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Pantheon Hardcover – 16 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (16 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007413637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007413638
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He has written a weekly column for the Guardian since 1997, having previously served as the paper's Washington correspondent.

In the annual What the Papers Say Awards of 2002 Jonathan Freedland was named Columnist of the Year. His first novel, 'The Righteous Men,' was a Richard and Judy Summer Read and a Number 1 bestseller. His next two novels, 'The Last Testament' and 'The Final Reckoning' were both top ten bestsellers. He lives in London with his wife and their two children.

Product Description

Review

***** ‘Shifting his focus from hi-tech present day conspiracies to a very dark chapter of the second world war, Bourne has proved he can more than rub shoulders with the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Harris.’ Mirror

‘Pantheon is a propulsive, satisfying novel which burns with moral indignation, earning Bourne his place at the thriller-writers' high table.’ Guardian

‘Ingeniously constructed … a page-turner which maintains the tension’ Observer

‘An intelligent thriller with a vividly drawn wartime atmosphere’ Independent

‘A compelling story that combines the personal traumas of war, its headline dramas and the tragic tension that can arise between them. A disturbing delight.’ A D Miller, author of SNOWDROPS

About the Author

Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He has written a weekly column for the Guardian since 1997, having previously served as the paper’s Washington correspondent, and presents Radio 4’s contemporary history programme, The Long View.

In the annual What the Papers Say Awards of 2002 Jonathan Freedland was named Columnist of the Year, and in 2008 he won the David Watt Prize for Journalism. His first novel, The Righteous Men, was a Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller. His subsequent novels have all been top five bestsellers. He lives in London with his wife and their two children.


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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on 10 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Having started reading this I felt compelled to finish it. I wish I hadn't done either.

The plot is superficial, the characters transparent and unpleasant, and the whole thing is stretched out over about 300 pages more than it can sustain. On top of that we're supposed to forget that Nazi Germany didn't actually invade the UK and that the US only joined the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbour, neither of which was brought about by the supposed heroics of the main protagonist who we're asked to believe saved the UK.

Please don't buy this book; it'll only encourage him to keep churning out more of this kind of rubbish.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Penelope Simpson on 6 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
My first Sam Bourne, taken out of the library because I heard the author being interviewed on the radio and liked the plot idea.

It's terrible. Boring, rambling, pages and pages of exposition, suddenly interspersed with about three lines of action, all of it incredible.

Phone call to Master of Oxford College (a man who 'knows everybody') 'I need a passage across the Atlantic in 1941 and if you don't get one for me, I'll tell everybody about your pregnant mistress.' My, my, that's original. And is the Master a ticket agent?

It goes on like this with an increasingly dislikeable and ludicrous protagonist lurching about all over the place doing nothing of interest other than find potential nuggets of truth which he reduces to trivia.

Terrible. And what makes it worse is that it's badly written for which there is no excuse at all as the writer is an excellent journalist. Don't bother if you haven't already bought it. Or, if you're an aspiring writer, have a look and be appalled.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By richard Brown on 9 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
For my money Robert Ludlum did not write too many second class novels but Sam Bourne's 'Pantheon' reminded me of those early Ludlum thrillers such as 'The Matlock Paper' and 'Trevayne'.

Freedland (Sam Bourne) has other similarities to Ludlum, all his previous novels have been 3 word titles starting with 'The'. There is also an obsession with dark conspiracies and in this story, a Nazi plot. VERY Ludlum! But where Ludlum was a master at cranking up the pace and leaving the reader breathless at the end of each cliff hanging chapter, Bourne (another Ludlum link-surely) is unable to manage that.

I did enjoy the setting and attention to detail but the central character(Zennor) was rather one dimensional as were the villains.

My first by this author.I will give him another go in the hope that he has written a better book than this.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was expecting this to be a very good book. Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an excellent journalist and broadcaster whose work I enjoy very much. Sadly, the same cannot be said for his fiction.

Set in 1940 the main protagonist is James Zennor, an Oxford don wounded in the Spanish Civil War, physically and mentally scarred and unable to join up and fight the Nazis. His wife and son vanish and he eventually traces and follows them to Yale in the USA where he realises that Something Suspicious Is Going On and that He Does Not Know Whom He Can Trust. This, basically, is the plot of the first 300 (yes 300) pages of the book. There is a great deal of scene-setting in flashback, details of the Spanish Civil War, stuff about the contrast between life in Britain in 1940 and that in the USA and, frankly, a huge amount of superfluous verbiage. There are endless paragraphs where Zennor repeats to himself what we already know and speculates about perhaps this or maybe that and it all adds up to very little. It is phenomenally slow and even the bits where something actually happens didn't really grip me. I found that there were several "oh, please" moments and the "revelations" were largely visible from a long way off. When the Dastardly Plot is finally revealed it is self-evidently repugnant, but we still have to have its repugnance explained to us through yet more of Zennor's internal monologue, and I began to feel seriously patronized at this point.

The prose is competent and there is a lot of laboriously demonstrated research on show but details, particularly in the dialogue, fail to convince.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
This was the first Sam Bourne book I had read, I will certainly read more of his. The story line was plausible, I still wonder if it really happened. I found it quite emotional in parts - a little scary. I enjoy books that have some history attached to them - history woven into the story. I would recommend to anyone interested in second world war history.Pantheon
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Format: Kindle Edition
Unfortunately I have to agree with most of the negative reviews of Sam Bourne's latest work. I had read Mr Bourne's (Freedland's) other books and found them perfectly passable but this one is a disappointment on a number of levels.(Spoiler alert!)
1) The main character is not engaging and while I vaguely sympathised with him, I found him infuriating and inconsistent.
2) The repetitive nature of the declaration of Dr Zennor's love for his wife and child really got on my nerves. It reminded me of the old adage about good movies "Don't tell me, show me". By repeating the same sentiment over and over the author did not make it more true of make me believe it more I simply felt a sensation of "I get it, now get on with it".
3) And this is my biggest bugbear is that the author judges writings and opinions of the early 20th century with the knowledge and sensitivities of the 21st century. We all understand that the Third Reich has altered the perception of eugenics irreversibly, but tarring everybody who saw this as an interesting idea in 1905 with the same brush as the people who sent millions to their death is at best lazy and at worst intentionally misleading. One major plotpoint is also based on a flawed logic that war is a way of weeding out the inferior subjects from a society. This would be vaguely true if the war would be fought in individual hand-to-hand combat but bombs don't differentiate between the capable and the unworthy.
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