The Book of Spies

( 41 )

Overview

For centuries, emperors, historians, and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible’s magnificent Library of Gold — a long-missing archive containing gold-covered, bejeweled books dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the highly secret book club that owns the Library of Gold. They form a cabal of the globe’s most powerful men – men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. When the CIA ...

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Overview

For centuries, emperors, historians, and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible’s magnificent Library of Gold — a long-missing archive containing gold-covered, bejeweled books dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the highly secret book club that owns the Library of Gold. They form a cabal of the globe’s most powerful men – men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. When the CIA discovers a connection between the legendary library and a bank account linked to terrorists, they turn to rare books curator Eva Blake for help. Soon an attempt is made on Eva’s life. Determined not only to survive but to uncover the truth, Eva turns to the only person she can trust—Judd Ryder, a former intelligence agent with his own agenda and a troubled past. Together, Judd and Eva embark on an international adventure from London to Rome, Istanbul, and Athens. Somehow they must do what no one else has been able to do – find the library and stay alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A legendary library, containing written works dating back to ancient Rome and Greece, forms the tantalizing background of this winning thriller from bestseller Lynds (The Last Spymaster). When The Book of Spies, one of the bejeweled volumes of the Library of Gold (a rare book archive people have sought for centuries) surfaces, the CIA links a terrorist plot with the library and a cabal of powerful men who have been its keepers. Rare-book expert Eva Blake and former intelligence agent Judd Ryder have personal reasons for joining in the hunt for the library. Eva, released from prison for vehicular manslaughter in the death of her husband, learns that her husband, an authority on the library, is alive. A sniper shot Judd's father, a CIA agent, soon after the father claimed to have learned important information from the library. These two complicated, appealing characters complement the satisfying, conspiracy-laden plot that smoothly moves throughout Europe at breakneck speed. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Lynds (The Coil: The Last Spymaster) is a master of the espionage thriller. In her latest, she deftly adopts the conventions of treasure-hunting novels to craft a thrilling, spy-laden, history-rich page-turner. Eva Blake, a rare-book conservator, is convicted of vehicular manslaughter in her husband's death, though she wasn't responsible. Meanwhile, the long-lost and historically significant Library of Gold appears on the radar of the CIA, somehow tied to dubious finances in the Middle East. Armed with The Book of Spies from the library's collection, the CIA springs Blake from prison to find the library. When Blake glimpses her husband alive, her world is shaken. What is the truth? The reach of the library is far and its director, powerful. Blake has backup, but the CIA has been infiltrated. Whom can she trust? Is her husband really alive? Is he the librarian? Do they find the library? What happens in the Middle East? This reviewer knows but is not revealing anything. VERDICT Two great tastes that taste great together. Readers of both espionage and artifact novels should be well sated but will crave subsequent escapades with these characters.—Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL
Publishers Weekly
Rare-book expert Eva Blake is pulled into a frantic search for the Library of Gold--a collection of illuminated manuscripts thought to be lost in the 15th century--and embroiled in a conspiracy that reaches to the mountains of Afghanistan. As in the novels of Robert Ludlum, with whom Lynds has collaborated, the pace is unrelenting and the villains unbelievably efficient and prescient. While the story is tense and exciting in some places, the protagonists are too thinly drawn to invite emotional investment. Still, Kate Reading wrings every last drop of drama from the story; she handles the characterizations exceedingly well, creates plausible female and male characters of all age and accents, and keeps her audience enraptured. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 15). (May)
From the Publisher
"The Book of Spies is hands-down the best book I've read all year.  Grippingly paced, poignant, surprising with every turn of the page, this novel stunned me. Gayle Lynds has long been a master of espionage, but with this book, she proves that true masters only get better over time. Destined to become and instant classic in the field.  In a word: Wow." —James Rollins on The Book of Spies

“One of the best suspense writers in the world.” —James Patterson

“A master of intrigue and adventure” — Clive Cussler

“Today’s finest espionage writer” — Lee Child

“A master of espionage.” — James Rollins

“One of the premier espionage writers of our time” —Vince Flynn

“A master of the spy thriller” —Steve Berry

"A modern classic...Rich with history, breathtaking in plot and pacing, ripe with living, breathing characters we truly care about—or utterly fear—The Book of Spies will consume you from page one." —Jeffrey Deaver

“THE BOOK OF SPIES [is] a combination of history, spy craft and grand concept that takes readers by the hand for a literary romp that is instructional, hair-raising, and most of all, entertaining.” —BookReporter.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312946081
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 307,070
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Gayle Lynds is the bestselling, award-winning author of several international espionage thrillers, including Masquerade, The Coil, and The Last Spymaster. A member of the Association for Intelligence Officers, she is cofounder (with David Morrell) of ITW (International Thriller Writers). She lives in Santa Barbara.

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Read an Excerpt

1

A library could be a dangerous place. The librarian scanned the ten men in tailored tuxedos who lounged around the long oval table in the center of the room. Encircling them were magnificent illuminated manuscripts, more than a thousand of them, blanketing the walls from fl oor to ceiling. Their spectacular gold-covered bindings faced out to showcase the fortune in gems decorating them.

The men were members of the book club that owned and operated the secret Library of Gold where the annual dinner was always held. The fi nale was the tournament, in which each member tested the librarian with a research question. As the books towered around them and the air vibrated with golden light, the men sipped their cognac. Their eyes watched the librarian.

“Trajan,” challenged the international lawyer from Los Angeles. “a.d. 53 to a.d. 117. Trajan was one of the most ambitious warrior-emperors of old Rome, but few people realize he also revered books. His supreme monument to his successes at war is called Trajan’s Column. He ordered it erected in the court between two galleries of Rome’s library—which he also built.”

The room seemed to hold its breath, waiting. The librarian’s fi ngers plucked at his tuxedo jacket. Nearly seventy years old, he was a tidy man with wrinkled features. His hair was thin, his glasses large, and his mouth set in a perpetual small smile.

The tension heightened as he mulled. “Of course,” he said at last. “Cassius Dio Cocceianus wrote about it.” He went to the shelves containing the eighty volumes of Cassius Dio’s history, Romaika, compiled in the second and third centuries and transcribed by a Byzantine calligrapher in the sixth century. “The story is here, in volume seventy-seven. Most of Cassius Dio’s work has been lost. Our library has the only complete set.”

As pleased laughter swept the exclusive group, the librarian laid the large volume into the arms of the challenger, who stroked the embedded opals and sapphires on its cover. Gazing appreciatively at the golden book, he stood it up beside his brandy glass. Eight other illuminated manuscripts stood beside eight other brandy glasses. Each was a testament to the librarian’s intimate knowledge of ancient and medieval literature and the priceless value of the library itself.

Now only the tenth member—the director himself—remained. He would pose the final question in the tournament.

The men helped themselves to more cognac. By design their yearly dinner was dazzling theater. Hours before the first martini was poured, ten wild ducks, freshly shot, had arrived by private jet from Johannesburg. The chefs were flown in from Paris, blindfolded of course. The seven-course meal was exquisite, including truffl ed sweetbreads with chestnuts. The alcohol was the best—tonight’s cognac was a Louis XIII de Rémy Martin, worth more than a thousand dollars a bottle in today’s market. All of the book club’s liquors had been laid down by those who had gone before, creating a cellar of indisputable quality.

The director cleared his throat, and everyone turned to look at him. He was American and had flown in from Paris earlier in the day. The room’s tenor changed, becoming somehow menacing.

The librarian pulled himself up, vigilant.

The director peered at him. “Salah al-Din, also known as Saladin.

a.d. 1137 or 1138 to a.d. 1193. General Saladin, a Kurdish Muslim, was famous for his espionage network. One night his enemy Richard the Lionheart went to sleep in his tent in Assyria, guarded on all sides by his En glish knights. They poured a track of white ash around the tent so wide, no one could cross it undetected. But when Richard awoke, a melon with a dagger buried deep inside had appeared beside his bed. The blade could just as easily have been stabbed into Richard’s heart. It was Saladin’s warning, left by one of his spies. The spy escaped without leaving a clue and was never caught.”

Again the eyes watched the librarian. With every word, he had tensed. The door behind him opened quietly. He glanced over his shoulder as Douglas Preston stepped into the room. Preston was head of library security, a tall, muscular man who was an expert in weapons and took his work seriously. He was not wearing a tuxedo, instead had on his usual black leather jacket and jeans. Strangely, he carried a bath towel.

With effort, the librarian kept his voice steady as he headed across the room to another bookshelf. “The story can be found in Baha al-Din’s Sirat Salah al- Din: The Life of Saladin—”

“Of course, you’re correct,” the director interrupted. “But I want another manuscript. Bring me The Book of Spies.”

The librarian stopped, his hands reaching for the volume. He turned. The men’s faces were outraged, unforgiving.

“How did you find out?” he whispered.

No one answered. The room was so silent he could hear the tread of crepe-soled shoes. Before he could turn again, Preston’s beach towel slapped around his skull, covering his eyes and mouth. There was a huge explosion of gunfire, and pain erupted in his head. As he fell, he realized the security chief had given him fair warning by using a technique of the later Assassins—the towel was to cover the entrance and exit wounds to control spraying blood and bone. The book club knew that.

Excerpted from the Book of Spies by Gayle H. Lynds.

Copyright © 2010 by the Gayle H. Lynds 2007 Revocable Trust.

Published in April 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(18)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    The Book of Spies

    The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds is my favorite book of the year. It opened with a bang and kept me glued to the book until the end.

    The CIA discovers there is a connection between the historical Library of Gold and a terrorist bank account. Like Robert Ludlum, Lynds follows the money welded by the cabal of powerful men. She weaves a tale of intrigue with rare book expert Eva Blake and CIA agent Judd Ryder in solving the mystery. The characters were well developed and she deftly and seamlessly crossed genres; spies, historical, and treasure hunting without losing the tantalizing pace of a thriller.

    I was tickled pink with the character introduction on page 166. Also I was pleased to see that the Carnivore, one of my favorite Lynds characters made an appearance in this novel. Usually I poo-poo the blurbs on the back of a book, but I have to agree Gayle Lynds is one, if not the best of the suspense writers in the world. If you like espionage or historical novels both readers will be satisfied and left wanting for another outing with Eva and Judd.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Gayle Lynds delivers again. Rich character development with a well paced adeventure

    This is a good read. The book reads at a fun and thrilling pace

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A fast thrill ride to the end.

    This is my kind of book, an exciting thriller. Action, gun fights, evil genius, secret passageways, corrupt officials and a bit of romance. A few things felt unfinished, but the book as a whole was good and fast to read. I would give it 3 1/2 stars if I could, it was a hard choice between 3 and 4.
    If you like action packed thrillers, this is the book for you

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    THE BEST ONE YET - "THE BOOK OF SPIES"

    Gayle Lynds has written her best book "The Book of Spies". She has outdone herself. I cannot fathom the amount of research she did to write this book. I've now got the itch to read more regarding the Library of Gold and all the history that has accumulated from it's inception to present time.

    I love all of Gayle's books - she had a good teacher and now has surpassed him, Robert Ludlum. Congratulations!

    If you like suspense on many different levels, this is the book for you!

    Tears were streaming down my cheeks during the last four pages of this book because I didn't want it to end. Hope there's a sequel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    QUEEN OF TODAY'S SPY THRILLERS

    Chilling, breathtaking, moving, twisting, eye-opening, stimulating, nerve-wracking, entertaining, challenging, educating, action-packed . . . when it comes to a Gayle Lynds' spy thriller, whatever you can dream up in a literary ride of extreme fascination is what this author delivers. Her "what if" began with an article she read in the "Los Angeles Times " in 1989. Through the next 20 years plus, the mystery of Ivan the Terrible's lost library percolated in the back of her mind to become an obsession she called The Library of Gold. The more she researched it the more it absorbed her. Like Robert Ludlum's conspiratorial elite who lurked through many of his novels, the idea of such a rich and fabled library lent itself to another tale of hidden wealthy powerbrokers manipulating world events to their advantage.

    Unlike "The Da Vinci Code," Gayle does not sacrifice pace to burden readers with heavy-handed history-that she contains in her Author's Notes at the end. Instead, she balances character development, plot, action and international settings with fine-tuned precision. In many current suspense and mystery novels, authors have abandoned the omniscient point of view, so it was a treat to return to the thriller master's technique of setting up each chapter from the long view of the camera to pan into the characters so we instantly see them and then of zooming into the close-up of the scene from the character's POV.

    In "Book of Spies," Gayle builds characters with idiosyncrasies that evolve from their legends. In this case, her heroine is Eva Blake, a museum curator who specializes in ancient manuscripts. To do such work, she must have a retentive memory and an analytic gift. For her to communicate with her husband in Latin phrases is an intellectual game such vibrant minds relish, if only to serve their own egos. That this becomes her instantaneous style of response is not outside the realm of possibility but rather her norm. She has trained her mind in competition with her husband to see Latin one-liners to express what she observes. That she comes from a poor background where she has learned to survive as a pickpocket only proves how clever people with street smarts actually are when inspired to educate themselves by traditional standards. Once, learning karate was unusual for a young woman but even my twin granddaughters take it today. Young people with a goal are environmentally responsible and health conscious. Eva comfortably fits into our modern concept of an ambitious heroine. For Judd Blake, a former military intelligence officer, her quirks are what attract his respect and enhance his curiosity. She is a challenge that unbolts his guarded control. Spies have intellectual powers and skills few of us develop. Gayle engages us to participate in that world between the pages of the "Book of Spies." This novel ties history to greed, power, terrorism and spy chases. I love it! And to top it all off, Gayle has brought back the Carnivore.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    exciting treasure hunt espionage conspiracy thriller

    Rare book expert Eva Blake knows justice is a sham when she is convicted of her husband's death in a car accident in which she insisted throughout she was the passenger. While she unfairly remains behind bars, The CIA during a forensic financial sweep in the Middle East learns of the rumored Library of Gold where priceless ancient tomes are allegedly stored; they even obtained a copy of the Book of Spies sold on the black market by a "librarian". The spy agency knows Eva's husband was a believer that the Library of Gold exists so offer Eva a deal which she accepts.

    Freed from prison with the job of locating the library, Eva is stunned when she sees her spouse alive as she went to jail for his death. Even more shocking is that she realizse that her husband was not just a myth believer, but is the director of the Library of Gold. When she meets Judd Ryder he tries to persuade her that his motives involve the murder of his espionage agent father whose death he ties to the keepers of the Library of Gold. However, as she has quickly learned during her inquiry, Eva trusts no one, not even the Feds who released her from prison or a son insisting he seeks a killer because the Library of Gold influential agents are everywhere.

    This is an exciting treasure hunt espionage conspiracy thriller that grips the audience the moment the CIA enlist Eva to conduct their research and never releases the reader as the heroine becomes paranoid with justification during her dangerous investigation. The story line is fast-paced throughout even with a seemingly cast of thousands support characters that Cecil B. Demille would appreciate. However, Eva and to a lesser degree Judd make this an enjoyable read as trust no one is the norm.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2014

    This is an adventure across continents. It is action packed. If

    This is an adventure across continents. It is action packed. If you like fast moving mysteries you will want to read this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Very interesting read.  The ending was pretty good but it can be

    Very interesting read.  The ending was pretty good but it can be continued into another book very easily

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Research and Writing

    The Book of Spies shows evidence of a great amount of research, much to the author's credit. The writing, for me, was not as good. The story did not flow well, and some of the actions taken just defied logic, or were way too convenient. The idea that a guy would tattoo a code on his head, then regrow his hair, with the hope that someday someone might go beneath that hair, find the code, and then properly decipher it is just ludicrous. There are just too many instances of things happening that made no sense that I found the book as annoying as it was interesting.

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