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By the Rivers of Babylon [Mass Market Paperback]

Nelson DeMille
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1990
Lod Airport, Israel: Two Concorde jets take off for a U.N. conference that will finally bring peace to the Middle East. Covered by F-14 fighters, accompanied by security men, the planes carry warriors, pacifists, lovers, enemies, dignitaries -- and a bomb planted by a terrorist mastermind.

Suddenly they're forced to crash-land at an ancient desert site. Here, with only a handful of weapons, the men and women of the peace mission must make a desperate stand against an army of crack Palestinian commandos -- while the Israeli authorities desperately attempt a rescue mission. In a land of blood and tears, in a windswept place called Babylon, it will be a battle of bullets and courage, and a war to the last death.

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Review

"THERE'S LEADERSHIP, COURAGE, ROMANCE.... WHAT A GREAT MOVIE IT WOULD MAKE!" -- Columbus Dispatch

About the Author

Nelson DeMille is the author of fifteen acclaimed novels, including the #1New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island, and The Gate Houseand New York Times betsellers Wild Fire, The Gold Coast, and The General's Daughter. For more information on the author, you can go towww.NelsonDeMille.net.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Built around the interminable Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East, the plot is simply enough told. Two Concorde jets, packed with a small army of politicians, diplomats, security agents and a typical administrative entourage take off from Lod Airport in Israel. Their destination is a UN peace conference that many believe will lead to a final and lasting peace in the Middle East. But there are also some so filled with hatred that they will do almost anything to sabotage the conference and ensure that the wish for peace becomes a house of cards collapsing in a hail of bullets and blood. In a cunning plan that stretches out years in the planning, a team of terrorists blow up one of the jets and skyjack the other forcing it to land in the desert along the Euphrates River.

"By the Rivers of Babylon" tells a thrilling tale of survival and the guerilla-like commando tactics of the heroic passengers of the Concorde as they struggle desperately against their attackers and attempt against all odds to reach the outside world with news of their plight in the Babylonian desert. In his first novel, DeMille makes grand statements about the nature of courage and heroism under fire, sacrifice, loyalty, altruism and love. He has crafted interesting characters such as Jacob Hausner, the security officer who cannot forgive himself for his careless oversight many years earlier that allowed the terrorists access to the Concorde's inner workings. We witness Miriam Bernstein, Golda Meir's young and beautiful hand-picked political protégé evolve away from her roots as a far left wing advocate of peace at almost any cost.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Frightening Read. Nov. 12 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
As an ex-RCAF aircraft salvage tech/mechanic I appreciated the aircraft operational and mechanical descriptions and events.The book gave me feelings of empathy for Israel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments Nov. 15 2005
By Mark
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The last third of the book really picks up, but when reading the book, it just feels weak. I do love the history that he includes and the description of Babylon. Also one of my favorite plots out of all of his book... out of around 6 that I have read. Not the most creative out of the bunch, but the plot tickles my fancy...However, for his first published book under Nelson Demille it is a real good read. I recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great! Nov. 15 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Awesome book! However there are some things that I didn't like. One is how Hausner, the leader of the Israel's died. I'm not sad that he died because the book forshadowed that he was going to die many times, but getting hit by a rocket is pretty ridiculous. Another thing is that there were too many superfluous characters that slowed the book down. Other than that a great book and I don't really enjoy Clancy books...
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful first effort March 8 2004
By Larry
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is interesting and can be quite illustrative to go back and read the first novel of a highly successful novelist. What is it that they learned over the subsequent years and multiple forays on the bestseller list? In Nelson DeMille's case, he started immediately with a suspense thriller that would be considered impressive even if written by a veteran novelist. Written in 1978, BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON resounds with today's headlines. A peace mission is flying to New York in which a treaty is to be negotiated between the Palestinians and the Israelis. High-ranking dignitaries are flying on two Concorde jets from Tel Aviv. What they do not know is that in the tail of the planes are explosives placed over a year ago as the planes were being built. Rish, a terrorist approaches the planes with his jet and threatens to blow them up unless they follow him to an unknown destination. What ensues is a standoff in the Babylonian desert between the Arab terrorists and the Israeli diplomatic team, which includes members of the military and Israeli security force.
Nelson DeMille's first effort is a fast paced and extremely clever tale that is in some respects surprisingly claustrophobic. Almost the entire book occurs in this Babylonian desert region. The book can be divided into prebattle, battle and post battle. It is obvious that Nelson DeMille was stretching the simplistic plot in an effort to bulk up the book. However, the pacing is relentless and the book can almost be consumed in one lengthy sitting. The author revealed almost twenty-five years ago that he could write a competent thriller and has perfected that task over the ensuing decades. A wonderful first effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrorist's nightmare. Thank God. Oct. 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nelson Demille's story of a highjacking of two Concordes in the Middle
East combines action with detailed planning and execution that fortells
the Sept 11 hijackings. The story is compelling and believable.
Another 'can't put it down book'. Demille can combine exacting detail
with fast-moving action and believble characterizations. The tension
is impressive throughout the book.
I wish Nelson Demille could write as fast as I can read.
He is among the FEW authors whose books I keep to read
again later.
My second read will be right before the movie comes out.
Enjoy this book!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
DeMille is great and several of my favorite books, "Word of Honor" for example and "The Lion's Game," are DeMille classics. He is most successful at taking an international issue, the IRA from Belfast, national, domestic letter agencies warring with eachother, and telling a tale about them, around them and through them.
Often there is a love story about which to hang other issues, and Babylon is no exception.
The peace mission . . . by that I mean THE PEACE MISSION, is about to take off and two Concords are flying from Lod Airport in Israel to New York. And as in every disaster movie, the planes are filled with people who aren't who they seem to be or who they are telling other people they are. What's new?
Security has been lax in the fetal stages of the aircrafts' building, and bombs have been placed in the tail of both aircraft.
The tool by which DeMille gets us there, in this case Babylon, is nearly irrelevant. What he does is put dozens of different people together, hawks, doves, traitors, heroes, cowards, zealots, and then throws in an untested Palestinian force (the Ashbals) with their great numbers attacking the defending Israelis. Hmmmmm. I wonder if Nelson fell asleep while watching John Wayne's "The Alamo" on cable before he began this prodigious effort?
And of course the story is brought together by DeMille's capacity to describe everything from the aluminum mesh in the baggage compartment of the Concord to mascara. And to do so very well.
The other DeMille characteristic is dialogue. He has a gift of making his characters speak in a manner in which we can nod our heads and say, 'yeah, a guy in that fix would probably have said something like that.'
If there's a drawback to Babylon I believe it is that it doesn't go anywhere. Physically I mean.
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