The Tristan Betrayal

( 23 )


Moscow-a city under siege by hardcore Communists threatening to plunge the country back into Stalinist darkness. Into the heart of the firestorm, American ambassador Stephen Metcalf has been summoned to find the one man who controls the levers of power in absolute secrecy-an official known only as the Dirizhor. His support of the bloody coup will bring the entire world to the brink of nuclear war. Metcalfe is the only man with the cunning to reach him and to convince him to resist. It's up to Metcalf to change ...

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Moscow-a city under siege by hardcore Communists threatening to plunge the country back into Stalinist darkness. Into the heart of the firestorm, American ambassador Stephen Metcalf has been summoned to find the one man who controls the levers of power in absolute secrecy-an official known only as the Dirizhor. His support of the bloody coup will bring the entire world to the brink of nuclear war. Metcalfe is the only man with the cunning to reach him and to convince him to resist. It's up to Metcalf to change the course of history. He's done it before.

For Metcalf, returning to Russia is also a personal mission that will stretch across three continents and fifty years into his past where the loyalties of a former love-a woman both impossibly beautiful and possibly treacherous-were tested; where the shadow of a Nazi assassin still haunts; a debauched German aristocrat manipulated the destiny of everyone he touched. Now, as past and present converge, Metcalf braces himself for a new trial of trust and betrayal, one with chilling implications that could threaten what remains of the free world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author's death three years ago has not prevented St. Martin's from publishing recent material under his name. This WWII-era thriller opens in August 1991 as American ambassador Stephen Metcalfe arrives in Moscow, where Communist hard-liners are attempting to wrest control of Russia from the reform government. The fate of the country will be decided by an official known as the Dirizhor-the Conductor-and Metcalfe is the only man who can convince him to resist the forces of Stalinist darkness. Flash back to 1940, just after the Nazis have signed a nonaggression pact with the Russians. Young playboy/espionage agent Metcalfe is sent by American spymaster "Corky" Corcoran to the U.S.S.R. to enlist an old lover, Lana ("an extraordinary woman, impossibly beautiful, magnetic, passionate") in a scheme that if successful will change the course of history. Hot on Metcalfe's tail is assassin Kleist, a Nazi Secret Service agent who dispatches his enemies by garroting them with the E string of his violin. These principals and a host of others thrust and parry between Paris, Moscow and Berlin before a final confrontation in an enormous, mock factory fashioned of plywood and cleverly painted canvas. The factory, a bombing decoy, provides an apt metaphor for the book: a hollow, flimsy construct unable to hold the weight of a bloated plot and an army of cliched characters. All of Ludlum's trademarks are in evidence: one-sentence paragraphs, a plentitude of exclamation points, ridiculous dialogue ("Die, you bastard!") and the breathless use of italics to impart excitement, but in the end there are few surprises in this unsatisfying behemoth. Perhaps it's time to let the master rest in peace. (Oct. 28) Forecast: Ludlum's many fans may relish this gift from the grave, but others will find it thin fare, far from the author's best efforts. 750,000 first printing; major ad/promo campaign. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
To help win the war against the Nazis, Stephen Metcalfe must travel from occupied Paris to Moscow and make contact with a devious ballerina-who happens to be a former lover. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the ranks of dead bestselling authors comes yet another probable bestseller. So peaceful, the grave. No distractions, no need to keep up with the world. No pressure to update the information. No arguments with editors. This is how it must have been for Barbara Cartland in those last golden 50 years, when she was so practiced she simply dictated books from the comfort of one of her several Louis Quinze settees. In fact, a posthumous Ludlum reads almost like a manly Cartland. If there is a waist, it will be tiny. If there is a buttock, it will be tight. If there is a Vichy hostess, she will be a tart. And if there is a plot . . . . Well, of course there is a plot. This is, after all, a Ludlum, so there are layers upon layers of oh-so-reliably nasty Nazis and Bolsheviks against whom is pitted one rich handsome Ivy League polyglot straight-shooting Russo-Yank intelligence agent, Stephen Metcalfe, whose exciting impersonation of an Argentine playboy in Paris in 1940 is interrupted by an assignment to Moscow, where Metcalfe is to test the leanings of the debauched German aristocrat attached to the Reich's embassy to see if he might be turned. Or so Stephen has been told. But nothing is as it seems, for-and here the late hand of the master reaches for one of the great metaphors of '80s spycraft and its supporting literature-there are mirrors upon mirrors. The repulsive nobleman is currently the protector of Svetlana "Lana" Baranova, beautiful star of the Bolshoi and a Great Love among the many loves in Stephen's busy past. (Not out of his 20s, the lad seems never to have slept alone). As corpse after corpse falls in his path, some garroted by a sadistic (of course), violin-playing SSofficer with exceptional olfactories, some just blasted by the Bolsheviks, it dawns on Stephen that his masters are simply using him to get to Lana, who will herself be used. The fate of the democratic West is at stake! Nurse, another lap robe, there's a good girl. First printing of 750,000
From the Publisher
“One heck of a thriller...loaded with all the intrigue, paranoia, and real-life parallels that made Ludlum famous.” —People on The Janson Directive

“Finely crafted...the plot packs more twists than a Rold Gold factory.” —Entertainment Weekly on The Janson Directive

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312372200
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Premium Edition
  • Pages: 580
  • Sales rank: 699,856
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Ludlum's novels have been published in thirty-two languages and forty countries. Read by hundreds of millions worldwide, his books include The Bourne Identity, The Prometheus Deception, The Scarlatti Inheritance, and The Chancellor Manuscript.

Visit the Robert Ludlum™ Web site at


Robert Ludlum was the author of 21 novels, each a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages. In addition to the Jason Bourne series—The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum—he was the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and The Apocalypse Watch, among many others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 25, 1927
    1. Date of Death:
      March 12, 2001
    2. Place of Death:
      Naples, Florida

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Paris, November 1940

The City of Light had gone dark.

Ever since the Nazis had invaded, then seized control of France six months earlier, the world’s greatest city had become forlorn and desolate. The quais along the Seine were deserted. The Arc de Triomphe, the .marks that once lit up the night sky—were now gloomy, abandoned. Above the Eiffel Tower, where once the French tricolor rippled, a Nazi swastika flag waved.

Paris was quiet. There were hardly any cars on the street anymore, or taxis. Most of the grand hotels had been taken over by the Nazis. Gone was the revelry, the laughter of evening strollers, carousers. Gone, too, were .line during the first days of the German incursion.

Most people stayed in at night, intimidated by their .posed on them, the green-uniformed Wehrmacht .diers who patrolled the streets with their swinging bayonets, their revolvers. A once-proud city had sunk into despair, famine, fear.

.est thoroughfare in Paris, lined with handsome white stone facades, seemed windswept and bleak.

With a single exception.

One hôtel particulier, a private mansion, glittered with light. Faint music could be heard from within: a .cited voices, carefree laughter. This was an island of glittering privilege, all the more radiant for its gloomy background.

The Hôtel de Châtelet was the magnificent residence of the Comte Maurice Léon Philippe du Châtelet and his wife, the legendary and gracious hostess Marie-Hélène. The Comte du Châtelet was an industrialist of .tionist Vichy government. Most of all, though, he was known for his parties, which helped sustain tout Paris through the dark days of the occupation.

An invitation to a party at the Hôtel de Châtelet was an object of social envy—sought after, anticipated for weeks. Especially these days, with all the rationing and food shortages, when it was just about impossible to get real coffee or butter or cheese, when only the very well ..tunity to eat one’s fill. Here, inside this gracious home, there was not a hint that one lived in a city of brutal deprivation.

The party was already in full swing by the time one .servant.

The guest was a remarkably handsome young man, in his late twenties, with a full head of black hair, large brown eyes that seemed to twinkle with mischief, an .letic build. As he handed his topcoat to the maître d’hôtel, the butler, he nodded, smiled, and said, “Bonsoir, merci beaucoup.”

He was called Daniel Eigen. He had been living in Paris off and on for the last year or so, and he was a regular on the party circuit, where everyone knew him as a wealthy Argentine and an extremely eligible bachelor.

“Ah, Daniel, my love,” crooned Marie-Hélène du Châtelet, the hostess, as Eigen entered the crowded ballroom. The orchestra was playing a new song, which he recognized as “How High the Moon.” Madame du Châtelet had spotted him from halfway across the room and had made her way over to him with the sort of exuberance she normally reserved for the very rich .sor, say, or the German Military Governor of Paris. The hostess, a handsome woman in her early fifties, wearing a black Balenciaga gown that revealed the cleft of her ample bosom, was clearly besotted with her young guest.

Daniel Eigen kissed both her cheeks, and she drew him near for a moment, speaking in French in a low, confiding voice. “I’m so glad you could make it, my dear. I was afraid you might not show up.”

“And miss a party at Hôtel de Châtelet?” Eigen said. “Do you think I’ve taken leave of my senses?” From behind his back he produced a small box, wrapped in gilt paper. “For you, Madame. The last ounce in all of France.”

The hostess beamed as she took the box, greedily tore off the paper, and pulled out the square crystal flask of Guerlain perfume. She gasped. “But . . . but Vol de Nuit can’t be bought anywhere!”

“You’re quite right,” Eigen said with a smile. “It can’t be bought.”

“Daniel! You’re too sweet, too thoughtful. How did you know it’s my favorite?”

He shrugged modestly. “I have my own intelligence network.”

Madame du Châtelet frowned, wagged a reproving finger. “And after all you did to procure the Dom Pérignon for us. Really, you’re too generous. Anyway, I’m delighted you’re here—handsome young men like you are as rare as hens’ teeth these days, my love. You’ll have to pardon some of my female guests if they swoon. .ered her voice again. “Yvonne Printemps is here with Pierre Fresnay, but she seems to be on the prowl again, so watch out.” She was referring to the famous musical-comedy star. “And Coco Chanel is with her new lover, that German fellow she lives with at the Ritz. She’s on a .dious.”

Eigen accepted a flute of champagne from the silver tray borne by a servant. He glanced around the immense ballroom, with its floor of ancient parquet from a grand château, the walls of white-and-gold paneling covered .matic ceiling that had been painted by the same artist who later undertook the ceilings at Versailles.

But it was not the decor he was interested in so ..ties: the singer Edith Piaf, who made twenty thousand .valier; and all sorts of famous cinema stars who were now working for the German-owned film company .zis approved of. The usual assortment of writers, painters, and musicians, who never missed one of these rare opportunities to eat and drink their fill. And the usual French and German bankers, and industrialists who .gime.

Finally, there were the Nazi officers, so prominent on the social circuit these days. All were in their dress .taches like the Führer himself. The German Military Governor, General Otto von Stülpnagel. The German ambassador to France, Otto Abetz, and the young Frenchwoman he’d married. The Kommandant von Gross-Paris, .burg, who, with his close-cropped hair and Prussian manner, was known as the Bronze Rock.

..vors for most of them. The Nazi masters of France didn’t just tolerate the so-called black market; they needed it like everyone else. How else could they get cold cream or face powder for their wives or lovers? Where else could they find a decent bottle of Armagnac? Even the new German rulers of France suffered from the wartime privations.

.ways in demand.

.nized the diamond-encrusted fingers of a former lover, Agnès Vieillard. Although he felt a spasm of dread, he turned around, his face lit up in a smile. He had not seen the woman in months.

Agnès was a petite, attractive woman with blazing .man, a munitions dealer and racehorse owner. Daniel had met the lovely, if oversexed, Agnès at the races, at Longchamp, where she had a private box. Her husband .ment. She’d introduced herself to the handsome, wealthy Argentine as a “war widow.” Their affair, passionate if brief, lasted until her husband returned to Paris.

“Agnès, ma cherie! Where have you been?”

“Where have I been? I haven’t seen you since that evening at Maxim’s.” She swayed, ever so slightly, in time to the orchestra’s jazzy rendition of “Imagination.”

“Ah, I remember it well,” said Daniel, who barely remembered. “I’ve been terribly busy—my apologies.”

“Busy? You don’t have a job, Daniel,” she scolded.

“Well, my father always said I should find a useful occupation. Now that the whole of France is occupied, I say that gets me off the hook.”

She shook her head, scowled in an attempt to conceal her involuntary smile. She leaned close. “Didier’s in Vichy again. And this party is altogether too full of Boches. Why don’t we escape, head over to the Jockey Club? Maxim’s is too full of Fritzes these days.” She whispered: according to posters on the Métro, anyone who called the Germans “Boches” would be shot. The Germans were hypersensitive to French ridicule.

“Oh, I don’t mind the Germans,” Daniel said in an attempt to change the subject. “They’re excellent customers.”

“The soldiers—what do you call them, the haricots verts? They’re such brutes! So ill-mannered. They’re always coming up to women on the street and just grabbing them.”

“You have to pity them a bit,” said Eigen. “The poor German soldier feels he’s conquered the world, but he can’t catch the eye of a French girl. It’s so unfair.”

“But how to get rid of them—?”

“Just tell them you’re Jewish, mon chou. That’ll send them away. Or stare at their big feet—that always embarrasses them.”

Now she couldn’t help smiling. “But the way they goose-step down the Champs-Élysées!”

“You think goose-stepping is easy?” said Daniel. “Try it yourself someday—you’ll end up on your derriere.” He glanced around the room furtively, looking for an escape.

“Why, just the other day I saw Göring getting out of his car on the rue de la Paix. Carrying that silly field marshal’s baton—I swear, he must sleep with it! He went into Cartier’s, and the manager told me later he bought an eight-million-franc necklace for his wife.” She poked Daniel’s starched white shirt with her index finger. “Notice he buys French fashion for his wife, not German. The Boches are always railing against our decadence, but they adore it here.”

“Well, nothing but the best for Herr Meier.”

“Herr Meier? What do you mean? Göring’s not a Jew.”

“You know what he said: ‘If ever a bomb falls on Berlin, my name won’t be Hermann Göring; you can call me Meier.’ ”

Agnès laughed. “Keep your voice down, Daniel,” she stage-whispered.

Eigen touched her waist. “There’s a gentleman here I have to see, doucette, so if you’ll excuse me . . .”

“You mean there’s another lady who’s caught your eye,” Agnès said reprovingly, smiling in an exaggerated moue.

“No, no,” chuckled Eigen. “I’m afraid it really is business.”

“Well, Daniel, my love, the least you can do is get me some real coffee. I can’t stand all that ersatz stuff— chicory, roasted acorns! Would you, sweetheart?”

“Of course,” he said. “As soon as I possibly can. I’m expecting a shipment in a couple of days.”

But as soon as he turned away from Agnès, he was accosted by a stern male voice. “Herr Eigen!”

Right behind him stood a small cluster of German officers, at the center of which was a tall, regal-looking SS Standartenführer, a colonel, his hair brushed back in a pompadour, wearing tortoiseshell glasses and a small mustache in slavish imitation of his Führer. Standartenführer Jürgen Wegman had been most useful in getting Eigen a service public license, allowing him to operate one of the very few private vehicles allowed on the streets of Paris. Transportation was a huge problem these days. Since only doctors, firemen, and for some reason leading actors and actresses were allowed to drive their own cars, the Métro was ridiculously overcrowded, and half the stations were closed anyway. There was no petrol to be had, and no taxicabs.

“Herr Eigen, those Upmanns—they were stale.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Herr Standartenführer Wegman. Have you been keeping them in a humidor, as I told you?”

“I have no humidor—”

“Then I’ll have to get you one,” Eigen said.

One of his colleagues, a portly, round-faced SS Gruppenführer, a brigadier general named Johannes Koller, sniggered softly. He had been showing his comrades an assortment of sepia-toned French postcards. He quickly put them away in the breast pocket of his tunic, but not before Eigen saw them: they were old-fashioned lewd photographs of a statuesque woman wearing only stockings and garter belt and striking a variety of lascivious poses.

“Please. They were stale when you gave them to me. I don’t think they were even from Cuba.”

“They were from Cuba, Herr Kommandant. Rolled on the thigh of a young Cuban virgin. Here, have one of these, with my compliments.” The young man reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a velvet pouch containing several cellophane-wrapped cigars. “Romeo y Julietas. I hear they’re Churchill’s favorites.” He handed one to the German with a wink.

A waiter approached with a silver tray of canapés. “Pâté de foie gras, gentlemen?”

Koller snatched two in one swift movement. Daniel took one.

“Not for me,” Wegman announced sanctimoniously to the waiter and the men around him. “I no longer eat meat.”

“Not easy to come by these days, eh?” said Eigen.

“That’s not it at all,” said Wegman. “As a man ages, he must become a grass-eating creature, you know.”

“Yes, your Führer is a vegetarian, isn’t he?” Eigen said.

“Quite right,” Wegman said proudly.

“Though sometimes he swallows up whole countries,” Eigen added in a level tone.

The SS man glowered. “You seem to be able to turn up everything and anything, Herr Eigen. Perhaps you can do something about the paper shortage here in Paris.”

“Yes, it must drive you bureaucrats mad. What is there to push anymore?”

“Everything is of inferior quality these days,” said Gruppenführer Koller. “This afternoon, I had to go through an entire sheet of postage stamps before I found one that would stick to the envelope.”

“Are you fellows still using the stamp with Hitler’s head on it?”

“Yes, of course,” Koller said impatiently.

“Perhaps you’re licking the wrong side, hein?” Eigen said with a wink.

The SS Gruppenführer flushed with embarrassment and cleared his throat awkwardly, but before he could think of a reply, Eigen went on: “You’re entirely right, of course. The French simply aren’t up to the standards of German production.”

“Spoken as a true German,” said Wegman approvingly. “Even if your mother was Spanish.”

“Daniel,” came a contralto voice. He turned, relieved at the chance to break free from the Nazi officers.

It was a large woman in her fifties wearing a gaudy, flouncy floral dress that made her look a little like a dancing circus elephant. Madame Fontenoy wore her unnaturally black hair, run through with a white skunk stripe, up in a bouffant. She had enormous gold earrings that Daniel recognized as louis d’or, the antique gold coin, twenty-two karats each. They pulled at her earlobes. She was the wife of a Vichy diplomat, herself a prominent hostess. “Pardon me,” she said to the Germans. “I must steal young Daniel away.”

Madame Fontenoy’s arm was around a slender young girl of around twenty in an off-the-shoulder black evening gown, a raven-haired beauty with luminous gray-green eyes.

“Daniel,” said Madame Fontenoy, “I want you to meet Geneviève du Châtelet, our hostess’s lovely daughter. I was astonished to hear she hadn’t met you—she must be the only single woman in Paris you don’t know. Geneviève, this is Daniel Eigen.”

The girl extended her delicate long-fingered hand, a brief warning look flashing in her eyes. It was a look meant only for Daniel.

Daniel took her hand. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he said with a bow of his head. As he clasped the young beauty’s hand, his forefinger gently scratched her palm, tacitly acknowledging her signal.

“Mr. Eigen is from Buenos Aires,” the dowager explained to the young woman, “but he has a flat on the Left Bank.”

“Oh, have you been in Paris long?” asked Geneviève du Châtelet without interest, her gaze steady.

“Long enough,” said Eigen.

“Long enough to know his way around,” said Madame Fontenoy, her eyebrows arched.

“I see,” Geneviève du Châtelet said dubiously.

Excerpted from The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum.

Copyright © 2003 by Myn Pyn LLC.

Published in October 2003 by St. Martin's Press.

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

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2007


    From the very start, this book was badly written. Plot was lame and read like a script for a b-rate movie. Too much going on with too little substance and very predictable. Couldn't believe i was reading a Ludlum until i read on the front cover that the estate had chosen a writer to prepare and edit this book and i thot 'No wonder!!' Nothing like any other ludlum i've read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    A great disappointment for Ludlum fans!

    This extremely poor attempt to write from notes made by Ludlum left me disgusted and wondering why the publishers and editors allowed it to go to print. This reflects poorly on a great writer's reputation. There is nothing about this that reflects Ludlum's style of rhetoric. Obviously, the editors were hoping to cash-in on the Ludlum reputation, using a second-rate writer. My high school students could do as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    Not even close

    Having read all of Ludlum's novels, one comes to expect depth of character, unusual and non-linear story lines, exotic locales and an edgy, breathless pace right up to the conclusion, none of which is present in this drab, boring and thoroughly predictable novel from whomever was commissioned to piece this together. Obviously someone with barely a passing aquaintance with Ludlum's trademark literary characteristics. The setting, the world war two era, is one in which previous Ludlum novels have engaged us with relentless excitement. This one is so pedantic and so badly written that one finds it hard to care at all about any of the characters, none of whom have the depth of development in previous novels. The king is dead. Leave him alone. This book is reminiscent of the poor attempts to ressurect James Bond by the post Ian Fleming wannabes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    This makes 7 Bobby L books, well wait 6.5 Rob L books I've read because I only got through half of this mess. I recommend all of his other books, the ones he wrote himself that is. Tristan Betrayal does not represent the genius of Robert Ludlum.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    AMW--still waiting on Lindsay Lohans call

    A very entertaining book. If you like Ludlum, you'll most likely enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005


    this book was great. It was suspenseful and interesting. Also it has a beautiful but sad ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2004

    The Ultimate Suspense Novel

    Bone-chilling, over-the-edge, an on the edge thriller with suspense filled episodes sure to keep you awake until you finish. You feel the weather, hear the sounds and jump when a garrote goes around your neck....a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004

    Pretty Cool

    Even dead he writes better thrillers than most!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    Close But No Cigar

    I have been a fan of all of Ludlum's wonderful stories. He was a master in thrillers with twists apon twists. The action was always fast paced with great characters. Whoever has written this story got close to the masters work, but the flip flop between different times was very weak almost pathic. Paul Michael presentation and his characters do keep your attention and give some entertainment. Pher haps the Ludlum family shall find a new writter who can stay more in the Ludlum fashion

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2003

    Great Book!!

    Book is wonderful, and although it has a slow pick up and some dips in the 'plot mountains', it is overall really good, and will keep you guessing till the end. Excellent, and an 'unable to put down' read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2003

    ludlumites rejoice!

    They say this is only first of the many Ludlum manuscripts he left when he passed away to be polished by other authors and then published under Ludlum's name. This writer whoever he is, somewhat differ from Ludlum's style of writing as manifested already in The Janson Directive. Although he still retain some of Ludlum's trademarks: one-sentence paragraph, italics, exclamation points, etc. He can write stand alone novels of his own. Lets's admit it, Ludlum was not a gifted wordsmith, but when it comes to convuluted, shifting plots upon plot twist and grabbing one's attention for hours or gluing you to your seat, Ludlum remains top, he's superb. In The Tristan Betrayal, Ludlum takes us back to the time and storyline in which he was famous for: World War II. Remember The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Rhinemann Exchange, The Gemini Contenders and even The Holcroft Covenant. This book has good storyline/plot but few surprises. Sad to say Ludlum's not around to polished this mammoth thriller and to give it more surprises and twists and an ending only he can deliver.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003


    Applauded for the topnotch vocal performances he always delivers, Paul Michael again demonstrates just what a pro he is with a superb delivery of a rather overwrought, weighty tome. Although Robert Ludlum, noted author of The Bourne Identity, died in 2001 books continue to appear under his name. This is one more thriller with more twists than a back country road. Set in 1991, our story opens in Moscow with the arrival of American Ambassador Robert Metcalfe. Communists are fighting for control of the government, and the man who will call the shots is named the conductor. It's Metcalfe's task to enlist him on the side of truth and right. Of course, there's a psychopathic assassin on Metcalfe's heels - a nasty type who strangles his victims with a violin string. And, also of course, there's romance with a beautiful woman (surprise?). Listeners are treated to chases across Europe as well as the possibility of history-changing events. Narrator Paul Michael gets an A+. As for plot: while many Ludlum fans may be happy, methinks the plot line merits only a C.

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    Posted February 19, 2009

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    Posted January 11, 2011

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