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The Godwulf Manuscript [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 5 1992
Spenser earned his degree in the school of hard knocks, so he is ready when a Boston university hires him to recover a rare, stolen manuscript. He is hardly surpised that his only clue is a radical student with four bullets in his chest.

The cops are ready to throw the book at the pretty blond coed whose prints are all over the murder weapon but Spenser knows there are no easy answers. He tackles some very heavy homework and knows that if he doesn't finish his assignment soon, he could end up marked "D" -- for dead.

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian whorehouse. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great beginning to a fantastic series July 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first book in the Spenser series. Robert Parker had obviously done his homework well - he wrote his doctoral thesis on the Private Eye genre of writing! An English Professor living in the Boston area, Parker was sure to write a story near and dear to his heart.
The plot: an illuminated manuscript is stolen. A student is killed, his girlfriend framed, and a tie to left-wing politics, drugs, and all the rest is involved. The story brings our first look at Joe Broz, but Spenser kills off his only two "muscle men" we meet. We also meet Spenser's two favorite cops - Lt. Quirk and Frank Belson.
The story is in "a university" which is studiously unnamed, in Boston by Roxbury. We get the girl's parents on the hill in West Newton, the English Professor on the beach at Marblehead. Lots of talk about the drives between these places. A double murder at Jamaica Pond, a stay at the Boston City Hospital. The final scene takes place at the Copley Plaza hotel.
Wow, what a different "Spenser" from the most recent books! Spenser has gone through a DRAMATIC transformation since this first rough-and-dirty portrayal. In many ways, Spenser is just beginning to develop his personality in this story. There's no Susan, no Hawk, no self-assured steadfastness. Spenser drinks a lot, puts himself down, wisecracks a bit too much, and (this is the best part) sleeps with a mother AND her daughter within 24 hours. It was just too much! Oh, quite enjoyable, of course. All the basic Spenser components are there, in a sort of rough form. The plot was good, the people excellent, the descriptive scenery as always lovely.
Those who follow Spenser through the series will note that Parker introduced a few ideas here which he later abandoned.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Meet Spencer Oct. 8 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently had the pleasure of meeting for the first time a tough-talking, wise-cracking Boston P.I. named Spencer. Spencer (who is also a better than average cook) is hired by a local university to find a stolen 14th-Century manuscript. His search leads him down a very slippery path filled with drug dealers, the mob, and of course, murder.
When I start any series, I usually begin with the first book and read them in order. This time I started with "Early Autumn," the seventh book in the series. Going to the first book next, I was able to see how the character was going to evolve through the first several books. While Parker seems to be putting the finishing touches on Spencer, this first case is a good solid adventure. Things are somewhat slow at times in this first outing, but not too much. Spencer's moral code of doing the right thing is not altogether clearly locked in yet. Some of the supporting characters are not quite as colorful or animated as they will become later, but as a whole, Spencer's first adventure gives new readers a good, interesting adventure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait to Read the Rest! April 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love reading mysteries. I've torn through John Sanford, Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Elmore Leonard, Ross MacDonald, and the like...and so, it's with a little shame that I admit I hadn't read a Spenser novel before now. My mother told me that the authors I was reading now, while good, were basically following the formula that Robert B. Parker had been perfecting for the last 25 years. So rather than picking up "Potshot", his newest book, I went to the used bookstore and found myself the first book in the series. Although a little out of my element with references to people and styles that were popular when I was three years old (the book was first published in 1973), the story crackles like any on the shelves today. I was reminded of the gritty violent world that Dennis Lehane portrays in his Boston mysteries starring Kenzie and Gennaro, and the wise-cracking wit of Robert Crais' Elvis Cole. Of course, now I realize that these PI's owe a great deal of their success to Spenser. The plot of the mystery in "The Godwulf Manuscript" was fair and interesting, but ultimately it is secondary to the captivating character of Spenser and the people surrounding him. I cared less about the unfolding of the mystery of where the Godwulf Manuscript went and who took it, than I did learning about the people who were involved in the deadly circumstances surrounding it. An excellent first book of a series. I'm thrilled to know that 27 more Spenser books are in my future!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser's Auspicious Debut Aug. 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a mystery novelist with my debut novel in its initial release, I am well aware of how series protagonists evolve as a series progresses. THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT marks Spenser's debut. In his spare time, his hobby is woodcarving. He also likes to cook--which is handy because Susan Silverman struggles to boil water. But that doesn't matter here because Susan isn't yet in this series. Neither is Hawk or Pearl the Wonder Dog, but Spenser's essence is the same as it is in Parker's recent works. In THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, Spenser is hired by a college to recover a stolen manuscript. A murder occurs, and a stunning coed is the obvious murderer. Obvious is not alway correct, and Spenser proves that simple truth true, not for the last time. THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT marks an auspicious debut for Spenser. While some of the trappings and the supporting cast have changed as Robert B. Parker has developed his series, Spenser remains true to his inner soul.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 8 days ago by richard fornwald
4.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel
I enjoyed Parker's first novel. Despite the fashion being from the early 70s, this book could have been written yesterday. Somewhat timeless.
Published on Aug. 3 2011 by David Solomon
4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser - the beginning
First Sentence: The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian whorehouse. Read more
Published on March 24 2010 by L. J. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Are Boston-baked-beans & Palm Beach Frozen Daiquiri's relished in the...
How Can Massachusetts and Florida geographically co-exist without curdling, or exploding methane?

What caught me in the book description of THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT was... Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2006 by Linda G. Shelnutt
4.0 out of 5 stars A rolicking start to a great series
I've read about a half-dozen Spenser novels, not in order, and finally decided to go through them chronolgically. Read more
Published on March 27 2004 by Kirk McElhearn
5.0 out of 5 stars Where it all began - a great book
This book is the novel that introduced the character of Spenser.
The dialogue is witty. The scences where Spenser is on a college campus are nicely structured. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars The Godfather of Sass
Ah, Spenser. Edmund Spenser wrote "The Faerie Queen." And this Spenser is anything but. Former boxer, Korean vet, and armed to the teeth with moxie and sass. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by Aaron Neptune
3.0 out of 5 stars A breezy read
The first Spenser novel has some flaws. Do we really need to know the exact route Spenser takes every time he drives somewhere? Read more
Published on July 15 2003 by Felicia Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars A smart, sexy, and strong character...
If you have not yet begun your own Spenser adventure, you're in for a real treat. Robert Parker has created a delightfully brilliant character in Spenser. Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by Colleen Barry
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, Simple and Fun
No complaints here. Nothing real substantial just a good fun read. Well the nostalgia is substantial and there is plenty of humor and interesting lines. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2002 by djbrkns
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