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The Last Testament Paperback – 2007


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Paperback, 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: HARPER, LONDON (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007203330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007203338
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 3.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,115,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 25 2009
Format: Paperback
Sam Bourne brings to this story of incredibly high drama on the modern international stage years of experience as a journalist and foreign correspondent in the Middle East. Anyone wanting to read this story should be aware that it comes with a very sophisticated, multilayered plot that involves all kinds of international intrigue and historical mystery. Here are ten specific attributes that makes "The Last Testament" an unforgettably impressive read:
1. Bourne uses real events like the Geneva Accord and the American capture of Baghdad on which to anchor his story;
2. The development of personalities in the story is very plausible. Characters like Maggie Costello come with a well-explained background that helps the reader understand why they are where they are, taking risks and making decisions on behalf of humanity;
3. The story focuses on the pressing need to resolve a major issue standing in the way of world peace, namely, a Middle East peace accord. Though various parties are committed to overcoming the challenge of bringing the Israelis and Palenstinians together for a deal, it is going to take a lot of individual courage, skill and patience to work through this one;
4. To make this story even more involved, Bourne introduces a couple of new fields of inquiry in the form of artifacts from the past and technology from the future to liven up the plot. There is an elusive archaeological tablet recently stolen from Baghdad and making the rounds that contains a very cryptic message as to who really owns the Temple Mount. Then there is a captivating scene in the story where a possible scenario of the ongoing conflict is played out with the use of avatars or alter-egos as the main operators;
5.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bourne writes in a somewhat clumsy but serviceable style (for a thriller of this ilk.) As you read, it becomes clear that the story is outrageous, clearly an attempt to satisfy the craze for whatever it is that people who read the Da Vinci Code and similar books crave.

There has been some amazing discovery related to Abraham that must be uncovered and in the meantime some mysterious evil villains are trying to keep it covered. At stake is nothing less than peace in the Middle East! In the end, the bad guy will be revealed and he will blab his secrets for the secret videotape. Yeah, this book is about that dumb. You may safely give it a pass. Unless you really enjoy that sort of thing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Some improvment but still not great. March 24 2008
By NoWireHangers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Righteous Men" was called "The biggest challenger to Dan Brown's crown" and if my guess is right Bourne, aka. Jonathan Freedland, didn't choose his pseudonym at random (his books will be next to Brown's in most book stores). I complained about the uneven pace and incredible story (an incredible story is not bad in itself, but when an apparently regular mystery novel turns supernatural towards the end it demands too much suspension of disbelief (some authors can make the fantastic seem plausible but Bourne couldn't)).

Anyway, to get to "The Last Testament", the book seems _somewhat_ more believable than "The Righteous Men". Even so, it still doesn't seem plausible and thus never really got me hooked. It kept me reading but I never really cared very much about what happened. It may have been better as a movie than as a novel.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not worth your time Dec 12 2009
By Miss Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book had amazing potential. There was a mix of romance, history, and adventure. However, it was also one of the dullest reads I've ever had the displeasure to open. It started off interestingly enough when you find a woman unhappy with her life and in need of a great adventure. However, it didn't stay that way. Here are the major points that irked me.
1. She had made mistakes and became blacklisted in the world of peacemaking. However the writer is very repetitive with this fact. After about 150 pages of the protagonist complaining about her mistake, you say, "Alright we get it." You almost don't even care what happened.
2. There isn't that much adventure. Sure there is the basic points of people chasing them and needing to find out the "secret" information they don't have yet, but overall, it was intensely boring. It was simply the protagonist complaining and talking peace negations. (Now although this was interesting to me; it wasn't something that should take up over half the book in what is supposed to be a thriller).
3. The ending was just plain ridiculous. You have all this build up excitement about what is on the tablet and when you find out your like "that's it?" You expect this great discovery. However, I blame the author on this point. He could've made this the greatest discovery of mankind, however, he chose to write it as just a dull enlightenment. There is one point in the end that set my opinion on the book in stone. I can't say because it will ruin the ending for anyone reading this review, but let's just say it has to with Second Life and "being chased" in cyber world.
4. The outcome of the discovery was too simplistic and unrealistic. Harry Potter seemed more real then the outcome of this book.
I don't recommend. However, the reason that I give this novel 2 stars instead of 1 is because the author did very well in creating an interesting flair for the politics.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Read something else... April 19 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Oh, I wanted to like this book. I even really liked the main character, Maggie Castello, initially. But I found the pace uneven and all of the characters confusing. I was never sure of who was an Israeli or a Palestinian...or even what role the US Government was playing. This had great potential. I just had to struggle to get through it and then to finish it.

Save yourself some time and frustration- read other authors like James Rollins, Lee Child, or Harlan Cobin.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I recommend THE LAST TESTAMENT to readers who love biblical thrillers, or any kind of page-turning thrillers June 9 2010
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The year is 2003. In Baghdad, American tanks rumble across the city, and a teenage looter removes from a hidden vault an ancient relic that, unknown to him, could alter the course of world history. Flash forward several years later to Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister prepares to sign a historic and contentious peace treaty with the Palestinians. As a man approaches the prime minister with his arms raised, he is shot and killed by the prime minister's bodyguards. After the subsequent discovery that the slain man, a known opponent to the peace accord and former comrade-in-arms of the PM, was unarmed but desperately trying to get a note to him, violence erupts across the Middle East.

As the violence escalates and the body counts rise on both sides of the issue, world leaders intervene to quell the bloodshed and salvage the tenuous peace accord.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Irish-born Maggie Costello, a skilled yet flawed negotiator, lives a dull life with a boring and controlling boyfriend. Once a rising star on the political horizon, Maggie fell from grace and tumbled to the earth following a disastrous, high-profile misstep in Africa. After she is visited in Washington by a representative from the United States government and offered the opportunity to get back into service to help get the Middle East peace talks back on track, the guilt-ridden Maggie sees it as a chance for redemption --- and to extract herself from a less-than-stellar relationship.

Maggie agrees to intervene and travels to Jerusalem to mediate amid the turmoil across the explosive Middle East. After meeting with the family of the slain man and digging into his background, more deaths occur, some very close to Maggie. She becomes swept up in the situation and discovers other murders, whose primary targets for assassination are biblical scholars and archaeologists.

Set on the world stage of Baghdad, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London and Washington, D.C, THE LAST TESTAMENT is an intriguing story that has all the elements of a bestselling novel: an ancient secret of biblical proportions, high-stakes strife and subterfuge in the Middle East, a dangerous yet thrilling love interest, and the requisite, vanilla-flavored-evil-power-obsessed American bureaucrats and covert operatives out to change the world (groan). Despite the novel's anti-American political bent, I found the story engrossing; I could not put it down. While I should have been spring cleaning or doing yard work, I had the book planted in my hands. I glossed over long passages of narrative to get to the story, which is compelling.

Regardless of one's political persuasion, I recommend THE LAST TESTAMENT to readers who love biblical thrillers, or any kind of page-turning thrillers, because, after all, it is a work of fiction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wish we could give half-stars. I'd give this one 3 1/2. June 23 2009
By Megalith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Last Testament is a mystery-thriller set against the backdrop of a potential peace accords in the Middle East. Israel is severely divided by a controversial proposal to divide Jerusalem. Just as the accords are about to be reached, an academic, Shimon Guttman, makes a startling discovery- an ancient testament, the contents of which will be a startling revelation to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. Guttman is killed before he can reveal the contents of this testament to the Israeli Prime Minister. Maggie Costello, a former diplomat who has been trying to run from her past, is brought out of semi-retirement to assist with the negotiations. She soon finds herself on the trail of the testament, along with Guttman's son Uri.

Despite the fact that people connected to the testament keep turning up dead, and Maggie and Uri are frequently pursued by parties unknown, the first half of the book moves at a slow pace. There is a great deal of political discussion, and Bourne inserts several chapters that tell the story of the discovery of the testament, following it to the point at which Guttman obtains it. Bourne draws out the mystery by only revealing to the reader the first portion of the testament. Once Maggie and Uri discover its existence, we play the waiting game along with them as they must discover its location and find out who is trying to stop them.

The Last Testament has an interesting premise, and some clever bits, particularly in respect to how Guttman hid the clues to the location of the testament. I would have enjoyed faster pacing of the plot, and a little more reason to care about Maggie. We know she is a good negotiator who did something very unprofessional, and has now let herself slip into a relationship with a controlling boyfriend. Beyond that, she simply moves through the story, and we get minimal exploration of her character. The climax of the story is a little bit cliche, but satisfying. Overall, I recommend The Last Testament for readers who are interested in Middle Eastern affairs, or enjoy a heavy dose of political intrigue.

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