First Blood

First Blood

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by David Morrell

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From New York Times bestselling author, David Morrell, comes a classic thriller that introduced the character of Rambo, one of the most iconic action heroes of the twentieth century.

Called “the father of the modern action novel,” FIRST BLOOD changed the genre. Although the book and the film adaptation have similarities, they are very different


From New York Times bestselling author, David Morrell, comes a classic thriller that introduced the character of Rambo, one of the most iconic action heroes of the twentieth century.

Called “the father of the modern action novel,” FIRST BLOOD changed the genre. Although the book and the film adaptation have similarities, they are very different, especially its unexpected ending and its greater intensity. If you’ve only experienced the film, you’re in for a surprise.

Once they were soldiers. Rambo, the ragged kid whose presence in town is considered a threat. And Teasle, the Chief of Police of Madison, Kentucky. Both have been trained to kill: Rambo in Vietnam, Teasle in Korea. They learned different military tactics, different ways of death and survival in two different wars.

Now, without warning, they are enemies in a civilian combat that becomes a chase through the woods and mountains and caves above the town. As we follow them, we understand that once a man has been trained as a killer, perhaps he is changed forever.

Award-winning FIRST BLOOD was published in 1972, was translated into 26 languages, and has never been out of print. It was one of the first novels to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

David’s novelizations for RAMBO (FIRST BLOOD PART II) and RAMBO III are available as e-books. They’re quite different from the films and include revealing introductions. See also David’s RAMBO AND ME: THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Sunday Book Review
“A fine novel. . . . When Johnny comes marching home this time, watch out.”

Newsweek - Newsweek Newsweek
“A first-rate thriller.”

Minneapolis Tribune
“One of the finest chase novels you will ever read.”

Saturday Review
“A terrific thriller.”

John D. MacDonald
“One hell of a hard, fast novel.”

Product Details

David Morrell Enterprises
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Meet the Author

David Morrell is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight books, including his award-winning Creepers. Co-founder of the International Thrillers Writers Organization, he is considered by many to be the father of the modern action novel. To learn more, go to

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First Blood 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
SavageBS More than 1 year ago
"First Blood" is one of my favorite movies, has been since I was a kid! Sylvester Stallone played a great John Rambo and I don't think any actor could have done it better, but thats the movie version... David Morrell wrote a great book and after reading it for the first time, I can tell you the movie is very, very loosely based off the novel. Morrell's main character (Rambo) and the movie Rambo are really nothing alike. In the book, he is referred to as Rambo or the kid, there is no mention ever of his first name being John. The book takes place in Kentucky, not the Pacific Northwest and in the book Rambo does'nt carry 14' survival knife. In the movie version Rambo only kills one person that you know for sure (accidentally, when he throws the rock at the helicopter and the deputy falls out), in the book, his death toll is in double digits by the end. Alot of the great, famous lines from the movie "they drew first blood, not me", are not in the book. Colonel Trautman nevers talks to Rambo once in the book, whereas in the movies they are friends. The book really explains both characters points of view well, breaking down Sheriff Teasle and Rambo to the point where you really dont know who to root for towards the end of the book. Both men are war heros, both refuse to give up or back down. A really good chase novel from start to finish, keeps you on the edge of your seat! A must read for all "Rambo" fans and anyone who likes a great action novel, I really enjoyed this book~ ** WARNING ** At the beginning of the paperback version of "First Blood", there is a section called (Rambo & Me) written by the author in 2000. The author explains how he came up with the idea for "First Blood" and talks about the book, compared to the movie. About three pages in, Morrell tells you the ENDING OF THE BOOK?????, the ending is different than the movie and should be a surprise. I read the (Rambo & Me) section and was completely disappointed to read the ending before I read the first page and I'm still baffled and why the author chose to do this. Beware!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok, let us be clear: Rambo, the, novel, is NOTHING like the movie. Which, in all due respect to Sylvester Stallone (a man I greatly respect as a person and screen writer), Rambo is a novel that not only explores the place and times post Vietnam. it also explores a generational clash that becomes more heated (to state it LIGHTLY) until you know that, as the kiddies say, the $#!+ is on! Where the real intrigue lies is that Morrell gives a glimple of the mindets of Rambo (his anger and refusal to just lay down and take being degraded and stinging old scars from his times being cruelly treated in his training for the Green Berets, and his service for his country in Vietnam. It also (at times sympathetically) gives viewers into the mind of the man stalking Rambo (policeman George Beasle). His motives in pursuing "the kid", which is Beasle's strict designation for Rambo (initially he did not "the kid's" looks when he spotted him at a roadside diner, where Rambo was just ordering some food for his drifteresque trek to wherever he was going). Beasle hounds "the kid" along thr road that Rambo is walking, stopping him at a road, and begins to harrass him to the point that Rambo is forced to retaliate and...well, I will let you go from there. ;) For those looking for an action book, you will NOT be disappointed, but, in my humble opinion, it is a psychologically charged book with many different turns. And for you younger folk (I am a 33 year old fogey) that you are oppressed because of your age and choice of clothing,you should read this and realize how FORTUNATE you truly are. I would hope that you get MUCH more than from First Blood than that, but it's up to you to look for it. Thank you for reading this, Gordon Lake Station, IN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very well done. lots of action, lots of explanation on how the vetnam war went. In the begging where the kid is talking to teasel. amazing that is what he was trained to do not give in information and nothing.
CymLowell More than 1 year ago
David received the Thrillmaster award for 2009 from the ITWA at its Thrillerfest meeting this year. I understand why! First Blood marked the appearance of John Bambo in literature, followed by his glorious movie career. The novel is a masterpiece! The plot is simple. Vietnam Medal of Honor winner wants to regroup by wandering around the country with long hair and beard circa 1968. He runs into a sheriff who is also a highly decorated Korean War hero. Sheriff hassles Rambo assuming him to be a vagrant hippy and the chase begins. There is, of course, strategy and violence in the chase as the two war heroes undertake their chess game. But that is just backdrop. The character of these two men jumps out as the pages turn like hot lead from a machinegun. The riveting question is how these personalities will emerge at the end, not who will live or die, win or lose. I certainly understand why this magnificent story has been used in literature classes since the time of its release. I learned a great deal about characterization, plot, and pace as I sailed through these pages. I hope to put the learning to good use. A thrilling masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly one of the greatest novels I have ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed it even more so than the movie. In the movie, Rambo only kills, Art (the policeman in the helicopter), Orville's dogs, and I guess you can say the police men in the car who blow up when they hit another vehicle. In the book however, Rambo is a one man army. He splits open a cops a stomach with a razor, picks off Teasle's posse, and anyone else who gets in his way. Another great thing about the book is it tells the sides of both Rambo and Teasle. It really makes you wonder who the hero is and who is the villain. That style of writing really makes you think: Why didn't Teasle just let Rambo be on his way? or Why is Rambo destroying the whole town, it's Teasle who wouldn't leave him alone. In the movie, without a doubt, Rambo is the hero, and Teasle is just the small town sheriff being a jerk. I highly recommend this book, as it will be picked up off of my bookshelf many a times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The films were the only previous knowledge I had of Rambo when I started this book, and I was suprised by how much better the book is. The book explores much better the characters of Rambo and Teasle. Especially Teasle because in the film he is portrayed as very one dimensional. Lots of action too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic novel, especially for an author's first attempt. The beginning immediately gets you, somehow, you just want to read more and more. Heavily recommended for all RAMBO fans. The movie was so effective, that as I read this, I heard Jerry Goldsmith's score for the film as I read it. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Morrell's novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book rules! It's much better than the movie, which is superficial and tame in comparison. Reading the book is thrilling and scary. Rambo and Sheriff Teasle are complex cats, and make for an interesting pair of adversaries. In fact, the character descriptions are so lifelike, it makes you wonder whether David Morrell has something in common with them. I couldn't put this book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the book , it really explained some things that were not present in the movie.Unfortunately Some parts were very unclear and it didnt explain much about his encounters in Vietnam as a Green Beret. However,there was a lot of action and it was a good thriller from beginning to end .
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best book in the world period. First Blood has always been my favorite movie, but when I started reading the book I just couldn't put it down. One of my favorite things is how you are reading about a certain character you are 'on his side' so to speak i.e. when you are reading about Teasle's character you could almost hate Rambo for what he has put Teasle throught, but when you are reading about Rambo the situation is revearsed.
Hard-t-please More than 1 year ago
Pulls you in from page one....nothing like the movie series supposedly patterned after this outstanding original novel.
Dantzr More than 1 year ago
An Outstanding testament to a wonderful author!! I first read this book almost immediately following the release of the movie. I wanted more! I got more! This novel, the story of John Rambo, makes the movie seem like a mediocre copy. Although the movie kind of follows the book, in no way could a motion picture come close to exposing the inner feelings, the happenings and actions of this man and all that was going on around him. Anyone who reads this book will never be disappointed when thinking back on it. Myself, I have judged most of the books I have read to this wonderful tome. And a side note... the follow-up movie tie-in books were written after the screenplay for the movies were written, but they are written by David Morrell also. Read these 2 books (Rambo II and Rambo III ) and enjoy the writings of a master storyteller. The books are so much more excellent than the movie. Lastly.... if you enjoy ... or even if you haven't ... read the rest of Mr. Morrell's books. I assure you that they will be placed at the top echelon of your favorite books of all time. Mr. Morrell IS really that good!!!
goldieinaz More than 1 year ago
Very good book. The characters were so real and I am going to buy the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always loved the film and was curious to read the book; loved it even if it is quite different than Stallone's version.
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Not as good as i hoped for still good read in this case the movie was better
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