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The Man from St. Petersburg [Mass Market Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 5 2003 Signet
His name was Feliks. He came to London to commit a murder that would change history. A master manipulator, he had many weapons at his command, but against him were ranged the whole of the English police, a brilliant and powerful lord, and the young Winston Churchill himself...

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The Man from St. Petersburg + The Key to Rebecca + A Dangerous Fortune
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Review

"Ken Follett has done it once more...goes down with the ease and impact of a well-prepared martini." -New York Times Book Review

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote EYE OF THE NEEDLE, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. After writing several more successful thrillers he surprised everyone with THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate millions of readers all over the world. The long-awaited sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, a number one bestseller in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. FALL OF GIANTS is his most recent book. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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It was a slow Sunday afternoon, the kind Walden loved. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Gripping, Very Entertaining July 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Now, first of all, I would like to say that, although I haven't read "a lot" of books by Ken Follett, I have now read three. And all three have been worth the time and worth the money. For sure. The Man from St. Petersburg is set mostly in England in the pre-WWII era. The plot of the story is that Feliks, "the man from st. petersburg", is planning to kill a Russian prince who is in the middle of treaty talks with England. Feliks beleives that the murder of the prince will bring about a break in a possible alliance to Russia. Throughout the story, many connections between Feliks and the English family housing the prince, are revieled, making the story very ironic, but I think the connections give a certain sense of suspense from wondering what might be revieled next.
Overall, it was a very gripping, suspensful, and entertaining book that had a very good bit of storytelling wrapped in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just_a_just_review Sept. 30 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the 4th Follet book I've read and I would have to say that it is definitely the weakest. The other 3 (Pillars of the Earth, A Dangerous Fortune, Eye of the Needle) were well written and very entertaining. Historical fiction at it's best! However, it cannot be said so for The Man from St. Petersburg.

THE BEGINNING: the novel started off well. It was interesting, a unique setting was given, and an entertaining plot developed. I mean, who doesn't like 1910ish historical fiction. The world is on the brink of war, countries are beginning to modernize, and elite nobility still rule the world (which for a story, is entertaining).

THE MIDDLE: the novel fell apart. The antagonist was supposed to be an elite assassin but instead I found him to be a bumbling idiot. I honestly couldn't stop thinking comparing him to the Coyote who was always trying to kill the Road Roadrunner. Some parts were so silly that I was shaking my head in disbelief. It was also extremely coincidental.

THE END: the novel did partially redeem itself. The ending, and when I say ending I mean the last 10 pages, was unique and satisfactory.

THE CONCLUSION: this novel was an OK read. Definitely not Follet's best.

Sorry Ken. It was definitely your weakest novel I've read. All other novels have been superb (especially A Dangerous Fortune!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson without having to take notes. Feb. 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story is set London in early 1914 as Germany was mobilizing and war was inevitable to those that history would prove astute. France was in peril even if England assisted, and the British Empire itself would be at risk if the Germans prevailed. So, The First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. Winston Churchill of the Liberal government, armed with a note from King George, convinces The (conservative) Earl of Walden to negotiate a secret treaty with his wife's nephew, Alex Orlov, also nephew to the Czar, for Russia to enter into the fray. The anarchists learn of this plot however, and Feliks, The Man from St. Petersburg, has five pounds sterling and a determination to assassinate Alex Orlov on English soil.
This story is rich with the history that bored us in school, that stuff about Victorian pomp and starving Russian peasants floundering for a new political order, the prelude to communism. Follett gives us a sense of the debauchery bred from wealth and privilege, and the desperation born of inhumanities in an era gone by. He introduces us to men threatened by women's suffrage, others terrorized of government, and through them, we better understand why society changed, or perhaps mutated. That stuff is woven seamlessly into a story of intrigue without long speeches or tedious lectures. We get our lesson without having to take notes.
My only quarrel is Follett's propensity to interrupt with back-story, once with back-story within back-story if I'm not mistaken. It's a minor irritation though, one scratch and it's gone, because we are more worried about how his characters are going to sort out the mess they're in. And in the end, you're going to believe The Man from St. Petersburg might have been.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, But... Jan. 20 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In many ways, this is vintage Ken Follett. It is fast-paced and keeps you wanting to see what is going to happen next. The writing is good and he does a good job of developing his characters and plot. He also seems to have a good feel for English society in the period immediately before WWI. Despite all this, however, I found myself less than satisfied with the overall result. He gives you Feliks, a Russian anachist and murderer who is on a misguided mission to stop an attempt to negotiate an alliance between Britain and Russia because he is convinced that millions of Russian peasants will die. It never seems to occur to him that the coming war will involve Russia anyway and that millions of peasants will die with or without an alliance. Then Follett tries to make Feliks a sympathetic character. He has been badly wronged in his life. Well, for me, it didn't work. Feliks was still a misguided terrorist bent on murder. Then you get the usual improbabilities: women whose misguided sympathies cause them to let Feliks get closer to his target than he ever would; Feliks miraculously escaping capture despite all odds; and Feliks resorting to a completely improbable tactic at the end. The climax finds Feliks resorting to a tactic that can best be described as using an elephant gun to kill a flea. He needs to flush out the Prince in order to get a shot at him, but Follett would have us accept that Feliks would endanger all that he seems to hold dear in the process. Churchill's action at the end to retrieve the situation was clever plotting, but seemed obvious to me as soon as it was clear what Feliks was going to do. I'm rather thought it would have occurred to Feliks, too. It would have been another good reason to not do what he did.
In many ways, "The Man From St. Petersburg" is a good read. For me, though, it asked me to go farther in suspending disbelief than I was prepared to go. The clever ending was a little too clever, and left me somewhat less than satisfied.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to the last drop
Pure, vintage Ken Follett. Good to the last drop.
Published 13 days ago by Pipersmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love anything this author writes. A deep read and works ones mind.
Published 28 days ago by Adrenne
5.0 out of 5 stars ... is a story af Follet relatively more simple and easy to read
this is a story af Follet relatively more simple and easy to read; loveed it
Published 2 months ago by HELENE LEBRUN
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I preferred Jack Daws and eye of the needle to this one but overall it's a good read. Loved the historical details regarding the pre WWI era. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Marcottas
3.0 out of 5 stars Very trilling!
Captivating as usual. Keeps you reading... Ken Follet as is usual. I do recommend it for all the historical details!
Published 12 months ago by karine simard
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting novel of planned assasination suspenseful
Here we have a novel of the turn of the century into the first world war to the reign of winston churchill. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Anthony Marinelli
4.0 out of 5 stars over all a good story
he does tell a good story - having read 5 books of his including this one (6 if you count reading Pillars of the Earth twice). Read more
Published on June 9 2012 by Frances
4.0 out of 5 stars Another well crafted thriller by Follett
My first Ken Follett Book was "The Pillars of the Earth" - a sweeping historical epic about the building of a cathedral and the lives around it. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2009 by M. Yakiwchuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
I enjoyed every moment of it the first time I read it and enjoyed it still all the five times I reread it. Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2005 by Doris
5.0 out of 5 stars another addictive follett read
Ken Follett has a knack of weaving great fictional tales inside real historical events...the setting of this book is england, at the turn of the 20th century... Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Matthew Schiariti
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