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I Am Pilgrim

I Am Pilgrim

4.6 130
by Terry Hayes

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Critics are calling I AM PILGRIM:
"Unputdownable." —Booklist
"The best book of 2014." —Suspense Magazine
"The next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." —The New York Post

A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying


Critics are calling I AM PILGRIM:
"Unputdownable." —Booklist
"The best book of 2014." —Suspense Magazine
"The next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." —The New York Post

A breakneck race against time…and an implacable enemy.

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.

A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.

A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.

Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.

A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
★ 07/28/2014
Screenwriter Hayes’s action-packed debut thriller introduces Scott Murdoch, a burnt-out, upper-echelon spy known as Pilgrim, who is drawn out of retirement when a Middle Eastern terrorist launches a devastating biological attack on the U.S. The voice that British-trained American actor Ragland uses is, on first hearing, surprisingly soft and youthful for a brilliant, world-weary ex-agent. But as the story progresses on a twisty, neatly crafted journey from the U.S. to Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and, eventually, Turkey, this almost-nerdy narration develops a harder, determined edge. There is a particularly grueling, gruesome sequence in which Murdoch is battered, beaten, and waterboarded, nearly to death. Ragland turns the spy’s very human reaction to the torture into a performance piece. An Atria/Emily Bestler hardcover. (May)
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…the most exciting desert island read of the season…[with] more than enough subplots and flashbacks to keep readers riveted…Despite Mr. Hayes's long history as a movie guy…I Am Pilgrim is not a film treatment bloated into book form. It's a big, breathless tale of nonstop suspense, and it has something rarely found in big-budget movies of the same genre: the voice of a single writer instead of the patchwork nonsense created by endless collaborators and fixers. Mr. Hayes delivers his share of far-fetched moments, and no doubt he'd like to see I Am Pilgrim filmed some day. But he's his own worst enemy in that regard. His novel will be hard for any movie version to beat.
Publishers Weekly
★ 03/03/2014
Screenwriter and producer Hayes (Payback) makes his fiction debut with an exceptional thriller that boasts an utterly credible narrator who has had so many covert identities he can barely remember his original name. Soul-weary Scott Murdoch (aka the Pilgrim) has retired from the top echelon of ultrasecret espionage, but duty and faith in the human spirit call him back into service. A lone-wolf Middle Eastern native whom the Pilgrim code names “the Saracen” has a sure-fire bioterrorist plot to destroy the United States. In the cinematic chase that ensues, the action traverses the globe, from the Oval Office to the dusty trails of Afghanistan, each scene fleshed out in the smallest resonating detail (e.g., a Down syndrome child’s laughter, the endless nausea of waterboarding). Like many pilgrimages, this one is painfully long and packed with unexpected menace, its glimpses of the goal fitful and far between, but readers will agree that this journey of body and soul is well worth the effort. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (May)
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The strongest [thriller] in years . . . a taut, global trek . . . a long and perfect pilgrimage. (Grade: A)"
The Hollywood Reporter
“I am Pilgrim is a great, gripping thrill ride of a novel (that still feels grounded in reality). If you're looking for an action thriller/spy story for the beach, Pilgrim is a winner.”
BOLO Books
“[I Am Pilgrim] is like a Jack Higgins novel by way of John Le Carré with more than a dash of Charles Dickens.”
The Washington Missourian
“Gripping from theget-go. . . A thriller of a spy novel."
“The pages fly by ferociously fast. Simply unputdownable.”
Mail on Sunday
"THRILLER OF THE WEEK. Delivers thrills and spills...A full tilt mix of Homeland, The Wire and The Bourne Ultimatum."
Irish Independent
"Massive in many senses, but none more so than its ability to exert a vice-like grip on the reader....Destined to be spy thriller of the year."
#1 New York Times bestselling author - David Baldacci
“Hayes delivers muscular prose, sniper-round accurate dialogue and enough superb and original plotting to fill three volumes. He balances it all with the dexterity of the accomplished storyteller that he so obviously is. I Am Pilgrim is simply one of the best suspense novels I've read in a long time.”
Suspense Magazine
"The best book of 2014."
Gregg Hurwitz
"I Am Pilgrim is a twelve-course meal of a thriller.... A breathtaking accomplishment of a debut."
The Times, UK - Adam LeBor
"I Am Pilgrim is a 21st century thriller: a high concept plot, but with finely drawn protagonists. The plot twists and turns like a python in a sack. Thestyle is visceral, gritty and cinematic...A satisfying and ambitious book, written with skill and verve."
Robert Goddard
"Rendition yourself into a pulsating thriller that never lets up as it carries the hero and the reader on an ever more desperate race between time and an all too plausible disaster for the world we live in. Great nail-biting stuff!"
UK Literary Review
"The narrative is thrilling: the tension tightens with action...It's a murder mystery, an illuminating account of contemporary international politics and a study of an unusual man......An excellent thriller which as a first novel is really remarkable."
My Big Honkin' Blog
“I Am Pilgrim might have you tempted to draw comparisons to other aces of the thrill, but those comparisons will miss the mark for this thoroughly original read that ranks among my favorites of the year thus far.”
People Magazine
“An intriguing, multi-perspective thriller… the story made me almost miss my subway stop.”
“I highly recommend I Am Pilgrim to fans of Mystery, thrillers, Spy novels, and action-adventure. The writing is much more highly evolved than your garden variety spy thrillers, with excellent characters and a great ending that blows up on the page.”
The Chattanoogan
“The best book of the year.”
Boston Globe
“Pick of the Week…gripping debut thriller. ”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“I was impressed with the confidence of Hayes' narrative voice and the complexity in his plotting, both of which make the violence and the tradecraft details thoroughly believable (and probably real).“
Fort Meyers Florida Weekly
“A definite page-turner.”
New York Daily News
·“I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes, is one of the best thrillers I have read in a real long time.”
“I've been trying to think of a classier way to answer this question, but the honest answer is that I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. After starting it, I read I Am Pilgrim every waking moment between work and sleep until I finished the last page… I felt like I was actually learning something while being entertained, and the tension just kept building until I thought I was going to burst.”
Sassy Peach Book Blogger
"Absolutely brilliant...beyond amazing...spellbinding."
Entertainment Weekly - Jimmy Fallon
''Dude, freak out. That's my new Gone Girl. Gone Girl was the last book that I couldn't put down. Seriously, email me when you read it. You'll be five chapters in, and you'll look up and be like, 'Dude!'''
Book Baristas
"Riveting, gruesome, thrilling, suspenseful, raw...I AM PILGRIM is one of the greatest books I have read."
Star Tribune
“A wicked game of cat and mouse that will keep you twisting and turning. Definitely the best thriller of the year! This is THE book!”
From the Publisher
The Best Book of 2014: The Huffington Post, Suspense Magazine, PopSugar, The Chattanoogan, Murder By The Book

Pick of the Week: The Boston Globe

Nominated: Goodreads Choice Award

One of Amazon's Best Books of 2014

One of the Top 16 Books on The Wall Street Journal’sSpring Break Reading List

Bolo Books
“The best way to describe Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim is to say that it is like a Jack Higgins novel by way of John Le Carré with more than a dash of Charles Dickens.”
Good Book Fairy
“Spy thriller, mystery and adventure all wrapped up into one page-turner of a novel…like Jason Bourne and Sherlock Holmes combined.”
print mention: New in Paperback Entertainment Weekly
“Part murder mystery, part globe-hopping spy adventure, this page-turner by screenwriter Hayes will have you anticipating the inevitable movie.”
Fantasy Book Critic
“A debut that will surely be considered a thriller classic in the future.”
Online Pick - Best Books of 2014 KSL.com
“This modern-day thriller, with its breakneck pace, intricate plot and well-developed characters, is impossible to put down…Terry Hayes is the new name to watch in thrillers.”
“If, like me, it's been a while since you read a truly compelling thriller, this is the book for you…absolutely compelling reading.”
New Mexico Review of Books
“Sharp in its pacing, crystalline in its prose, gripping in its suspense... it possesses an extraordinary credibility in its plot.”
Best Thrillers
“This epic spy thriller begins as an urban murdermystery, but quickly sprawls into a globetrotting manhunt with the highestpossible stakes. You won’t be able to put it down.”
That's What She Read
“Simply amazing…I Am Pilgrim is a fantastic read and needs to be on everyone’s summer must-read list.”
“[Terry Hayes is a] masterful novelist wizard.”
Bookaliious Mama
“Hayesis a master storyteller, and I Am Pilgrim is an amazingaccomplishment…the perfect summer read…it’s actually greater than thehype…can’t recommend it any more highly.”
Providence Journal
“Pilgrim turns out to be the most fascinating thriller hero I’ve encountered since Trevanian’s legendary Nicolai Hel... Bracing, blisteringly original, and hopefully not the last time we see both Hayes and Pilgrim.”
Weekly Gravy
“This is one of those whirlwind reads that is a sheer joy to dive into.”
The Huffington Post
"I AM PILGRIM Is the Best Book of 2014"
Naples Daily News
"Whatever you’re doing right now, stand up and turn around. Take a good look at the edge of your seat. That’s where you’ll be clinging when you read I Am Pilgrim.”
Bookalicious Mama
“Hayes is a master storyteller, and I Am Pilgrim is an amazing accomplishment…the perfect summer read…it’s actually greater than the hype…can’t recommend it any more highly.”
The New York Post
"The next 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'."
Kate White
"This murder mystery/spy thriller grabs you from the first sentence and won’t let you out of its grip. A brilliant American secret agent and forensics expert is in a race against the clock to stop a terrorist with a plan to destroy the United States. Please fasten your seat belt."
Brad Thor
"'I Am Pilgrim' is [a] gripping debut novel, which pits a brilliant intelligence operative against an equally brilliant terrorist. Weighing in at over 600 pages, you get your money’s worth and more with this thriller."
"Exhilarating...Hayes masterfully guides readers through an incredibly elaborate, drum-tight plot."
Wichita Eagle
“A debut thriller reminiscent of John le Carre.”
I Am Pilgrim isan all too realistic tale of the dangers the next generation of terrorists cancatastrophically impose. The well-developed characters and the non-stopaction combine to produce a page-turning unpredictable plot.”
Associated Press Staff
“The storytelling and a truly intriguing protagonist make “I Am Pilgrim” a contender for best-of-the-year lists.”
The Pretty Good Gatsby
“I AM PILGRIM is greater than the hype. It’s the kind of book that rocked me to my core and left me breathless. It took me over a month to finally come up with a review but even after a month’s thought, nothing I say will be good enough. This book is that good...I’m counting on it becoming a huge hit this summer.”
Denver Post
“I AM PILGRIM has all the elements of a blockbuster thriller.”
S. Krishna Books
"I Am Pilgrim features great character development and an expansive, ambitious storyline as it sets the standard for the post-9/11 spy thriller."
Library Journal
★ 10/01/2015
This hefty debut from longtime screenwriter Hayes was 2014's most memorable thriller, filled with cinematic twists and turns. Retired CIA operative Pilgrim connects a seemingly random murder in a New York hotel room to the case of a young, brilliant Saudi doctor who synthesizes an incurable strand of smallpox with designs of releasing it in the United States as a biological weapon. (LJ 1/1/14)
Kirkus Reviews
Tom Clancy meets Robin Cook in a thriller that should find a place in many beach bags this summer.Debut novelist Hayes brings well-refined storytelling chops to the enterprise: He's written numerous screenplays, including Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Indeed, while reading this novel, one gets the sense it was written to turn into a screenplay or perhaps began life that way, what with its shifting points of view and a narrator who may or may not be reliable. Whatever the case, Hayes gets us into the thick of things right away: Pilgrim, a federal agent, is a brilliant student of the human psyche who just happens to have awesome killing skills that he's practiced on several continents; in Moscow, for instance, he recounts, "even though I was young and inexperienced I killed my boss like a professional." Don't give him a bad performance review, then. He finds plenty of scope for his talents when put up against a former mujahedeen ominously code-named The Saracen, who's resolved to wreak all kinds of havoc on the West for its offenses against Islam. He's a bad, bad man—the fact that he wasn't killed in the war along with a million other Afghans, Hayes writes, "would make most people question if not God's existence at least His common sense." Hayes is a master of the extremely gruesome scene—the opening involves an acid bath, and later we get popped eyeballs, beheadings and all kinds of grisliness. The story does go on a hundred pages too long and gets sidelined here and there, but it has considerable strengths, and the author gets points for avoiding at least some clichés and putting a few Arabs into key good-guy (or good-girl) positions.Two psychos enter, and one psycho leaves. Good entertainment for readers with a penchant for mayhem, piles of bodies and a lethal biochemical agent or two.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

I Am Pilgrim


There are places I’ll remember all my life—Red Square with a hot wind howling across it, my mother’s bedroom on the wrong side of Eight Mile, the endless gardens of a fancy foster home, a man waiting to kill me in a group of ruins known as the Theater of Death.

But nothing is burned deeper in my memory than a walk-up in New York—threadbare curtains, cheap furniture, a table loaded with tina and other party drugs. Lying next to the bed are a handbag, black panties the size of dental floss, and a pair of six-inch Jimmy Choos. Like their owner, they don’t belong here. She is naked in the bathroom—her throat cut, floating facedown in a bathtub full of sulfuric acid, the active ingredient in a drain cleaner available at any supermarket.

Dozens of empty bottles of the cleaner—Drain Bomb, it’s called—lie scattered on the floor. Unnoticed, I start picking through them. They’ve all got their price tags still attached and I see that, in order to avoid suspicion, whoever killed her bought them at twenty different stores. I’ve always said it’s hard not to admire good planning.

The place is in chaos, the noise deafening—police radios blaring, coroner’s assistants yelling for support, a Hispanic woman sobbing. Even if a victim doesn’t know anyone in the world, it seems like there’s always someone sobbing at a scene like this.

The young woman in the bath is unrecognizable—the three days she has spent in the acid have destroyed all her features. That was the plan I guess—whoever killed her had also weighed down her hands with telephone books. The acid has dissolved not only her fingerprints but almost the entire metacarpal structure underneath. Unless the forensic guys at the NYPD get lucky with a dental match, they’ll have a helluva time putting a name to this one.

In places like this, where you get a feeling evil still clings to the walls, your mind can veer into strange territory. The idea of a young woman without a face made me think of a Lennon/McCartney groove from long ago—it’s about Eleanor Rigby, a woman who wore a face that she kept in a jar by the door. In my head I start calling the victim Eleanor. The crime-scene team still have work to do, but there isn’t a person in the place who doesn’t think Eleanor was killed during sex: the mattress half off the base, the tangled sheets, a brown spray of decaying arterial blood on a bedside table. The really sick ones figure he cut her throat while he was still inside her. The bad thing is—they may be right. However she died, those that look for blessings may find one here—she wouldn’t have realized what was happening, not until the last moment anyway.

Tina—crystal meth—would have taken care of that. It makes you so damn horny, so euphoric as it hits your brain that any sense of foreboding would have been impossible. Under its influence the only coherent thought most people can marshal is to find a partner and bang their back out.

Next to the two empty foils of tina is what looks like one of those tiny shampoo bottles you get in hotel bathrooms.

Unmarked, it contains a clear liquid—GHB, I figure. It’s getting a lot of play now in the dark corners of the web: in large doses it is replacing rohypnol as the date-rape drug of choice. Most music venues are flooded with it: clubbers slug a tiny cap to cut tina, taking the edge off of its paranoia. But GHB also comes with its own side effects—a loss of inhibitions and a more intense sexual experience. On the street one of its names is Easy Lay. Kicking off her Jimmys, stepping out of her tiny black skirt, Eleanor must have been a rocket on the Fourth of July.

As I move through the crush of people—unknown to any of them, a stranger with an expensive jacket slung over his shoulder and a lot of freight in his past—I stop at the bed. I close out the noise and in my mind I see her on top, naked, riding him cowgirl. She is in her early twenties with a good body and I figure she is right into it—the cocktail of drugs whirling her toward a shattering orgasm, her body temperature soaring, thanks to the meth, her swollen breasts pushing down, her heart and respiratory rate rocketing under the onslaught of passion and chemicals, her breath coming in gulping bursts, her wet tongue finding a mind of its own and searching hard for the mouth below. Sex today sure isn’t for sissies.

Neon signs from a row of bars outside the window would have hit the blond highlights in her three-hundred-dollar haircut and sparkled off a Panerai diver’s watch. Yeah, it’s fake but it’s a good one. I know this woman. We all do—the type anyway. You see them in the huge new Prada store in Milan, queuing outside the clubs in Soho, sipping skinny lattes in the hot cafés on the Avenue Montaigne—young women who mistake People magazine for news and a Japanese symbol on their backs as a sign of rebellion.

I imagine the killer’s hand on her breast, touching a jeweled nipple ring. The guy takes it between his fingers and yanks it, pulling her closer. She cries out, revved—everything is hypersensitive now, especially her nipples. But she doesn’t mind—if somebody wants it rough, it just means they must really like her. Perched on top of him, the headboard banging hard against the wall, she would have been looking at the front door—locked and chained for sure. In this neighborhood that’s the least you could do.

A diagram on the back shows an evacuation route—she is in a hotel but any resemblance to the Ritz-Carlton pretty much ends there. It is called the Eastside Inn—home to itinerants, backpackers, the mentally lost, and anybody else with twenty bucks a night. Stay as long as you like—a day, a month, the rest of your life—all you need is two IDs, one with a photo.

The guy who had moved into room 89 had been here for a while—a six-pack sits on a bureau, along with four half-empty bottles of hard liquor and a couple of boxes of breakfast cereal. A stereo and a few CDs are on a nightstand and I glance through them. He had good taste in music, at least you could say that. The closet, however, is empty—it seems like his clothes were about the only thing he took with him when he walked out, leaving the body to liquefy in the bath. Lying at the back of the closet is a pile of trash: discarded newspapers, an empty can of roach killer, a coffee-stained wall calendar. I pick it up—every page features a black-and-white photo of an ancient ruin—the Coliseum, a Greek temple, the Library of Celsus at night. Very arty. But the pages are blank, not an appointment on any of them—except as a coffee mat, it seems like it’s never been used and I throw it back.

I turn away and—without thinking, out of habit really—I run my hand across the nightstand. That’s strange, no dust. I do the same to the bureau, bed board, and stereo and get the identical result—the killer has wiped everything down to eliminate his prints. He gets no prizes for that, but as I catch the scent of something and raise my fingers to my nose, everything changes. The residue I can smell is from an antiseptic spray they use in intensive care wards to combat infection. Not only does it kill bacteria, but as a side effect it also destroys DNA material—sweat, skin, hair. By spraying everything in the room and then dousing the carpet and walls, the killer was making sure that the NYPD needn’t bother with their forensic vacuum cleaners.

With sudden clarity I realize that this is anything but a by-the-book homicide for money or drugs or sexual gratification. As a murder, this is something remarkable.

Meet the Author

Terry Hayes is the New York Times bestselling author of I Am Pilgrim and the award-winning writer and producer of numerous movies. His credits include Payback, Road Warrior, and Dead Calm (featuring Nicole Kidman). He lives in Switzerland with his wife, Kristen, and their four children.

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I Am Pilgrim 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
Qwillery More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never written a book review before. I read over 300 books a year. This is the best book I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Way too convoluted of a story. Only made it partway through and you too frustrated by the complex story within a story within a story, with pointless details and overly dramatic vague statements. I literally have no idea where the story is going because I get invested in one thing and then we have to go deeper into the back story... which then has its own back story, which then has it's own back door. I'm not reading 700+ pages of this.
JupFL_reader More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down -- storytelling at its best!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
dheron More than 1 year ago
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.
Stephen_Sottolano 5 months ago
I found this book extraordinarily entertaining and I'm not even a fan of the genre, but as far as spy thrillers go, Terry Hayes' I am Pilgrim is better than what I've read from Clancy and DeMille. What made the story so enthralling was the attention to detail at every turn and inside of every character back story. But Hayes doesn't try to overdo it he gives you just enough for you to intelligently lend your empathy to whoever you're rooting for. Obviously you'll be rooting for his main protagonist. With just the right amount of testosterone his character is only a few steps beyond beleivable, maybe this is his trick. Perhaps this is his send-up of the genre. As I said, I'm not a huge fan. But I am Pilgrim left me wanting more while leaving me afraid to start on another spy thriller for fear of it coming up short by comparison.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Excellent book.. Do not use as a sleep inducer! Too thrilling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for this to be in theaters! If it's anything like the book, it will be a Blockbuster!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading, I was hooked. He is a genius at tying together stories within stories, until he hands you a neat package all tied up neatly at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book when it first came out and loved it then. Just re-read it and loved it just as much. So many twists and turns that it is impossible to put down. Eagerly awaiting a sequel!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in a long time. Wish i could read it again for the first time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced & well written, hard to put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book. The story is very timely and at times reads like fact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. It was hard to put down to the very end. Its also frightening to think about the real possibiillity of this happening.