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The Xanadu Talisman [Paperback]

Peter O'Donnell


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Book Description

Sept. 1 2002 Modesty Blaise series
In this classic return we see Modesty both at her most feminine and at her toughest. Trapped in an earthquake disaster with a dying man, she makes a promise that is to lead her and her faithful friend Willie Garvin into the most perilous crisis of their careers. Their quest takes them from Tangier to Paris, from the Riviera to Corsica, and finally to a stronghold in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, their every move observed and manipulated by El Mico, the most notorious and dangerous criminal genius in the Mediterranean. Unknown to Modesty, she holds a secret that El Mico covets above all else, and she is brought to a final confrontation with death in the stronghold of Xanadu. As in all the Modesty Blaise stories, this book is peopled with a host of eccentric characters: the engaging Dr. Giles Pennyfeather, Modesty's devoted friend, and her opponents Little Krell, a prodigy in combat, the Silk brothers, juvenile adults who deal in death, and the astonishing Nanny Prendergast.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press; New edition edition (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028563643X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285636439
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.3 x 12.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #584,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Peter O'Donnell created the Modesty Blaise strip cartoon in the 1950s and is the author of 13 books in the Modesty Blaise novel AUTHOR: O'Donnell, Peter

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Was bad combat move. Better I take Arab first ... he have submachine gun." Jan. 24 2007
By Rennie Petersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Once again a great Modesty Blaise book marred by a major flaw.

"The Xanadu Talisman" is the tenth book in the Modesty Blaise series of books, and was written by Peter O'Donnell in 1981, i.e., 16 years after he had started the series with "Modesty Blaise" in 1965. By now the series was well established and very popular, with a large number of fans (including myself) waiting impatiently for each new book.

Unfortunately, by this time the series was on a slow downwards trend - my rating for each of the first seven books is four or five stars, while books eight, nine and ten only get three stars each. This is because there were two problems that were becoming more and more pronounced with the later books in the series: a repetitiveness in the basic plots and the way in which the bad guys were becoming less scary and invincible, and more weird and silly.

In this book, like most of the books in the series, Modesty and her loyal sidekick Willie Garvin encounter some nasty bad guys. Modesty and Willie get captured, and then, through their ingenuity and incredible fighting skills, they break out of imprisonment and win several battles against the bad guys.

The story in "The Xanadu Talisman" is quite good, sufficiently complicated to keep you guessing for a while. There are also several sub-plots that come together in a satisfying way, and a couple of interesting twists in the last three chapters. To avoid revealing too much I'll just say that a stolen (and re-stolen) treasure of immense value is involved as well as the kidnapping of a young English woman.

Much of the action occurs in and around Morocco. A wealthy Arab sheikh, Prince Rahim Mohajeri Azhari of Saudi Arabia, has built an isolated palace high in the Atlas Mountains. This is Xanadu, and it is here that the climax of the story occurs.

Unfortunately, Prince Rahim is not the top bad guy. (The book would have been better if he was.) Instead, the top bad guys are Nanny Pendergast and two young brothers, Jeremy and Dominic Silk. It turns out that Jeremy and Dominic were left in the care of Nanny Pendergast at a young age, and grew up being trained by their nanny to become top criminals and martial artists. Sounds crazy? I agree. No matter how deadly Peter O'Donnell portrays this trio they still come across as totally ridiculous, and this is an irreparable weakness in the book. A good thriller needs some really formidable bad guys, like the ones who populated the first five Modesty books, not wimps like the Silk brothers and their nanny.

On the plus side I can mention that Modesty and Willie have finally given up smoking, and that this book has a clever humorous ending, instead of the sugar-sweet endings of some of the previous books in the series.

I'll complete this review by explaining the quote that I used on the subject line, "Was bad combat move. Better I take Arab first ... he have submachine gun." (page 276) This can go down as "famous last words", having been uttered by one of the protagonists just before dying. In the heat of the final battle he found himself confronted by two enemies and chose to shoot the one he personally hated instead of the one who was more heavily armed. Bad combat move.

Recommended, but do yourself a favor and start reading the series from the start. The first six-seven books are the best.

Rennie Petersen
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Goody From A Fun Series April 28 2006
By Chris Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This later entry in the Modesty & Willie saga really delivers-- the second half is almost all action, and the plot is never too kooky to spur active disbelief. The early clue will be deciphered by history buffs, but it's satisfying for all that. We also learn more about Modesty's beginnings, and her first murder-- in self-defense, but traumatic for all that.

Straight-ahead entertainment at its best.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Xanadu Talisman, a great MOdesty Blaise June 15 2001
By steve feigen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another great Modesty Blaise. The story takes you from North Africa, through the French Riviera back to the Sahara, and has some terrific moments. Little Krell is one of the best characters in the series, and this book has some of the best combat scenes you will read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Modisty Blase at her best April 29 2014
By James C. Lyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Peter O'Donnell did it again he creates sinnister villans and then figures out how to defeat them. Escapism at its best.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Nov. 22 2013
By SanDiegoLee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Modesty Blaise series is fast paced, something is going to happen, just happened or happening now, unique characters are complete, bigger than life and fun. I have the entire series and wish for more. I prefer the novels, but even the 'graphic art' books of the strips are interesting and fun.

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