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The Hostage: A PRESIDENTIAL AGENT NOVEL Paperback – Large Print, Dec 26 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Large Print Press; Lrg edition (Dec 26 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159413166X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594131660
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 821 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,512,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific Griffin brings back Delta Force Maj. Charley Castillo (last seen in 2004's By Order of the President) for a second outing in this fast-paced adventure. What begins with the kidnapping of an American diplomat's wife in Argentina soon escalates to murder with links to the international Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. This is Griffin's 36th novel and it is clear that he is writing at the top of his game as he manages to imbue this complex, timely thriller with plenty of action, steely-eyed heroes and ruthless villains. Dick Hill, no stranger to the thriller genre or Griffin's audiobooks, gives a solid, assured performance. He smoothly balances the book's numerous characters and accents with ease, and is able to keep the considerable expositional narrative simple and straightforward without ever lapsing into a monotonous reading. This is no easy feat given the intricacies of the book's story line, and its 18-hour running time. Hill is ably assisted by Brilliance's first-rate editing and production values, all of which combine to keep the story moving and the listener involved. Griffin has written a terrific story and hopefully it won't be the last to feature special ops agent Castillo.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Griffin's second novel in his Presidential Agent series is the best-selling author's thirty-sixth book. Delta Force Major Charley Castillo is the protagonist-hero; he works with the Department of Homeland Security. He is asked by the president to go to Buenos Aires, where the wife of the deputy chief has been kidnapped and her husband has been murdered, shot twice in the head as she was forced to watch. Terrorists threaten to kill her children if she doesn't tell them how to find her brother, who, it seems, may have knowledge about the UN-Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. The twists and turns here include the handling of a large amount of money--$16 million, to be exact--that a variety of people would like to get hold of, and the storyline is peppered with forged passports, special agents, and never-ending cell-phone calls. The convoluted plot will appeal to thriller readers, especially Griffin's many fans, and although some of the dialogue is hackneyed, fans of the genre and author won't care. The important thing is the fast pacing and the relevance of the story to today's events and headlines. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 14 2006
Format: Audio CD
Stage and screen actor Jay O. Sanders brings a strong, enthralling voice to his narration of "The Hostage," the second in Griffin's acclaimed Presidential Agent series. He artfully captures the tension in this fast-paced tracking of a lethal kidnapper, and brings alive characters from all over the world.
"By Order of the President," the initial offering in this series left readers and listeners wanting more of Delta Force major Charley Castillo - the one the President summons when he needs something done expertly, secretly, and ASAP.
Although Castillo works with the Department of Homeland Security, he's now brought forth when an American diplomat's wife is kidnaped in Argentina. She has seen her husband slaughtered, and is told her children will also be killed if she doesn't reveal the whereabouts of her brother. These men are so heinous that she was forced to watch her husband's death, execution style. She knows they mean business, and she also suspects that her brother knows more than he should about the Un/Iraq oil-for-food scandal.
Whether or not Castillo can successfully go up against this gang of cutthroats is a high adrenalin adventure.
Griffin is a master at taking his plots from today's headlines then lacing his story with military lingo and knowledge. Makes for exciting and very realistic listening.
- Gail Cooke
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By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 9 2006
Format: Audio CD
Dubbed a Golden Voice by Audiofile Magazine, Dick Hill has a wide variety of narrator's roles to his credit. He once said that he enjoyed doing audiobooks because it gave him a chance "to play all the parts." Hearing his performance of "The Hostage" we know this is true. He reads clearly, concisely, yet chillingly as he takes readers on a white knuckle roller-coaster ride across the globe. As for "all the parts," there are a number of them in this drama and he segues into each one with ease and command.
"By Order of the President," the initial offering in this series left readers and listeners wanting more of Delta Force major Charley Castillo - the one the President summons when he needs something done expertly, secretly, and ASAP.

Although Castillo works with the Department of Homeland Security, he's now brought forth when an American diplomat's wife is kidnaped in Argentina. She has seen her husband slaughtered, and is told her children will also be killed if she doesn't reveal the whereabouts of her brother. These men are so heinous that she was forced to watch her husband's death, execution style. She knows they mean business, and she also suspects that her brother knows more than he should about the Un/Iraq oil-for-food scandal.
Whether or not Castillo can successfully go up against this gang of cutthroats is a high adrenalin adventure.
Griffin is a master at taking his plots from today's headlines then lacing his story with military lingo and knowledge. Makes for exciting and very realistic listening.
- Gail Cooke
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on Feb. 21 2006
Format: Hardcover
WEB: As I read Griffin's latest installment, two things occurred to me. First was that he's consistent. If you liked his previous works (e.g. By Order of the President, Under Fire, etc.), you'll probably like this one. Unfortunately, that consistency also brings about with it a bit of boredom. It occurred to me that there needs to be some fresh blood in this area. At friends recommendations, I recently picked up a copy of Giorgio Kostantinos's "The Quest." It's a different kind of read... a world-class thriller out doing what we've all wanted to do on occasion... kill a few politicians. If you're looking for something really fun to read, and definitely different than the same hum-drum, give it a try. If not, we can keep up with the adventures of Charley Castillo until we all grow old and gray.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first and last book i read from griffen. The story goes no where fast. 200 pages to describe a funeral. You dont know what the story is about until page 400. You can then skip to 700 for 2 pages of action then skip to 760 for ending.

Boring unlless you need something to put you to sleep.

NOT RECOMMENDED
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 143 reviews
61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
This book holds the reader HOSTAGE! Jan. 6 2006
By Michael D. Trimble - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Until now, I suppose I was the only person left in America who had not read anything by the prolific W.E.B. Griffin. Glad that's changed AND what a great book The Hostage was. At nearly 500 pages it is sort of long for a thriller, but I can't say there was very much if any real "fat" in the book.

This is the second book in Griffin's new Presidential Agent series. For what it's worth, if you have not read the first book in this series, I don't think you really need too. Griffin does a very thorough job of bringing you up to speed on how his "presidential agent" actually got the job he now holds. The editorial review from Booklist is a good plot review so I won't repeat that, but I can add that getting Major "Charlie" Castillo into his current position involves on-going turf battles with a lot of governmental intelligence agencies, and while you may not think that would make for good storytelling, it actually does. Put another way, each encounter is a satisfying adventure in and of itself. The book is as timely as reading today's newspaper or watching the evening news, only more exciting and more authoritatively reported!

This is an easy read, primarily because of its extremely accurate conversational quality. I have read countless books about soldiers or former soldiers who are doing the things that soldiers do, and I would think to myself that soldiers don't talk or act that way. Griffin however, has the lingo and the mannerisms cold. Hostage will appeal to a wide variety of people and especially people who are familiar with the areas portrayed in the book. I am amazed at the sort detail and "insider" knowledge Griffin shares with the reader. If you ever served in the 11th ACR (Germany) or the 3AD you will be very familiar with the description of the towns and terrain in and around what used to be the border between East and West Germany. Charlie Castillo's description of the purpose behind that barrier between freedom and communism is a hoot!

Personality wise, I would put Major Charlie Castillo and how he acts, somewhere between the tightly wound Mitch Rapp (CIA agent) by Vince Flynn, and the more cerebral and introspective Gabriel Allon (Israeli Intelligence) by Daniel Silva. The stories are all of the international espionage type and all very similar in plot.

Highest recommendation, but my guess is, mostly for guys.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A real suspender snapper..... Jan. 6 2006
By Robert Busko - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a public librarian I've handled almost every Griffin book published though I've never read one. For some reason, the cover, the author's rep, the advance publicity for the Hostage...who knows, I grabbed this book when it arrived at the library and read it. What a pleasant experience. There are more plot twists and surprises in the Hostage than a roller coaster has dips and turns.

Charles Castillo who works for the Department of Homeland Security and is a personal troubleshooter for the President is assigned to look into the death of an American diplomat in Argentina. In fact, the husband was shot in the head, and the wife taken hostage by terrorists who believe her brother has information related to the U. N./Iraq oil for food scandal.

Economically written with interesting characters and a timely, right off the front page story, Hostage will keep you in suspense. Grab this book if you get the chance.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Griffin is in top form Jan. 7 2006
By Michael T Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second book in the Presidential Agent series is excellent. The character, Carlos Castillo, was introduced in the first novel of this new series. The exposition of the backstory is done very well and is not as obtrusive as it was in some of the other series. Another review comments that you don't have to read the first book to enjoy this one and that is true. The author is in top form. He combines a topical subject with his favorite scenes in Argentina and Germany.

Griffin fans like me know that his novels follow his own life story with the addition of inside information that he is privy to through old friends in the military. The lead character Charley Castillo is also a German national named Karl Gossinger. His father was a Green Beret and helicopter pilot who was kiilled in Vietnam. His mother is a wealthy German woman who was not married and who knew nothing of what had happened to the father of her child. She dies young in the first book leaving Karl an orphan. An Army officer acquaintance traces the father at her request as she is dying and finds that he has been dead for years. That is why he never returned to her. The grandparents, wealthy Texas Hispanics, come to Germany, bring the boy to America and he assumes his second identity. He graduates from West Point and becomes a helicopter pilot like his father.

Griffin was a young soldier in Germany during the occupation after WWII. He then attended Phillips University in Marberg, as do many of his characters. He served in Korea, called up from the Reserves just as some of his characters were. In recent years he has lived part of the year in Argentina and the Honor Bound series, also excellent, explores the history of that country when Peron came to power. Griffin's history has been shown in other books to be accurate, even when the facts are not well known. For example, several of his Brotherhood of War books tell a story of Green Berets in Africa during the era when Che Guevara was trying to foment revolution. Other non-fiction works verify Griffin's facts. An example is Heart of a Soldier, the story of Rick Rescorla. Rescorla joined the American Army after meeting Green Berets in Africa and later was a hero at the battle described in We Were Soldiers Once and Young, referred to by Griffin in his front matter for this novel.

The novel is a thriller and is topical. The first of the series told of a hijacked airplane; this one concerns Argentina and UN corruption. Charley Castillo could be a composite of the lead characters in the Brotherhood of War and Honor Bound. The story of Special Forces here is probably more accurate than newspaper accounts. Griffin knows everybody and has sources that make his plots come to life. He is in top form.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Hmm. May not be up to high expectations. Jan. 23 2006
By Lovell Long Storey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oh my.

I have read every book W.E.B. Griffin has written. I have enjoyed them so much, in fact, that I pre-ordered The Hostage as soon as it was announced. For the first time, I am disappointed, and deeply so.

Do you Clancy fans remember when Clancy shifted gears from first rate writing to shamelessly churning out junk? You may wonder whether this book represents a similar turning point for Griffin.

One of W.E.B. Griffin's writing strengths has been his sense of what I would call "rhythm." His stories usually tick right along with a wonderful sense of pace that feels authentic. There are periods of quiet movement and periods of jolting, intense action. In The Hostage, however, the periods of quiet seem to occupy almost all the paper between the two covers.

Have you ever been on "hold" on the phone so long that you glance at the clock just to see exactly how long you have actually been on hold? That is the feeling that came over me. Yes, there are a few bursts of interesting action, but painfully few. Only a few of the characters are really interesting, and here I am thinking of Colonel Alfredo Munz who is sharp, unappreciated, and honorable but flawed.

Absent in The Hostage was the quiet but measured build-up of tension . . . a sense something was about to happen. After a hundred or two pages, you get over that and realize you are just... waiting. Don't believe me? You will when you get through pages 451-453 where, incredibly, you are dragged through the entire culinary preparation of Chateuabriand by one of the characters. Whatever Griffin's purpose might have been, the effect is that he is either (a) showing off his kitchen knowledge or (b) simply adding filler to his novel. The "cooking lesson" is a vignette of what is so wrong with the novel. It's a little like this review. Mostly, nothing happens. You wait some, then some more. Maybe just around the next bend. Finally, you realize that you are fast approaching the far cover, so you know something is HAS to happen and right quick. When the final action comes, it is fully expected, entirely devoid of surprise, and ultimately unsatisfying. You close the book, with a sad look on your face, and wonder how this book got published in its final form. Where were the editors?

If Griffin weren't one of my very favorite authors, I would not be so dismayed. In the end, it turns out that The Hostage is ... the reader. I see that others enjoyed this book and I am glad for them. However, if you are a big fan of W. E. B. Griffin, you may decide to do yourself a favor and skip this one. You don't want to feel pity for one of your heroes.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fresh talent needed Jan. 25 2006
By Sniper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As I read Griffin's latest installment, two things occurred to me. First was that he's consistent. If you liked his previous works (e.g. By Order of the President, Under Fire, etc.), you'll probably like this one. Unfortunately, that consistency also brings about with it a bit of boredom. It occurred to me that there needs to be some fresh blood in this area. At friends recommendations, I recently picked up a copy of Arthur Bradley's "Process of Elimination." It's a different kind of read... about a world-class sniper out doing what we've all wanted to do on occasion... kill a few politicians. If you're looking for something really fun to read, and definitely different than the same hum-drum, give it a try. If not, we can keep up with the adventures of Charley Castillo until we all grow old and gray.


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