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36 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Gripping, Very Entertaining
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...
Published on July 3 2004 by Travis Hebrank

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just_a_just_review
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...
Published 21 months ago by A_Just_Reviewer


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining--you won't be disappointed, Dec 4 2003
By 
"jmm114a" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Ken Follet book, and I couldn't have been more pleased! Follet brilliantly takes the reader back to the pre-World War I/Russian Revolution era in a vivid, yet easy-to-read style. The plot is fast moving and keeps the reader engaged throughout. Follet's only shortfall, from my standpoint, came in his effort to make "the man from St. Petersburg" himself somewhat sympathetic. But overall, this is a good thriller, set in an era which Follet masterfully brings to life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Follett's best., Nov. 27 2003
By 
Suzanne G. Bowles "Dr. Sue History Prof" (Florham Park, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm a fan of Ken Follett's work & intend to read all his stuff. I have read 5 books so far. This was a disappointment, though. At first it seemed like nothing more than a historical novel bodice-buster, but then the plot did pick up. The main problem, though, was the character of Feliks. Follett wants to make him at least a little sympathetic, maybe a lot, but it didn't work for me. Feliks is a big, smelly, dirty, cruel, ruthless, coldblooded Communist assassin. The fact that he's good in the sack & glib with words does not compensate for his evil. And can Charlotte really be that stupid? Oh, well. They can't all be winners.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Follett is better than this., Sept. 3 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
This could have been a much better book. So much good raw material and fascinating history, as noted by other reviewers. But, also as noted by other reviewers, his plotlines are often too implausible. I can suspend belief to a certain degree, but all too often Follett comes up with plot turns that are so implausible that it spoils the story. Follet can do better than this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good story, worth the read, April 13 2003
By 
Nicole "nix100" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
another follett win! what a great story. i highly recommend the book. if you haven't read follett before, this is a good place to start and one of his better books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson without having to take notes., Feb. 13 2003
By 
Gregory Bascom (San Jose Costa Rica) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Page Turner, July 23 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
Follett does a great job of developing and describing the four main characters in the novel. He also does an excellent job of describing the setting and time in which the novel takes place (pre WWI). Once you begin this book you should set aside some time because you find yourself reading all day. This definitely ranks in my top ten.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Job by Author, April 7 2002
By 
John G. Hilliard (Toronto Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
This is not a bad effort from the author but his recent books have been better. It sometimes seemed to me that the story line was moving away from the believable. The story did move very quickly and you can stay interested in the book for many hours at a time. The most fun I got out of the book was the descriptions of the time frame and the tradecraft used. If you are interested in reading some of his earlier works then I would suggest Triple or his best work Pillars of the Earth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read, May 11 2001
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
Ken Follett has done it again! The book is based in the early 1990's, the World War 1 as a backdrop. The protagonists are from Russia and England, two major players in the World War. Along with giving an interesting insight, into the politics carried out by leaders and influential people in a nation, which ultimately go on to determine the fate of the whole world, it delves deep into the psyches of the main players - common people with emotions and weaknesses not different from yours or mine. The best thing I liked about this book, is that the characters are so real.And there are no heroes or villains. You sympathise and empathise with each of the characters at various times as you read along. With the narration being of such a high quality, I wondered how Ken Follett would manage an ending which would do justice to the story so far. Ken Follett did not let me down.The ending could not have been better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, Feb. 12 2001
By 
avdr (san diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (Mass Market Paperback)
ken follett writes another winner.feliks is a russian anarchist who is on a mission to assassinate someone to prevent war.If war breaks out,russian civilians would be the majority of the victims and nothing will stop him feliks.not even his past resurfacing.a great thriller that will keep turning pages all night.recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, But..., Jan. 20 2001
This review is from: The Man from St. Petersburg (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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The Man from St. Petersburg
The Man from St. Petersburg by Ken Follett (Mass Market Paperback - Aug. 5 2003)
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