute must read.

posted by Qwillery on June 5, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

This is not a great book, and the multiple positive reviews are

This is not a great book, and the multiple positive reviews are out of line with the actual material. May be with a decent editor, it might have been average, but as it is, it's a mess. There are factual errors that should have been corrected - for example, on 9/11, th...
This is not a great book, and the multiple positive reviews are out of line with the actual material. May be with a decent editor, it might have been average, but as it is, it's a mess. There are factual errors that should have been corrected - for example, on 9/11, the bridges to NY did NOT reopen that night for inbound traffic, that took a week. Another glaring error is that the lead baddie starts the book with 2 sisters, but by part 4, has a sister and a brother - which is it? A good editor, or even a mediocre one, would have spotted that incongruity. Then there is the ludicrous chase inside a boat yard, where the lead "good" guy has to jump an 18 foot gap from roof to roof - very specific, hardly believable - but once he narrowly grabs on to the arrival roof, suddenly STILL has a remote control device in his hand. Really? How did that grabbing leap happen, does he have a secret third hand? There is also a strange view of women - a female character is judged as smarter than she appears because she has simple observations to report - but because she wears makeup and stillettos, she was judged dumb. This 1950s view of women is really startingly jarring with reality, again, even a dumb editor would have noticed. This poor book has too many strange coincidences, too many things tied together, that it breaks any thread of reality. It is also full of chase and fighting scenes that are made for a film, but just drag the book down by the waste of time reading them, they go nowhere. It is also strange that, like so many superheroes, the lead character has to have limitless wealth, oh come on now. Then, in part 3, we are treated to the oddball character that poor filmmakers, those with no imagination just greed, love - the disaffected man of music who is frankly abused by the lead "good' guy, then they become best buds. The lame plotline destroys the book, because there is no tension once this annoying little vignette is wrapped up with what the music man does on NPR years later. Oh, so the world does NOT end, and NPR is still going strong after the supposed viral apocalypse? Gee, thanks for the After School Special wrap up, but we see there are still 100 pages to go. Forget about any real suspense, becaurse the odd ball has a future, the book does NOT. Really, really disappointing on SO many levels. Clearly, this is a film script that was rightly rejected, and is a terrible book because it insults the intelligence of the reader. If you want to see how a thriller should NOT be written, if you want to see examples of gender and ethnic discrimination, if you want to see how a book fails to sustain its most important plotlines, then read this one. Otherwise, skip it and be glad that you did not waste your time on a poorly written, unedited mess.

posted by TiredofGarbage on July 27, 2014

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  • Posted June 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's

    I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's filled with everything I love about thrillers - great characters, a frightening scenario, the slow and unrelenting build of suspense, and a deeply layered story.

    Pilgrim is brilliant but so is Saracen, the person he is trying to track down to avoid a disaster of epic proportions. Watching Pilgrim's mind work is a real joy. He's clever and inventive. He is the first to admit to his shortcomings. He does make mistakes. He's not omniscient, but when it comes to investigating he has no peer. He puts things together is ways that are remarkable yet explainable (and are explained). This adds a great deal of depth and veracity to the novel. We get to see how Pilgrim thinks. He also works hard. He hunts down clues. He's a man of action when necessary.

    The Saracen is also very intelligent. His life history is slowly shown to the reader throughout the novel. The reader is privy to why he's become single-minded in his quest to bring down the United States. The Saracen is very, very patient. He is one man, more or less off the grid, planning unimaginable destruction. The plan he eventually concocts appears frighteningly real which heightens the intensity of the novel.

    In addition to trying to stop the Saracen, Pilgrim is also figuring out a couple of murders that are unrelated to the Saracen plot. I enjoyed this part of the story as well because it gave me additional opportunities to see Pilgrim in action and see how his mind works.

    I Am Pilgrim is a beautifully written novel with excellent pacing, wonderful twists and turns and plenty of action. The story not only switches back and forth between Pilgrim and Saracen, but there are flashbacks to Pilgrim's past. The reader gets to learn quite a bit about Pilgrim's life and who he is. Hayes handles this back and forth and the shifting story lines skillfully. There is a very strong cast of well-developed supporting characters who help or hinder Pilgrim in various ways.

    I Am Pilgrim is a nail-biter. Even after 600+ pages I was disappointed that the novel ended. I wanted keep reading about Pilgrim and to be in his mind a bit more. If you enjoy well-crafted, exciting espionage thrillers this is an absolute must read.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Unbelievable novel.  If you like Ludlum or early Tom Clancy - yo

    Unbelievable novel.  If you like Ludlum or early Tom Clancy - you have found a new author to follow.   I recommend you purchase this book and take a couple days off to read it.  An astounding read and one of the best.  Exceptional work and I cannot wait  for the author's next novel!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Must read

    I have never written a review until i read this book. Must have!! Finally a real novel with depth. No skipping of pages like i have done with baldacci, cussler, and even clancy. I will be buying his next book as soon as it comes out.

    Kris

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2014

    This is not a great book, and the multiple positive reviews are

    This is not a great book, and the multiple positive reviews are out of line with the actual material. May be with a decent editor, it might have been average, but as it is, it's a mess. There are factual errors that should have been corrected - for example, on 9/11, the bridges to NY did NOT reopen that night for inbound traffic, that took a week. Another glaring error is that the lead baddie starts the book with 2 sisters, but by part 4, has a sister and a brother - which is it? A good editor, or even a mediocre one, would have spotted that incongruity. Then there is the ludicrous chase inside a boat yard, where the lead "good" guy has to jump an 18 foot gap from roof to roof - very specific, hardly believable - but once he narrowly grabs on to the arrival roof, suddenly STILL has a remote control device in his hand. Really? How did that grabbing leap happen, does he have a secret third hand? There is also a strange view of women - a female character is judged as smarter than she appears because she has simple observations to report - but because she wears makeup and stillettos, she was judged dumb. This 1950s view of women is really startingly jarring with reality, again, even a dumb editor would have noticed. This poor book has too many strange coincidences, too many things tied together, that it breaks any thread of reality. It is also full of chase and fighting scenes that are made for a film, but just drag the book down by the waste of time reading them, they go nowhere. It is also strange that, like so many superheroes, the lead character has to have limitless wealth, oh come on now. Then, in part 3, we are treated to the oddball character that poor filmmakers, those with no imagination just greed, love - the disaffected man of music who is frankly abused by the lead "good' guy, then they become best buds. The lame plotline destroys the book, because there is no tension once this annoying little vignette is wrapped up with what the music man does on NPR years later. Oh, so the world does NOT end, and NPR is still going strong after the supposed viral apocalypse? Gee, thanks for the After School Special wrap up, but we see there are still 100 pages to go. Forget about any real suspense, becaurse the odd ball has a future, the book does NOT. Really, really disappointing on SO many levels. Clearly, this is a film script that was rightly rejected, and is a terrible book because it insults the intelligence of the reader. If you want to see how a thriller should NOT be written, if you want to see examples of gender and ethnic discrimination, if you want to see how a book fails to sustain its most important plotlines, then read this one. Otherwise, skip it and be glad that you did not waste your time on a poorly written, unedited mess.

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Excellent read!

    I tried to make this book last but I could not stop reading it; will recommend to everyone and look foward to other books by this new author

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Wonderful!

    I have never written a book review before. I read over 300 books a year. This is the best book I have ever read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    I haven't read a page-turner this gripping for a long time. I n

    I haven't read a page-turner this gripping for a long time. I neglected other priorities, stayed up past my usual bed time and read over lunch at work a couple days in a row just to find out what would happen next. Great read! There are lots of specifics about the book I really liked, but those would be spoilers. So, just pick up a copy and enjoy the ride.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    I read a lot of books. So I have gotten a little picky over the

    I read a lot of books. So I have gotten a little picky over the years. So when I find a book that is pretty remarkable, I have to say something about it. Especially when it is a first novel.
    I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is such a book. Oh My Gosh! I remember seeing this book in an airport bookstore in Denver a couple months ago. The cover wasn't spectacular but for some reason I picked it up and read the blurbs and the synopsis and filed it away in the "to be read" box in my head.
    Fast forward to a week ago. I am in my little local library just seeing if there is anything new that would keep me busy and I noticed in the large print new releases, I Am Pilgrim. My memory kicked in and I remembered that I had wanted to give it a try. Large print didn't bother me, my eyes probably need it.
    So, I took it home. I was in the middle of reading another favorite author, Terry Brooks, but right before bed I picked up Pilgrim and read the first page. And the second, and the third and realized very quickly that I had found something special.
    It is a rare thing for this to happen. For me, only a handful of times. The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, a very little known book by Martin Davies titled, The Conjurer's Bird, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
    Now, I add Mr. Hayes to the list. There is a depth to this book that rises it above most thrillers. A book I will actually remember as opposed to many that are just so much fluff. James Patterson comes to mind. There are some great thriller authors out there, Ben Coes, Marc Cameron, the late Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Matthew Dunn, Daniel Silva, Richard Doetsch, Greg Rucka. I read everything that is produced by these fine authors, but the only one that comes close to Hayes is Silva.Pilgrim begins with a brutal murder scene in New York City, a emotionally and physically wounded homicide detective and a brilliant investigator who has no name. From this beginning we learn all about this man, what he has done and where he has been. The action ranges from the dark days of 9/11 to the corridors of power in Washington DC, a farmhouse in North Dakota and to the mountains of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan as well as a city square and a beheading in Saudi Arabia which leads to a birth of a new kind of terrorist that will be hunted to prevent the deaths of millions of people.
    Hayes brilliantly weaves the histories and locales of all of these disparate entities into a novel that at times you long to put down, but can't. Watching the matching of wits between the Pilgrim and the Saracen is a thing to behold.
    This book and Mr. Hayes are the real deal. I am ready for the next one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    An Excellent Debut Novel

    Terry Hayes is a well known screenwriter and this is his first novel. And what a debut. The Pilgrim (a name adopted by our hero in the book) has “retired” from a super secret department of intelligence known only as The Division. The Division was disbanded after 9/11 and this man of many names is living in Paris when a series of events causes him to return to the U.S. to protect his former identity. While in NY, he is observing the investigation of a murder in lower Manhattan. He quickly realizes that the murder is somehow tied to a book he authored under a pen name dealing with modern investigative techniques. Among the forensic evidence is a charred piece of paper with a set of numbers that don’t make any sense. And the murder is somehow connected to the main threat posed by the other main character in the book, code named the Saracen, which means Arab, or a Muslim who fights Christians, or simply, nomad. His formation begins watching his father executed in Saudi Arabia and progresses through the Afghan-Russian war to current post-9/11 terrorism. The Saracen has devised a massive bio-terrorism threat, and the development of this thread is detailed and disturbing. When the threat is recognized by the government, the Pilgrim is recruited back into service. He is not the perfect hero, and there are many twists and turns that will get your pulse beating rapidly. Despite being over 600 pages, the development of the story does not pause, coming to a heart pounding conclusion, and of course, the possibility of a sequel (although I would not bet my life on it). Don’t miss this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Very entertaining. Great Vacation Read

    I loved this book. The writing was a bit trite at times. The wry comments made by the main character at the end of almost every chapter got a bit old. However, the book was very suspenseful with lots of twists and turns. It also took you across several countries investigating a crime (and a potential major crisis). I love the international flavor of the book. Overall - I highly recommend it as a vacation or weekend read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Couldn't put this book down -- storytelling at its best!

    Couldn't put this book down -- storytelling at its best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Best book that I have read in 2014 so far and I read a lot of bo

    Best book that I have read in 2014 so far and I read a lot of books including serious fiction.  So so so good.  I've been telling everyone about this book.  I can't  for the author's next book!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Anonymous

    This is one of the best most thorougb books i have ever read,it rates up there with steven king in the details.I cant wait for the next one

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Awesome

    I liked the synopsis when this book popped on my list of recommendation and I preordered it knowing that is not a quick read. What an awesome and fascinating book, well researched and mesmerizing. Before long the pages flew and I was left wanting more. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    Great read!!! This is an exceptional book. I haven't read a spy

    Great read!!! This is an exceptional book. I haven't read a spy thriller in years. I'm not even sure why I picked it. But boy am I glad I did. All of the characters are finely drawn. This is a complicated, deep plot. But the writing is so good that it just carries you along. I couldn't put it down. And I had a knitting project I needed to get done. Didn't matter. The knitting had to wait. I'm recommending this book to,everyone I know. Can't wait for Terry Hayes' next book. I wish I could tell him personally how much I enjoyed his first book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Couldn't Put it Down!

    This book was suspenseful, thrilling and thought-provoking. Truly a book you won't be able to put down. Great read, and a real page-turner that kept me up past bedtime because I had to read just a little more. With Ebola in the news, this is thought-provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    Page turner

    Chilling. Unbelievable that this is hisfirst novel. Can't wait for more

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2014

    I can't wait for his next book.

    At first I sort of groaned, another 9/11-based book, really? But he did such an amazing job on creating realistic characters, visual scenarios, action and suspense...that I quickly got hooked into the story line. I could easily see this as a movie; it also helps to provide a perspective into why and how religious militants are formed and what motivates them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2014

    A must read

    This was the best book i have read. I highly recommend it. The character and plot development are outstanding. The story is told masterfully. I did not want the book to end. I will be looking forward to Terry Hayes' next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Five Stars, as much for this book as this author's next

    My guilty pleasure are thrillers. This one had a few too many plots. Also, the main character's internal dialogue was a bit incongruent with his behavior and ability - even though both were well drawn. The two critiicizms (and I suppose I could find more) are dwarfed by the writers story telling ability and innovative plot. Although one hopes that the bad guys aren't readers. In short, I will look forward to this author's next novel and the one after that.

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