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on March 5, 2011
When he was twelve, Gideon Crew witnessed his father's murder. Over the course of the following twenty years, he plotted his revenge. Gideon's vengeful machinations, however, draw the attention of a shadowy organization which believes his unique skill-set could be of great use to them.

Such is the set up for the new novel, Gideon's Sword, by frequent collaborators Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Preston and Child are better known for their series of thrillers featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, which includes Cemetery Dance and Fever Dream. With Gideon's Sword, the duo begins a new series following the exploits of the aforementioned Gideon Crew.

In an interview, Child stated that, given that Crew would be a near polar opposite of Pendergast, the style of the new series should likewise be different. And it is. The Pendergast novels offer an excellent balance of content and style, the story moving rapidly while allowing for a more in-depth exploration of both plot and character. Gideon's Sword, on the other hand, has been stripped to the bone. It is sleek and fast paced, but somewhat bare and often rushed.

Like the series in which he operates, Pendergast is a complex character whose history is largely hidden from the reader. He is mysterious and fascinating. Gideon Crew, though, exists, like the novel in which he is featured, entirely on the surface. He is brash, impulsive, young, but not especially interesting.

The plot revolves around intrigue of a vaguely political nature. There are none of the pseudo-paranormal events familiar to readers of the Pendergast series. The authors integrate such topics as social engineering and Falun Gong into the narrative without succumbing to playing teacher to the reader's student (a frequent fault of Jeffrey Deaver's). This is done fairly well, and while serving the plot, but they have done so more effectively in other novels.

In Gideon's Sword, the authors have adopted a style that is more reminiscent of James Patterson, while their previous work was evocative of Michael Crichton. This first of the Gideon books is a fun, whip-fast read, but it doesn't offer much beyond its plot. It is a literary appetizer; tasty enough, but it serves only to prepare the palate for something more substantial.

This is not entirely a bad thing. Sometimes we want a little break in between heavier reads or, to extend a metaphor, we might want a snack in between meals. I will buy the next in the Gideon series, to be titled Gideon's Corpse, but I will buy it in paperback and it will be read between more complex thrillers . . . like nearly anything else by Preston and Child.
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on November 24, 2011
Preston & Child created one of the most memorable characters in detective fiction, FBI Agent Aloyisius Pendergast, and then surrounded him with unique characters and obscure science amid quixotic locations.

Gideon Crew, their latest creation, must be compared with Pendergast, a character of the same rank as Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe and Spenser. He does not measure up. Neither does their first book.

Gideon's Sword is contrived and filled with action but no substance. It is awkwardly constructed with a mini-story at the beginning to establish the character and then a completely different story arc after the first 59 pages. The writing does improve as the novel progresses which would make me think the two writers were getting into a grove and learning how to do the job. Except these are the same two who wrote "Still Life with Crows" and an entire series of successful books covering the same ground, but doing it so much better.

This book is readable,forgettable and disposable. It's a pity.
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on March 22, 2011
I am a huge fan of Preston and Child's Pendergast series, so I was very excited to get my hands on Gideon's Sword. This is the first book in a new series, and while this doesn't have the paranormal elements that are found in the Pendergast books, it definitely has the same breakneck pacing and twisty-turning plot.

Gideon makes a likable protagonist. Despite his unusual background, he comes across as a regular guy who suddenly finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. When he is launched into a terrifying world of super spies and assassins, he is forced to use all the tools in his repertoire to stay alive. And it still might not be enough. An everyday person in an impossible situation is a perfect way to get me invested in a character.

There were a few places in the first section of the book that felt just a touch clunky to me, but by the time Gideon gets introduced to his new job, the plot was ticking along nicely. It just gets better and better from there. Fans of action-adventure and spy stories will love this one.
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on April 6, 2011
As a fan of Preston and Child's Pendergast series, I was really looking forward to this new series featuring Gideon Crew. Alas, it's a bit too lightweight and, well, silly in places. Felt like something I'd read in an airport then accidentally on purpose leave behind ... Hope the series improves with the second book.
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I was excited to pick up Gideon's Sword - the first book introducing what will be a new series and character. I wasn't as excited when I finished it though.

Gideon Crew was deeply affected by the violent and somewhat mysterious death of his father when he was a young boy. He grew up swearing to avenge his death. He is highly educated but makes his living as a thief. This sets up the back story. Gideon is approached by a mysterious government agency to retrieve the plans for a new weapon before they fall into the wrong hands.

Gideon is described as incredibly good looking with black hair and brilliant blue eyes. Women find him irresistible, but everyone seems to fall for his gift of gab. This seems to be his best weapon. Unfortunately I just found his glibness grating and those who seemed to fall for his increasingly obvious ploys gullible.

Gideon's Sword is full of action and the plot is fast paced. But is also somewhat far fetched in places. Gideon ends up with a dead man's suit after posing as his next of kin. I'm not sure why the police would not have objected as this was a murder. Gideon careens from one outlandish, improbable situation to another, talking his way through all of them. He seems somewhat callous in nature as well. He's not opposed to using unsuspecting others to further his own means. The tenderness he professes to feel for one such citizen falls flat.

I found the use of Hart Island, New York as a setting for part of the novel fascinating and went off to read more on the web.

So all the right elements are here - dynamic, good looking, intelligent bad boy does the impossible for shadowy organization with lots of hair raising situations. And yes, that is accomplished. But it just didn't make me a believer. Yes, the Pendergast novels are more 'out there' if you will. But I like Pendergast as a character and all those who populate that series and the plotlines grab me.

If these authors are new to you, I suggest you start with their backlist
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on March 27, 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a different type of story and I was intrigued with it. I didn't expect to be entertained with this book as I was used to Pendergast stories. I recommend this book.
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on December 22, 2015
I found this book so cliché that I had a hard time getting through it. Will not be reading the rest of the series.
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on August 11, 2014
what an unexpected twist - Pendergast has a rival - loved the book
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on October 4, 2014
Just discovered this author and thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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on June 3, 2016
another great book in the series. This one had more twists and turns.
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