False Impression

( 56 )


Why was an elegant lady BRUTALLY MURDERED the night before 9/11?

Why was a successful New York banker not surprised to receive A WOMAN'S LEFT EAR in the mail?

Why did a young woman with a brilliant career steal an IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING?

Why was an honors graduate working as a temporary secretary after INHERITING A FORTUNE?

Why was a SENIOR ...

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False Impression

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Why was an elegant lady BRUTALLY MURDERED the night before 9/11?

Why was a successful New York banker not surprised to receive A WOMAN'S LEFT EAR in the mail?

Why did a young woman with a brilliant career steal an IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING?

Why was an honors graduate working as a temporary secretary after INHERITING A FORTUNE?

Why was a SENIOR FBI AGENT trying to work out the connection between these four apparently innocent individuals?

A breathtaking journey of twists and turns from New York to London, from Bucharest and on to Tokyo ends up in a sleepy English village where the mystery surrounding Van Gogh's last painting will finally be resolved.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a courageous young woman escapes from the World Trade Center, but that is only the beginning of her trouble. To stay alive and avenge an old woman's death, Anna Petrescu must flee both the FBI and a would-be assassin. Her pursuit and her equally strange artistic mission, take her to Toronto, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Bucharest. Jeffrey Archer's first thriller in seven years reminds us of what we had been missing.
From the Publisher
"Archer is back in top form with [this] latest thriller." —Library Journal (starred review)

"Thoroughly imagined...entertaining...thrilling." —Denver Post

"Murder and a high-stakes art-world theft are cleverly blended [in this] exciting...global thrill-ride." —Vancouver Sun

"Sail along from one high crime to the next....Archer is a great plotter....[and] in the middle of the action, [he] drops research gems."—Liz Smith, New York Post

Denver Post

Thoroughly imagined...entertaining...thrilling.
Vancouver Sun

Murder and a high-stakes art-world theft are cleverly blended [in this] exciting...global thrill-ride.
New York Post Liz Smith

Sail along from one high crime to the next....Archer is a great plotter....[and] in the middle of the action, [he] drops research gems.
Publishers Weekly
Even though Archer (Sons of Fortune) grounds his international art-thievery thriller in the events of 9/11, this leisurely paced, tepid effort has a musty feel. It's September 10, 2001, and Lady Victoria Wentworth is sitting in spacious Wentworth Hall considering the sad state of family fortunes when a female intruder slips in, slashes her throat and cuts off her ear. The next day in New York, art expert Anna Petrescu heads to her job as art wrangler for wealthy magnate Bryce Fenston of Fenston Finance. The pair's offices are in the Twin Towers, and when disaster strikes, each sees the tragedy as an opportunity to manipulate a transaction scheduled to transfer ownership of a legendary Van Gogh painting, Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear, from the Wentworth estate to the larcenous Fenston. The initially intriguing character, hit-woman and ex-gymnast Olga Krantz, turns out to be too lightweight, both physically and fictionally, to garner strong interest in anything other than her deadly skills with a kitchen knife. Lord Archer has been busy for the past five years or so serving half of a four-year prison sentence for perjury and writing a series of books about his prison experience; his first novel in seven years disappoints. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Consummate storyteller Archer (e.g., Sons of Fortune) is back in top form with his latest thriller. It's September 2001, and banker Bryce Fenston is being tailed by the FBI because several of his high-profile clients have died under mysterious circumstances, leaving Fenston Finance in control of rare art assets. When the owner of a priceless Van Gogh self-portrait is murdered at her English estate, FBI agent Jack Delany is ready to swoop in on Fenston and the bank's art historian, Anna Petrescu. Anna, however, is one of the good guys, ready to risk her career (and her life) to save the painting from Fenston's clutches. Before she can take control of the situation, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center occurs, leaving Anna presumed dead, which she uses to her advantage. A whirlwind, worldwide chase begins, with both the FBI and Fenston's paid assassin after Anna and the famous painting. Archer's usual plot twists and fast pace make for an enjoyable page-turner. His harrowing description of what it may have been like to escape the Twin Towers on 9/11 will haunt readers. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Rebecca Vnuk, River Forest P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Now that he's completed his trilogy of prison diaries (2003-05), Lord Archer, out on the street again, returns to his old habits with this tale of a disgraced art expert's attempt to thwart her villainous banker boss's plot to fleece a fine old English family of van Gogh's Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear. The morning after Lady Victoria Wentworth has her throat cut before she can follow Dr. Anna Petrescu's advice about selling off her van Gogh to cover her debt to Fenston Finance, Bryce Fenston fires Anna for offering the advice. Getting sacked is the best thing that could have happened to her, because while she's waiting for an elevator to take her down to the first floor of the World Trade Center for the last time, the building is rocked by a fiery explosion. Yes, it's 9/11, and while Archer is using the disaster as colorful background, Anna's taking advantage of the chaos to disappear, presumed dead. She plans to fly to England and ask Arabella Wentworth, Victoria's twin and heir, to help her steal the canvas, now technically Fenston's property, before Fenston's lieutenant, disbarred lawyer Karl Leapman, can pick it up. Knowing that a terrorist bombing goes only so far, Archer (Sons of Fortune, 2003, etc.) ladles on extra complications. An FBI agent who's had his eye on Fenston gets on Anna's trail. Her phone calls to her friend Tina Forster, Fenston's assistant, puts her irate ex-boss close behind. The knife-wielding assassin who killed Victoria Wentworth goes after Anna as well. Gradually, globe-hopping flights and substitutions of a hilariously unconvincing forgery for the real van Gogh start to take the place of plot developments, and somewhere between Bucharest and London, most ofthe suspense evaporates, though there are still a hundred pages left to run.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312939779
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 441,521
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain's House of Commons and fourteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections--including And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Kane and Abel, and Paths of Glory--have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.


Few contemporary writers can lay claim to as many career highs and lows as Jeffrey Archer -- bestselling novelist, disgraced politician, British peer, convicted perjurer, and former jailbird. And whether you view his misfortunes as bad luck or well-deserved comeuppance depends largely on how you feel about this gregarious, fast-talking force of nature.

Born in London and raised in Somerset, Archer attended Wellington School and worked at a succession of jobs before being hired to teach Physical Education at Dover College. He gained admission to Brasenose College at Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a first-class sprinter and a tireless promoter, famously inveigling the Beatles into supporting a fundraising drive he spearheaded on behalf of the then-obscure charity Oxfam.

After leaving Oxford, Archer continued work as a fundraiser and ran successfully for political office. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1969 but was forced to step down in 1974 when he lost his fortune in a fraudulent investment scheme. He turned to writing in order to stave off bankruptcy. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1976 and became an instant hit. It was followed, in quick succession, by a string of bestsellers, including his most famous novel, Kane and Abel (1979), which was subsequently turned into a blockbuster CBS-TV miniseries.

On the strength of his literary celebrity, Archer revived his political career in 1985, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The following year he was forced to resign over a scandal involving payment to a London prostitute. (He admitted paying the money, but denied vehemently that it was for sex.) In 1987, he sued a British tabloid for libel and was awarded damages in the amount of 500,000 pounds.

Despite the adverse publicity, Queen Elizabeth (acting on the advice of Prime Minister John Major) awarded Archer a life peerage in 1992. The Conservative Party selected him to run for Mayor of London in the 2000 election, but he withdrew from the race when perjury charges were brought against him in the matter of the 1987 libel trial. In 2001, he was convicted and served half of a four-year prison term. (He turned the experience into three bestselling volumes of memoir!) Since his release, Lord Archer has expressed no interest in returning to public office, choosing instead to concentrate on charity work and on his writing career.

Controversy has dogged Archer most of his adult life. Claims still circulate that he falsified his paperwork to gain entrance to Oxford; and, at various other times, he has been accused of shoplifting, padding expenses, insider trading, misappropriation of funds, and financing a failed coup d'état against a foreign government. Needless to say, all this has kept him squarely in the sights of the British tabloids.

Yet, for all the salacious headlines and in spite of lukewarm reviews, Archer remains one of Britain's most popular novelists. His books will never be classified as great literature, but his writing is workmanlike and he has never lost his flair for storytelling. In addition to his novels, he has also written short stories and plays. Clearly, in "art," as in life, Jeffrey Archer has proved himself an affable survivor.

Good To Know

Archer was once a competitive runner and represented Great Britain in international competition.

Regarding the sex scandal that ultimately landed her husband in prison, Lady Mary Archer, the author's wife of 35 years, told reporters that she was "cross" with her husband but that "we are all human and Jeffrey manages to be more human than most. I believe his virtues and talents are also on a larger scale."

The prison where Archer was transferred for carrying out his perjury sentence in October 2001 is a "low security" jail on the Lincolnshire coast, a facility known for raising high-quality pork. According to one authority, "It is considered to be a cushy little place."

After his "fall from grace," Archer counted former Conservative PMs Margaret Thatcher and John Major among his many loyal supporters.

In the 1980s, Archer and his wife, Mary, purchased the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, a house associated with the poet Rupert Brooke.
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    1. Hometown:
      London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1940
    1. Education:
      Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Victoria Wentworth sat alone at the table where Wellington had dined with sixteen of his field officers the night before he set out for Waterloo.

General Sir Harry Wentworth sat at the right hand of the Iron Duke that night, and was commanding his left flank when a defeated Napoleon rode off the battlefield and into exile. A grateful monarch bestowed on the general the title Earl of Wentworth, which the family had borne proudly since 1815.

These thoughts were running through Victoria's mind as she read Dr. Petrescu's report for a second time. When she turned the last page, she let out a sigh of relief. A solution to all her problems had been found, quite literally at the eleventh hour.

The dining-room door opened noiselessly and Andrews, who from second footman to butler had served three generations of Wentworths, deftly removed her ladyship's dessert plate.

"Thank you," Victoria said, and waited until he had reached the door before she added, "And has everything been arranged for the removal of the painting?" She couldn't bring herself to mention the artist's name.

"Yes, m'lady," Andrews replied, turning back to face his mistress. "The picture will have been dispatched before you come down for breakfast."

"And has everything been prepared for Dr. Petrescu's visit?"

"Yes, m'lady," repeated Andrews. "Dr. Petrescu is expected around midday on Wednesday, and I have already informed cook that she will be joining you for lunch in the conservatory."

"Thank you, Andrews," said Victoria. The butler gave a slight bow and quietly closed the heavy oak door behind him.

By the time Dr. Petrescu arrived, one of the family's most treasured heirlooms would be on its way to America, and although the masterpiece would never be seen at Wentworth Hall again, no one outside the immediate family need be any the wiser.

Victoria folded her napkin and rose from the table. She picked up Dr. Petrescu's report and walked out of the dining room and into the hall. The sound of her shoes echoed in the marble hallway. She paused at the foot of the staircase to admire Gainsborough's full-length portrait of Catherine, Lady Wentworth, who was dressed in a magnificent long silk and taffeta gown, set off by a diamond necklace and matching earrings. Victoria touched her ear and smiled at the thought that such an extravagant bauble must have been considered quite risqué at the time.

Victoria looked steadfastly ahead as she climbed the wide marble staircase to her bedroom on the first floor. She felt unable to look into the eyes of her ancestors, brought to life by Romney, Lawrence, Reynolds, Lely, and Kneller, conscious of having let them all down. Victoria accepted that before she retired to bed she must finally write to her sister and let her know the decision she had come to.

Arabella was so wise and sensible. If only her beloved twin had been born a few minutes earlier rather than a few minutes later, then she would have inherited the estate and undoubtedly handled the problem with considerably more panache. And worse, when Arabella learned the news, she would neither complain nor remonstrate, just continue to display the family's stiff upper lip.

Victoria closed the bedroom door, walked across the room, and placed Dr. Petrescu's report on her desk. She undid her bun, allowing the hair to cascade onto her shoulders. She spent the next few minutes brushing her hair before taking off her clothes and slipping on a silk nightgown, which a maid had laid out on the end of the bed. Finally she stepped into her bedroom slippers. Unable to avoid the responsibility any longer, she sat down at her writing desk and picked up her fountain pen.

Wentworth Hall

September 10th, 2001

My dearest Arabella,

I have put off writing this letter for far too long, as you are the last person who deserves to learn such distressing news.

When dear Papa died and I inherited the estate, it was some time before I appreciated the full extent of the debts he had run up. I fear my lack of business experience, coupled with crippling death duties, only exacerbated the problem.

I thought the answer was to borrow even more, but that has simply made matters worse. At one point I feared that because of my naïveté we might even end up having to sell our family's estate. But I am pleased to tell you that a solution has been found.

On Wednesday, I will be seeing—

Victoria thought she heard the bedroom door open. She wondered which of her servants would have considered entering the room without knocking.

By the time Victoria had turned to find out who it was, she was already standing by her side.

Victoria stared up at a woman she had never seen before. She was young, slim, and even shorter than Victoria. She smiled sweetly, which made her appear vulnerable. Victoria returned her smile, and then noticed she was carrying a kitchen knife in her right hand.

"Who—" began Victoria as a hand shot out, grabbed her by the hair, and snapped her head back against the chair. Victoria felt the thin, razor-sharp blade as it touched the skin of her neck. In one swift movement the knife sliced open her throat as if she were a lamb being sent to slaughter.

Moments before Victoria died, the young woman cut off her left ear.

Copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey Archer. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2006

    Starts Strong - Runs out of Gas

    This story hits the ground running with a good deal of excitement and international mystery. The ending becomes clear about 3/4 of the way in, and I found myself scanning to the end. But - an enjoyable read on a cross country flight - or for the beach.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    Back on track

    Although some might say it's nothing new, with goodies and baddies chasing each other through various countries, False Impression has sufficient convolutions to keep you reading, and the pace increases as you read. Typical Archer stuff, a good story

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014


    Hey look if you guys do not reply i am leaving. Well this is a wrap so good bye.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2014


    Srry on vacation:) pads in. There you are!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    A cat

    "I won't hurt you." He mews. He puts her on a small moss nest.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    highly recommend - great story

    I enjoy most of Jeffrey Archer's stories. This is one of the best I've read. The story moved and kept me on edge throughout. Very hard to put down. Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    This book and author sucks. I could not believe how bad it was.

    This is one of th worst books I have ever read. I have read so many books by this author and if you ask m they all suck. The author needs to stop writing and get a new job.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    It doesn't get better than that!

    One of the most exciting,amazing,thrilling books i have ever read!Genious story!Nothing less,nothing more!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2009

    A quick read if you like easy- to mid-level thrillers. Organized into short and relatively self-contained segments to permit easy stop-and-start reading as time allows. Good enough, though, to read straight through on some rainy day or night.

    A fast-paced thriller which doesn't require specific knowledge of the artists mentioned. The main 'bad guy' is pretty weakly presented, with many of his lines and actions being more cliche than original, but the author holds your interest, and in the end you can like the tale and its spinning well enough to forgive him both that weak character and his own apparent need to show his knowledge of some the less famous artists of the periods he references via the various characters' verbal and mental dialogues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Thriller by Jeffrey Archer

    A great leisure time read.....grabs your attention at the beginning and doesn't let go until the very end! Inateresting plot has lots of twists and turns. Interesting characters....from the power-hungry financier, to the administrative assistant with a dark past and a hidden agenda, to the FBI agent, and the English countess. All combine to make this a very enjoyable reading experience.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Keeps you on your toes! -similar to Dan Brown's DaVinci Code (but without the religion)

    Great book, I learn a lot from Jeffrey Archer's books. This thriller reminded me of DaVinci Code. Good book to start wtih Jeffrey Archer, and also try Eleventh Commandment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another plus in the story telling of Jeffrey Archer.

    Jeffrey Archer has done it again. This book is full of cunning plots and keeps the reader entertained. You just want to keep reading the book to the end.
    The intrigue of the art world, a smug self righteous New York banker, a FBI agent bent on solving the crime, the English Countess ready to commit murder to avenge her sister's death, the Japanese steel magnate ready to purchase a Van Gogh painting, a secretary working as a temp to what end, an Olympic gymnast being paid for services rendered, and finally the beautiful, Anna Petrescu, who steals a priceless painting to add to this great read.
    The reader is taken through the twists and turns running around New York, London, Bucharest, and Tokyo. You are also taken to the day of the terrorist's attack on the World Trade Center. Anna Petrescu is one of the survivors of this terrible act of terrorism. The attack is vividly told and one feels like they are indeed there at the scene.
    The journey of all the characters in this story culminate with a hint of romance.

    Cherry Blossom

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    FALSE IMPRESSION, Jeffery Archer

    First and foremost I am an addicted as well as devoted fan of Jeffery Archer. I am an avid Reader and maintain a Books I Have Read journal which is in its 6th volume at this time, and Jeffery Archer occupies many pages in each volume.
    As I read his latest work FALSE IMPRESSION I could only shake my head and wonder " How Does He Do It " ? I was as thrilled and as entertained by this book as any of the previous works by Jeffery.
    I purchased FALSE IMPRESSION the evening before leaving on an auto trip for the Christmas holiday as I wanted a good book handy to occupy me over the holiday. I left on my trip the following morning and was eventually caught in a paralyzing Ice Storm that struck throughout the Midwestern United States and thus a trip with a 10 hour drive ended up a nearly 2 day trip of 21 hours. On 3 seperate ocassions all traffic was stopped dead for approximately 3 hours each time, and fortunate for me FALSE IMPRESSION was right at hand. Upon arriving at my destination 21 hours later I had finished this book, and was thrilled and wondering how long before Mr Archers next creation ?
    As I previously stated I am an avid Reader of many topics, and areas but probably my favorite area is American History with World History a very close second. I most usually have 3 different books going at one time and all of differnt topics and areas of interest, and thus pick the book that fits my mind saet at that moment. If I want an entertaining, riveting fast read with a tantalizing plot I will choose Jeffery Archer, or possibly Jack Higgins. If I want a fascinating historically factual read I will choose none other than Edward Rutherfurd. While I am reading any work of the 3 mentioned authors who incidentally are of Celtic Heritage to my knowledge and all from the United Kingdom I will conjure up in my minds eye a dark rainy night with a Clan, or Tribe of people sitting around a Camp Fire, in a cave, a hut, or a deep dark forest listening to the Tribal Story Teller spin tales, and the I see Jeffery Archer, or Jack Higgins entertaining the Clan with fascinating Tales, and then enter Edward Rutherfurd and he will treat the clan with a Tale of how it actually was.
    I would highly recommend to any Reader who enjoys an entertaining story with a fantastic plot, and a cast of characters you will never forget, to read any of Jeffery Archers works, and especially one of my favorites " Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less ". I could mention several others but once you've read your first Archer work you in all likelihood will be HOOKED.
    In closing I wish to thank Jeff and all of the other Writer's who have filled my life with excitement, entertainment, and who have provoked my imagination. There has been no greater thrill in my life other than my first and only love, MY WIFE, and three wonderful children.
    I also wish to express my profound thanks to the Barnes & Noble Book Sellers, and most especially those of the staff at Springfield, Missouri for providing a GREAT VENUE and giving me the feeling of entering a friends home each time I enter their store.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    I enjoyed this one!

    It may not be one of Archer's best books, but it was a fun read. I enjoyed it, the characters and the plot. In fact, I could not put it down for long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    Not up to par for Archer

    The ending was a predictable fizzle, almost as if the characters each had a boring script from which to read their next moves. Lacked the good plotting and rich characterization of A Dangerous Fortune, one of my favorite Archer yarns.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    I've read much better ...

    What a dreadful, disappointing book. I expected something better of Archer than this unbelieveable story. What a relief it was when I finally closed the cover. My last, I'm afraid, Jeffrey. Mike

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2007


    I don't understand how anyone can think that this book was any good at all. I have read all of Jeffrey Archers' books and this one didn't even get close to the others. It was predictable and really embarrassing at times. The characters were flat and unconvincing and the repetitions endless. I feel cheated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    This is a great book!!

    This book was very enjoyable. It is and exciting journey that never stops its pace. The way it is written reminds me a bit of Alexander Dumas: as soon as the action starts to slow down he switches to another character's point of view and you are off and running again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2007

    It was excellent!

    I loved this book and it was one of my favorites. It really does remind me of the Da Vinci Code.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2006


    Though I am an avid reader of Jeffrey Archer I found the book not as thrilling as his other works. I felt that the assasin over did all the murders. I actually cringed at some of the story lines. Normally his books are fast paced and it takes me a week to read but this time it took me 3 weeks to get through the whole book

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

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