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Secret of the Seventh Son

( 30 )

Overview

There are secrets that must remain buried . . .

Nine people have been slain in New York City—nine strangers with nothing in common—the apparent victims of a frighteningly elusive serial killer. Only one thing links the dead: postcards they received, mailed from Las Vegas, announcing the day they would die.

Assigned to the case is a legendary FBI profiler with a troubled past, a drinking problem, and nothing ...

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Overview

There are secrets that must remain buried . . .

Nine people have been slain in New York City—nine strangers with nothing in common—the apparent victims of a frighteningly elusive serial killer. Only one thing links the dead: postcards they received, mailed from Las Vegas, announcing the day they would die.

Assigned to the case is a legendary FBI profiler with a troubled past, a drinking problem, and nothing left to lose . . .

Abandoned to a monastery is an unwanted son born under a curse on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year 777 . . .

Unprepared for a momentous discovery is a post-World War II expedition into the crypts of a clandestine medieval society . . .

. . . but all lead to a secret embroiled in destiny, history, evil, faith, and corruption . . . and one terrifying truth that no one must ever know . . .

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Editorial Reviews

James Rollins
“Glenn Cooper’s SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON marks the debut of a startling new talent. Here is a story both incandescent and explosive. A seamless blend of modern-day thriller and historical mystery with an ending that left me breathless. A debut not to be missed.”
Katherine Neville
“Terrific book! A gripping revisit of the ancient battle between Free Will and Predestination: a dangerous secret raises the unsettling spectre that what we imagine is freedom might be part of an all-encompassing—and terrifying—Plan.”
Publishers Weekly

Debut author Cooper opens this quasi-supernatural thriller with a series of mysterious deaths in New York. Each victim received a postcard depicting a coffin just before the murder. The FBI turns to Will Piper, a talented agent with a bad attitude who's counting the days to retirement. Teamed with young agent Nancy Lipinski, Will tries to identify the killer from practically nonexistent clues. There are suspenseful moments as Will and Nancy race against time-with inevitable romantic involvement, once Will stops scorning Nancy because of her weight-but long tedious stretches focus on Will being drunk, drinking on the job or complaining of hangovers. Flashbacks to 1947 and the medieval setting that inspired the killer are poorly integrated, and while the secret behind the deaths is original and clever, its revelation is anticlimactic. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061721793
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 678,621
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenn Cooper studied archaeology at Harvard before becoming a physician specializing in infectious diseases. After a career in research, he became a biotechnology chief executive officer. He has written multiple screenplays and runs an independent film production company based in Boston. He lives in Massachusetts in one of the oldest houses in America. He is the author of Secret of the Seventh Son and Book of Souls.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 22, 2009

    Great Read -- Interesting premise!

    It is a great novel about predestination and free will. It moves along very quickly, and it is hard to put it down. In the book it seemed like there were two different stories running at the same time, but it all comes together to make perfect sense at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Alright - decent beach read

    The book was interesting enough and fast paced but something was missing , a certain "je ne sais quoi" if you will. More could have been explained about the seventh son prophecy.. the whole area 51 concept could have been more interesting. The book had so much potential but i was a tad disappointed. And i got sick of the author's constant rag on women who didn't have perfect bodies. So many comments about chubby overweight buxom full figured women- this author seems to have a big problem with imperfect women and is obsessed wth weight. It kind of turned me off.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Good

    Enjoyed reading it....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2011

    Very good

    Very good book that I could not put down.

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  • Posted September 2, 2010

    Good read!

    At first I wasn't sure if I liked the book as it travels thru different time periods, but as I got into it I couldn't put it down!!! I'm looking forward to Cooper's next book!

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    I am excited to finally find a book that is a great read. They have been far and few between. Hope he continues to write more books of this caliber.

    I would recoomend this book to everyone. It was refreshingly good.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This book had so much potential

    I am a huge fan of historical fiction, especially when it mixes facts with intrigue to produce works like the DaVinci Code and the Librarian. Some of these books are extremely well written with significant amounts of historical facts (Steve Berry is exceptional in this area), but this one is not. It begins with a simple premise: the strange forces that align with the birth of the seventh son of a seventh son. There are lots of mystical prophecies surrounding such children (just like the prophetic visions attributed to those individuals born with a caul), so the story has many wonderful opportunities available to it. The basic premise of the book - that God could provide a messenger to share great wisdom on the earth in order to support His great plans - has been used successfully in many different books exploring dualism and predestination. Sadly, this book chooses to go a different route, where the hero of the book is a washed-up, burned-out agent who finds redemption (and a new girlfriend) while saving the world from unspeakable doom associated with the possession of this God-like knowledge and uses historical facts and events as mere window dressing in the story.

    Personally, I have no problem with the plot, except that the book advertised itself as historical fiction. There are several historical places or personages mentioned in the book - Area 51, Winston Churchill, and Harry Truman, for example - but the central theme of the story is completely fictional. Further, the moral dilemma caused by having too much knowledge about life and death is not really handled well. The story's bottom line, that predestination is real and immutable, has profound implications if exploited properly. Sadly, the story devolves into a "secret government agency seeks to stifle the truth and is willing to eliminate anyone that gets in the way of its nefarious plans" yarn that simply doesn't deliver what I'd hope it would.

    The book is entertaining and the characters somewhat likable, if you can appreciate the transformation of a chauvinistic jerk into a somewhat more tolerable human being with very little depth of character). A lot can be said for the potential of this writer, provided that readers know up front that the story will have a few historical elements to it but is largely a work of pure fiction, or he decides to do more research and include it into his books. I didn't find the characters to be compelling enough to recommend this book to anyone else to read or to cause me to look forward to the next novel in the series, but it will appeal to those who enjoy a good adventure tale that has the feel of historical accuracy without working to hard to actually achieve it.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    Wow! Smart and wildly inventive.

    This one had me breathless from start to finish. Incredibly well woven story that really keeps you on your toes and makes you think while turning those pages! Major new talent. Can't wait for his next sophisticated thriller!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thrilling debut

    I read an advanced copy of this book, which I received at the 2009 Thrillerfest in NYC, and I have to say of all the books I received or bought there, this was the most intriguing. I was very impressed, to say the least. Cooper has a great gift for plotting, and for characterization, but the heart of this thriller is its concept, a blending of the classic 'hunt-for-a-serial-killer' story with the 'secret-conspiracy' tale presented in a wholly original way.

    It's hard nowadays to develop any kind of unique serial-killer concept, but without spoiling the plot, The Secret of the Seventh Son has done it, near-perfectly (if you buy into the quasi-mystical-biblical solution). Unlike other reviewers, I had no problem with the 'time-jumping' in the narrative because it was clear from the beginning that the jaunts back to the 8th - 12th centuries were vital to solving the mystery and explaining how all these unrelated people were being killed in such different ways.

    Everything else in this novel was delicious gravy - the descriptions of Area 51's inner workings, the thrill of Vegas card-counting, the all-too familiar details of a struggling screenwriter, a romantic twist and a rather unlikable protagonist who manages a bold transformation... and even the way Cooper worked in the actuarial mechanics of life insurance and made it a huge revelation fitting with the plot, worked well for me. My only regret is that the publishers didn't keep the original title of 'The Library of the Dead', which was so much more fitting. If you like Rollins, Preston/Child and the like, don't miss this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an engaging mystical FBI thriller with a supernatural tie to the SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON born in 777

    In New York, the victim receives a postcard of a coffin just prior to being murdered. The FBI assigns the case to Agent Will Piper, who has no interest in a serial killer investigation as he nears retirement. Young agent Nancy Lipinski is tasked to work with Will, who has even less interest in mentoring a rookie.

    The clues outside of the postcards are nonexistent as the psychopath is careful to leave nothing behind. Meanwhile Will is ugly to Nancy over her being overweight and even nastier to his junior partner when he drinks excessively while investigating or when he is hung over. However, as they begin to find ties to a medieval scenario and he sobers up, Will and Nancy begin a romance.

    This is an engaging mystical FBI thriller with a supernatural tie to the SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON born in 777. The story line is fast-paced when Will stays sober long enough to not have a hangover; but too much of the plot is tied up by his drinking, which after the first time the audience got the message. Still fans will enjoy the legendary profiler ready for the pasture of toasting his past glory and the rookie who brings him back to life.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    Finally an intelligent thriller!

    I loved this book! It is without question a terrifying thriller in the true sense of the word but quite sophisticated and incredibly well-written- not generally a hallmark of this genre. Once you get into it you literally can't put it down, except of course to give your heart a break from beating so fast. The structure transitions seamlessly from modern day New York to 8th century England to post WWII, in what initially seems like an attempt to solve a serial killer on the loose. Nothing seems to connect the victims, except they each received a postcard accurately predicting their date of death. We are gradually drawn into a much more complicated and seriously disturbing underworld, and the attention to detail and historical accuracy helps us suspend any semblance of disbelief and go along for the ride. Taps into the fascinating yet irritatingly irrational belief that when it comes to our own mortality, somehow, our days are numbered.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    A Highly Original And Thoroughly Entertaining Novel By A Major New Talent

    I was recently loaned a copy of "Secret of The Seventh Son ". A glance at the précis on the back cover revealed that the subject matter was my preferred avenue of literary escapism...a mystery thriller. Moreover, it purported to be a crossover Archaeological / Law Enforcement novel- a very pleasing discovery for me to make, being an archaeologist myself. I took the plunge and entered the world of Will Piper, a cynical,embittered and hard-drinking F.B.I. agent ; a man set firmly on following the course of least resistance and inconvenience to himself in reaching his chosen destination - his service pension and the bars in which to spend it. Piper, formerly THE F.B.I.'s top profiler and hunter of serial killers has completely from grace and has been quietly sidelined into the mundane backwaters of routine crime investigation. With great reluctance, he is railroaded into heading up the investigation into the "Doomsday Killer", a twisted monster of unimaginable cunning and intelligence; every law enforcement officer's most horrific nightmare; a killer who never uses the same M.O. to cull his prey - and targets victims with no apparent preference for age, sex or race.The only constant in each death is a ghoulish postcard addressed to the victim -with a note informing them of their due date to die...Over the space of the next few days, using any free time that I could snatch, I managed to finish the book. My initial reservations about reading a first offering by a new author - and fears that the narrative might run out of steam or lose direction were totally unfounded.The saga unfolds over three different time periods and two continents; incorporating dramatis personae from 8th and 20th century Britain, and players from World War II as well as 21st century America . The book itself works on so many levels, sets so many moods; totally captivating the reader and completely drawing you into what can fairly be described as a symphonic masterpiece of literature. The author makes excellent and economic use of prose - yet imparts the maximum of information in highly detailed tranches, introducing new characters and situations swiftly and adroitly. Glenn Cooper makes superlative use of conversational dialogue to impart further background information about his dramatis personae and to set the scene for each twist and turn in the narrative; using crisp, concise and on occasion highly amusing narration... effortlessly avoiding the pitfall many authors fall prey to - that of "lecturing" rather than subtly informing the reader. He also makes expert use of every literary ruse and artifice to evoke moods and changes of tempo in his narrative. This first offering is so incredibly well written; and in such an individual and highly engaging style; that it would be insulting to " contrast and compare " with other books of this genre.This book is crammed with highly descriptive pen-pictures - and fluid, credible conversational dialogue.The evocative and detailed descriptions of life in 8th century Britain are meticulously and accurately researched, the biographical sketches of his Dark Age and modern-day characters being skilfully crafted and presented in such a way that you feel that you are actually present - in that place and time, as an invisible participant in the drama. Mr Cooper's in-depth knowledge of his subject matter is immediately obvious - yet is imparted in such a way, that his empathy with his characters is obvious.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Excellent! Those who haven't read it yet have a treat in store for them. This book lives up to its promotion and then some.

    I was not too sure when I opened it if I was going to like it (slightly over-use of the F-word and a particular scene that was unsettling personally). But that all quickly fades into the background as the well-written story takes off. Plausible, interesting and suspenseful, all woven together in an fast-paced manner that kept me up very late and caused me to pick it up even before I had my morning coffee.

    I so don't want to ruin this masterfully written story for anyone else so I do NOT want to say too much. I heartily recommend this one to anyone who enjoys suspense.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 9, 2011

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    Posted January 8, 2012

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted October 21, 2011

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    Posted June 9, 2012

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    Posted November 25, 2011

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