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5.0 out of 5 stars The Janson Directive
"Ludlum's best since his masterpiece The Bourne Identity"- Kirkus Reviews. The Janson Directive is a covert one novel. The hero in this novel, Paul Janson is the most unlikely hero, a super assassin. He is a successful entrepreneur and former agent of the United States Covert Ops.
A representative from the Liberty Foundation contacts Janson and asks him to rescue...
Published on Nov. 19 2003 by Nathan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Missplaced Directives!
Paul Janson thought he had left the world of spies and intrigue behind. The nightmares had faded as well though he still mourned his deceased pregnant wife Helene. Her death at the hands of terrorists occurred five years ago and was the impetus for his leaving Consular Operations, a covert spy unit within the State Department.
The five years have been financially...
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by Kevin Tipple


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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Rousing Thriller, Feb. 1 2004
By 
Matthew DeReno (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
Ludlum is at the top of, eh, his death I suppose! This is my first Ludlum novel and whether ghost written or co-authored, whatever, I found it a good read in the thriller genre. Intelligent, knowledgeable and well crafted are few among many choice words to describe this tale. Paul Janson, a seasoned ex-operative tormented by his own capabilities, is brought full circle back to the source of his nightmares - a man Janson thought he saw killed, a man that has since grown exponentially more dangerous and sinister. Then again, should it be surprising to Janson? There are many people that apparently this expert agent witnessed executed only to be surprised when they spring back into action at a later date (whether they were killed or it was their double). Jessica Kincaid, the remarkable assassin, that takes on an affinity for Paul Janson, her assigned "unsalvageable" target, plays a critical rule in helping him unravel the enigma of the death of Peter Novak, a man on a such a worldly scale that perhaps only a Citizen Kane could hope to surpass. Wonderfully written scenes include the park in England, the attempt to rescue Novak from the Caliph, the streets of Greece, well, you get the picture. This story takes you around a world the author has been many times before. As my first Ludlum book, an interest kindled by my enjoyment of the Bourne Identity motion picture, I am excited about the prospects of late nights with Ludlum's classic stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Janson Directive, Nov. 19 2003
By 
Nathan (Westminster, CO USA) - See all my reviews
"Ludlum's best since his masterpiece The Bourne Identity"- Kirkus Reviews. The Janson Directive is a covert one novel. The hero in this novel, Paul Janson is the most unlikely hero, a super assassin. He is a successful entrepreneur and former agent of the United States Covert Ops.
A representative from the Liberty Foundation contacts Janson and asks him to rescue the founder of the Liberty Foundation. The founder of the Liberty Foundation is Peter Novak a billionaire and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Novak is kidnapped by the same terrorist group responsible for Janson's wife's death. Janson agrees to rescue Peter Novak who was personally responsible for saving Janson's life many years ago. Janson finds out that Novak's execution is scheduled to be in a three days. So with only days to work he assembles an elite team of covert operatives from around the world to rescue Novak. Against incredible and overwhelming odds they rescue Novak from an almost impenetrable fortress. On the verge of success a terrible tragedy occurs killing Janson's protégé and Novak. Janson then goes on a quest to find out who killed his friends and ruined his mission. He goes from city to city only to find people who try to kill him in every city. First Janson believes it must be operatives of the terrorist group seeking revenge for his part in the daring rescue of Novak. Janson soon learns from a would-be assassin that a "beyond salvage" is issued by Janson's former agency and he is targeted for death. His expert instincts kick in, making him an unstoppable opponent for his former agency. Janson uses every resource he has while running from assassins to unfoil the plot to kill him. The rest of the book has many twists and turns and is unpredictable. It is a page-turner, which you can't put down. The plot is amazing and keeps you hooked the whole time and the use of figurative words is amazing and gives you a clear picture of what is happing. I recommend this book to everyone who likes thrillers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as polished as other Ludlum novels, Nov. 15 2003
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
As a posthumous release, I was thrilled to have yet another Ludlum novel to curl up with and enjoy. But, although the plot and its development were quite good, I found some of the style elements of this book rather annoying. For example, the numerous paragraphs filled with questions to lead the reader on (What will he do?, Where to go now?). This shows a certain limitation in the writing style I don't remember seeing much in previous novels. Perhaps these were part of the 10% not written by the author himself...
Also disrupting were the excessive missing words, word order inversions and typos found in the edition I read (the hardcover first edition by St. Martin's Press). This made it look like a rush order to bring this book to the public, but it also shows a certain lack of concern for quality. I would recommend waiting for a second edition to be published if you are also bothered by such details.
However, the plot is interesting and I found myself immersed in Ludlum's world of espionage and intrigue once again. Although a small part of the story line is quite predictable, the author manages to through in enough spins to keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.
Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Ludlum, Nov. 2 2003
Robert Ludlum's latest thriller is par for the course - an amusing diversion that entertains while you read but is pretty forgettable after you're done. Even now, a mere week after reading it, I find it hard to recall exactly what it was about.
Ah yes, now I remember: An ex-spy named Janson is recruited to save the life of a philanthropic billionaire who is being held by a terrorist. The rescue almost goes okay, but then goes really wrong and Janson is suddenly a fugitive. Janson - like all Ludlum heroes, haunted by the death of a relative, in this case his wife - is caught between the government and the bad guys, and often has trouble figuring out which is which.
At first, this one seems like an atypical Ludlum novel. The terrorist who Janson is up against seems strictly minor league and the global conspiracy that is standard Ludlum is nowhere to be seen. Eventually, such a conspiracy does appear, but while it is a clever enough idea, the main villain - in certain ways obvious from the get-go - has achieved his power in a completely ludicrous way. The sheer dumbness of the villain's rise to power - even though recognized as such by Janson - hurts the plausiblity and quality of the book.
But if this is not a great book, it is still the type of entertainment that Ludlum typically delivers. For those familiar with Ludlum, there will be little disappointment here, and even for those unfamiliar with him, this will not be a bad read. While I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book, I wouldn't actively steer anyone away from it either.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Missplaced Directives!, Aug. 7 2003
By 
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
Paul Janson thought he had left the world of spies and intrigue behind. The nightmares had faded as well though he still mourned his deceased pregnant wife Helene. Her death at the hands of terrorists occurred five years ago and was the impetus for his leaving Consular Operations, a covert spy unit within the State Department.
The five years have been financially rewarding, as Janson is now a corporate security consultant. The company is his and his reputation allows him to be very selective about his clients. His calm and very orderly life is shattered when, while sitting in a VIP lounge at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, he hears an old operational alias of his being paged. What initially appears to be coincidence quickly turns into an urgent plea for help from Marta Lange on behalf of Peter Novak.
Peter Novak is a Billionaire and philanthropist who oversees the Liberty Foundation. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Novak is a visionary who has achieved peaceful settlements in some of the most war torn places in the world. While brokering a peace agreement, he was kidnapped by Kanga rebels led by the world-renowned terrorist known as Caliph. They have announced that Novak is to be executed for various crimes within days.
Not only does Janson owe his life to Novak because of a past situation, the very group responsible for killing Helene in a terrorist bomb attack has grabbed Novak. A debt of honor must be paid and Janson quickly assembles a team consisting of some of the most skilled operatives he has worked with in the past. For various stated political reasons, the United States government won't help and it is up to Janson, his four-member team and the resources of the Liberty Foundation to rescue Novak. But things begin to go very wrong from the start of the operation and Janson, feeling his age as well as his old skills returning, becomes aware that he is being used by forces unknown for unknown purposes. Compromised and suspected by his agents of his own government he thought were friends and allies, Janson finds himself soon on another rescue mission. In this case to save his own life and clear his name.
It is extremely difficult to criticize a novel by a novelist now deceased. This novel has all the usual Ludlum elements in that it features complex storylines, plots within plots, rogue elements of the United States government, honor and debts to be repaid as well as a globe trotting spy cast adrift. But it misses the human touch that made some of his work so incredibly good.
Paul Janson is a complex character full of deep emotion and pain according to the novel. And while that idea is constantly reinforced throughout the work, the novel never makes the visceral connection with the reader. There is an emotional detachment to the work, which is difficult to describe, that distances the novel from the reader and renders the repeated emotional references meaningless.
Despite the usual Ludlum elements as noted above, this lack of human connection in the work makes this an average read at best and disappointing at worst. For long time Ludlum fans with a discerning eye, this novel does not reflect the grand master at his best. Rumor has it that at least one more and possibly as many as three more are in the publishing pipeline. One can hope that one of those may reflect the grand master at his writing best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Still the Master as a Ghost(writer)..., July 20 2003
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
Well, we have two gentlemen to thank for this piece of work, Mr. Ludlum's long time agent, Henry Morrison and his editor, Keith Kahla. With a reported 90% of the manuscript completed, Messrs. Morrison and Kahla rounded out a gem in THE JANSON DIRECTIVE; this book rings true to the REAL Ludlum as opposed to the "Covert One" series carrying his name. This storyline has the same content, feel, flair, and panache as Ludlum's classics (PARSIFAL MOSAIC, THE MATARESE CIRCLE, The BOURNE series...), which makes sense in that he wrote the vast majority of THE JANSON DIRECTIVE. I guess true Ludlumites will be hoping Mr. Ludlum left behind several more uncompleted manuscripts to quench our endless thirst for his works. Regardless, THE JANSON DIRECTIVE certainly was a nice surprise.
For those unfamiliar with Ludlum, the basic premise of most of his thrillers is to create an arguable hero, a villanous cabal or individual, and place our hero against impossible odds. The price of failure? The fate of the world.
Our hero in THE JANSON DIRECTIVE is Paul Janson, a legendary superspook retired from the clandestine covert agency where he made his career. His taste for brutality and violence bitter, the loss of his wife and the desire to live a solitary existence, Janson joins the ranks of the entrepreneur and hires himself out as an industrial consultant. The peaceful life takes a turn south when he is contacted by a representative of the Liberty Foundation, a private organization devoted to peace and democracy throughout the world. The Foundation's founder and nobel prize-winning laureate, Peter Novak, has been kidnapped and is scheduled to be publicly executed...by the same terrorist group responsible for his wife's death. Janson has another reason to consider reactivation; Novak was personally resonsible for saving Janson's life many years ago and Janson is not one to forget a debt owed. Without hesitation, Janson assembles a team of star operatives to rescue Novak.
The mission, against incredible and overwhelming odds, is a success until, moments after Janson bids farewell to his team and Novak, the escape helicopter explodes into a fiery ball of flames as Janson watches. His team, his friend and star pupil, and Novak-gone in a flash. As Janson tries to piece together WHY?, he finds himself marked for death in nearly every city he passes through. Janson believes it must be operatives of the terrorist group seeking revenge for his part in the daring rescue of Novak. However, Janson soon realizes his would-be assassins are American! As the storyline builds, Janson saves one of his latent assassins from rape and certain death. This act creates doubt in the assassin, Jessica Kincaid. As soon as Janson realizes that Kincaid works for the same agency from which he retired, his peerless instincts kick in, making Jason an inexorable opponent for his former agency.
As with most TRUE Ludlum novels, the plot devinely twists and turns keeping the reader absorbed in the storyline until the final twist at climax.
While the Covert One series maintains the broad brush "ideas" of Ludlum, these books are not true Ludlum books. Do not be mistaken, the Covert One authors, Gayle Lynds and Philip Shelby, are fine writers and understand the mechanics of the spy/mystery genre. However, those of us who grew up reading Ludlum know the Covert One books are a mere shadow of what was. Lynds and Shelby lack the characterization and panache of the master; we can only hope they continue to aspire to his literary summit. Kudos again to Messrs. Morrison and Kahla for briefly quenching an insatiable deire for more of Ludlum's gems. Here's hoping there are more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surreal government plot, May 1 2003
By 
Cory D. Slipman (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
Peter Novak, multibillionaire philanthropist, Nobel peace prize winner and head of the Liberty Foundation has been kidnapped while trying to broker a peace settlement on the Indian Ocean island of Anura. A terrorist leader there known as the Caliph has refused ransom and plans to execute Novak. Using it's vast resources the Liberty Foundation reaches out to former top Consular Operations specialist Paul Janson.
Janson, now a corporate security specialist, was at one time the top covert operative in his agency. Janson was a resourceful killing machine who had spent 18 months as a POW in Vietnam before escaping. Top executives from Liberty implore Janson to rescue Novak. Janson reluctantly assembles a top notch 5 man team to extract Novak from his fortress-like prison on Anura.
In the midst of this daring raid Janson becomes aware that there is some convoluted government plot behind this abduction. He learns of some secretive information that turns him from the hunter to the hunted. Janson's own government has designated him as a rogue agent marked for assasination. Janson now must use all his elaborate training to avoid the Consular Operations teams sent out to eliminate him.
Ludlum's last offering before his unfortunate demise represents a nice effort in the action and adventure genre he made so popular.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Thrilling!!! Extremely Thrilling for a wordful person, Jan. 24 2003
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
Ive only got one complaint to make and that is the kind of words this guy chucks in his book. I was almost positive he had a theasaurus next to him when he was writting it(if he did write it of course). Fair enough hes clever and has a large vocabulary and if u understand the words u would get a better understanding.
Anyways, no matter all the words i didn't understand(although i had a dictionary next to me most of the time) i thouroghly enjoyed this book all the way through(especially when i learnt to ignore the words and go with the flow), it was full of action confusion and i liked the build up of suspense.
Ludlums ideas of interrogation, planning, confusion and wit are really wat makes this book great to read.
I would highly reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys a suspensful thriller or even a general all-round reader. Im only 15 so maybe you would understand the vocabulary better, but i look at it in a positive way, after reading this i have a whole bunch of new words logged into my memory.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, Jan. 3 2003
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
I used to look so forward to the publication of a new novel by Robert Ludlum and when I saw The Janson Directive on the book shelves that excitement was renewed. However, The Janson Directive is only a parody of prior works.
The premise is the same of most of almost every other Ludlum novel - the reluctant hero who is forced to save the world from a super secret government agency or billionaire. At lease in this case it was not Nazi's trying to establish the Fourth Reich. Add in a female heroine, who the hero saved form being raped, and one has a formula that has been successful. The Janson Directive adopts this formula lock, stock and barrel.
It would have been a more entertaining book, notwithstanding the predictable nature, if it had been 100 pages shorter. Unlike earlier Ludlum book, the author at times discusses ad nauseam the details of certain of the events so that even the action loses its impact. Ludlum is still better than most other action writers and I am glad that I read the book because it was entertaining. However, it was not one his best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Who cares if Ludlum didn't really write this?, Dec 29 2002
By 
BD Ashley "vidiot_y2k" (Otago, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Janson Directive (Hardcover)
I can't believe some of the reviews I've read here, saying that Ludlum didn't write THE JANSON DIRECTIVE. When a book is this entertaining who cares? Isn't it strange that to date, some of Ludlums best work has been published posthumously? (THE PROMETHEUS DECEPTION & THE SIGMA PROTOCOL). Anything's preferable to another of those lousy Covert One novels (Gayle Lynds is a very good writer, but why does she waste her time with that third rate drivel?)
The story centres around Paul Janson, a retired CIA man and now a much wanted and selective security guru after his wife is murdered by one of his nemeses. Predictably Janson finds himself reluctantly returning to the field after powerful Hungarian immigrant Peter Novak, a man who uses his power and wealth to give war torn and Third World countries a shot at democracy, has been kidnapped by terrorists and will be executed unless Janson and his hand-picked team of experts locate and rescue him in time. But the mission goes terribly wrong and Janson finds himself a fugitive on the run from his superiors and his own unit. And that is just the tip of the iceberg....
Admittedly, there are long, rambling passages that readers will skim over to get to the suspense, and the story takes a while to take flight, but once THE JANSON DIRECTIVE gets going theres just no letup. Very highly recommended.
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The Janson Directive
The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum (Mass Market Paperback - July 1 2008)
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