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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on June 28, 1999
This is my sixth Ludlum book, and I can't say which I prefer. I confirm my statement, this is the one that got my hands stick like with crazy glue to the book. Incredible how the writer sets all the places and persons, taking you step by step deeper into the novel. Don't miss this one, you will regret it if you do not get your hands in this novel. Ludlum is the best.
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on September 17, 2012
I am a self confessed Ludlum junkie. I'm slowly making my way though his complete portfolio. Some of his novels have not withstood the test of time but this is not one of them.

After a slow first 100 pages or so I was thrust into a non-stop action adventure novel that I had difficulty putting down. This is a more modern novel for Ludlum. It deals with internal American politics and is not tied to the Nazi's as so many of his novels are.

I found the plot twists to be the most compelling aspect of this novel. As soon as I thought I knew what was going on a new element was injected and I was back to figuring out where it was going. Ludlum never lets you get comfortable as a reader. I love that about any author and Ludlum was one of the very best at this.

If you are new to Ludlum this is a very good novel but he has written better as well. I recommend

The Aquitane Progression
The Rhineman Exchange
The Parcifal Mosiac
The Matarise Circle
The Bourne Identity (Very different from the movie)

If you love a good conspiracy novel that is packed with action and a little romance. This is a book for you. It's getting harder to find Ludlum novels new so don't hesitate to grab this before they are not available anymore.
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on May 18, 2000
In the years after Hoover's death the secret started coming forth. Many individuals had been covered by J. Edgar Hoover and his secret files. That notion made this book all the more believable Inver Brass in this very entertaining book decided to eliminate Hoover and the threat of his secret files. It became evident that not all of the files had been captured. People all over the country started getting blackmailed and some killed. Then members of Inver Brass started getting assasinated
The guilty party shocked me beyond belief. This book along with Holcroft Covenant are the best that Ludlum has done. Be sure to buy this book and read it.
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on July 10, 2000
Robert Ludlum is just great. He has done wonderful research and has spun it in perfect threads and patterns in this extremely believable novel about unethical espionage. I became extremely scared of J. Edgar and the people in power, this book is so believable! The pages turn of their own will and you will have no life for a few hours. Make sure you have no commitments the next morning! Read it!
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on August 15, 1998
I've read most of the prominent thrillers over the past 2 decade but keep coming back to this one as the gold standard. I have not encountered any other that is as well plotted and believable (although somewhat dated). A definite page-turner which I have read several times, even though by now I know all to well how it ends. I wish I could read it again fresh.
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on October 29, 1998
I don't know about others, but I loved this book. It has an awesome story and is gripping and entertaining, esp all the unceratinity that is trademark Ludlum. A must-read
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on August 22, 2003
If you are going to write an "in" book - one that deals with issues in vogue at the moment - you must at least try to make it timeless. Ludlum is at his best when he ignores current likes and dislikes and worst when he uses already overworked themes. This book reminds one of the new television season in which you know that if a show about runaways was popular last year, there will be 10 others like it this year.
Hoover is an easy guy to hate with all his quirks and secrets and prejudices. He served for too long, accumulated too much power and used his position to bribe or blackmail as baldly as Kennedy, LBJ or Nixon. Still, he turned the FBI into the force it is today - a respected, professional group admired around the world.
But back to the story, the tale is intriguing in spite of its trendiness. All the intrigues - where conspiracies and boogeymen seem to pop out of every hedge - advance the plot. One thing I liked about this book is its leanness - Ludlum has gotten expansive for expansion's sake. Not his best but good for a beach read.
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on March 20, 2002
Robert Ludlum was a good thriller writer. This book has a good opening, a series of stops and starts where you keep guessing when the plot will begin, finds its legs, then runs out of steam and dissolves into little more than a hatchet job on J. Edgar Hoover. If you think Hoover was the vilest man in the twentieth Century and Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro and Ho Chi Minh stand in his shadow, you'll like this book.
Hoover's a popular person to hate nowadays. If Ludlum had been more of an artist, he might've used the opportunity to tell Hoover's story as a tragedy -- an idealistic young man who loves his country takes over an extremely troubled bureau and singlehandedly fashions it into an efficient organization that tracks down and puts behind bars one infamous character after another; but rather than leave when it was his time, he overstayed his welcome and no one wanted to remove him, until his tragic flaws make him hated and feared more than respected. But Ludlum has no time for that stuff.
If he stuck to his plot, he might still have gotten away with it. But he preferred to admire his own facility at character assassination at the expense of what promised to be a ripping book. It makes you wish you'd never strayed from Tom Clancy.
Stick to Ludlum's Jason Bourne books. They're snappier and more mature. This book, as a cartoon character once said, "Makes like a Hoover."
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on January 29, 2002
I am hooked on Robert Ludlum's books. I gave up romance after I turned 20, moved on to murder mysteries (Ellery Queen genre), but I never experienced an author that could keep me awake until 3:00 in the morning, not only with this book--but with all of them!
I have read The Chancellor Manuscripts, all three of the series of the Bourne books, and just finished the Holcroft Covenant, which teases and hints at a sequel in the last few pages, and I'm crossing my fingers there is one (have to still check out his list of books).
The twist, as expected in any Ludlum novel, occurs about half-way through the book, from a direction the reader would never guess, and involves a woman (the hero always has to get his gal in Ludlum's novels!), and this right after he experiences something that forces him to run for his life, hide from those he loves, and/or forces him to cut his communications from any normal life that the hero would normally use if this was real life.
While Ludlum's books smack of a 'formula,' I'm hooked--you know that something unusual is going to happen to the main character, he's going to be forced to give up his normal life to go out and 'save the world,' he'll use life-long aquaintances for help throughout the book (although about 85% end up in a morgue by the end of the story), there's lots of shooting of the bad guys, a damsel in distress who will initially hate or distrust the main character, then fall in love with him, and after which everybody shoots at each other and more bad and good guys die, then the hero either ends up being 'savior' of the world, or he ends up chopped to pieces (ouch), but survives to take on the bad guys again.
Don't try this plot at home--only Ludlum can add enough realistic and believable imagery to convince you of the reality of the story with his details. I was surprised that this is the only book of Ludlum's so far to have the scenery completely fall within the continental USA versus his European settings for all his other books. While the details are pretty amibiguous in this book, they are realistic enough to give you a feel for the location (versus his precise details and descriptions of European sites in his other novels).
If you haven't tried a Ludlum novel, pick one up--any one, and enjoy an espionage thriller that only a master like Ludlum can write.
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on November 10, 2000
Every day some of us ask the question: 'What IF?' Well in 'The Chancellor Manuscript' Ludlum has a pretty big 'What If' on his hands, and it turns out to be quite a fun question to ask, too. What if J. Edgar Hoover didn't die a natural death, but was cleverly done away with...?
As it turns out, we stumble on this situation quite by accident. You see, Peter Chancellor comes up with a great premise for a fictional book he plans to write. Guess what the plot is? What if Hoover was knocked off instead of going naturally? From here Peter, like any good author, begins to do some credible research before embarking upon his chore of writing--but as he digs he begins to uncover some startling revelations...maybe he really WAS killed after all... NOBODY can devise a plot that is filled SO completely and move it at the pace that Ludlum could do in his prime, and 'The Chancellor Manuscript' definitely is Ludlum at the peak of his amazing craft. Just bloody good fun.
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