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The Man from St. Petersburg Mass Market Paperback – Aug 5 2003

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (Aug. 5 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451163516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451163516
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Travis Hebrank on 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 By A_Just_Review on 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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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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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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