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Requiem for an Assassin [Hardcover]

Barry Eisler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Mar 2008

For master assassin John Rain, getting out of ‘the life’ was never going to be easy. But with a new identity in Paris, and the help of his lover, Mossad agent Delilah, he was hoping to leave the killing business behind.

Then he receives a message from rogue CIA operative Jim Hilger: We have your friend Dox. Do as we tell you, or the sniper dies.

The choice ought to be easy: do the job – a series of three hits – and save his friend and partner. But how does Rain know Hilger won’t just kill Dox once the assignment is complete? How does he know that each of the hits isn’t also a setup for Rain himself? Most of all, how can he control the killing rage that Hilger’s lethal game of extortion reignites inside him?

From the deceptively tranquil beaches of Bali, to the boulevards of Paris, the urban chaos of New York, and finally to the old killing fields of Vietnam. Rain must grapple not only with his brutal enemies, but also with the latent killer inside himself… a battle that not even Rain can hope to survive intact.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; First UK Edition edition (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718148959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718148959
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A Note On The New Titles

Why have I changed the titles of the Rain books? Simply because I've never thought the titles were right for the stories. The right title matters--if only because the wrong one has the same effect as an inappropriate frame around an otherwise beautiful painting. Not only does the painting not look good in the wrong frame; it will sell for less, as well. And if you're the artist behind the painting, having to see it in the wrong frame, and having to live with the suboptimal commercial results, is aggravating.

The sad story of the original Rain titles began with the moniker Rain Fall for the first in the series. It was a silly play on the protagonist's name, and led to an unfortunate and unimaginative sequence of similar such meaningless, interchangeable titles: Hard Rain, Rain Storm, Killing Rain (the British titles were better, but still not right: Blood from Blood for #2; Choke Point for #3; One Last Kill for #4). By the fifth book, I was desperate for something different, and persuaded my publisher to go with The Last Assassin, instead. In general, I think The Last Assassin is a good title, but in fairness it really has nothing to do with the story in the fifth book beyond the fact that there's an assassin in it. But it was better than more of Rain This and Rain That. The good news is, the fifth book did very well indeed; the bad news is, the book's success persuaded my publisher that assassin was a magic word and that what we needed now was to use the word assassin in every title. And so my publisher told me that although they didn't care for my proposed title for the sixth book--The Killer Ascendant--they were pleased to have come up with something far better. The sixth book, they told me proudly, would be known as The Quiet Assassin.

I tried to explain that while not quite as redundant as, say, The Deadly Assassin or The Lethal Assassin, a title suggesting an assassin might be notable for his quietness was at best uninteresting (as opposed to, say, Margret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, which immediately engages the mind because of the connection of two seemingly contradictory qualities). The publisher was adamant. I told them that if they really were hell-bent on using assassin in a title that otherwise had nothing to do with the book, couldn't we at least call the book The Da Vinci Assassin, or The Sudoku Assassin? In the end, we compromised on Requiem for an Assassin, a title I think would be good for some other book but is unrelated to the one I wrote--beyond, again, the bare fact of the presence of an assassin in the story.

Now that I have my rights back and no longer have to make ridiculous compromises about these matters, I've given the books the titles I always wanted them to have--titles that actually have something to do with the stories, that capture some essential aspect of the stories, and that act as both vessel and amplifier for what's most meaningful in the stories. For me, it's like seeing these books for the first time in the frames they always deserved. It's exciting, satisfying, and even liberating. Have a look yourself and I hope you'll enjoy them.


Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. To learn more, please visit Or Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

Product Description


Like McNab's Nick Stone and Child's Jack Reacher, John Rain is a classic character (The Times )

Eisler is exactly my kind of writer and his deadly main character John Rain is exactly my kind of guy - highly recommended (Lee Child )

About the Author

Barry Eisler spent three years in a ‘covert position’ with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. After leaving the CIA he went to live and work in Japan – where he earnt his black belt in judo from the Kodokan International Judo Centre in Tokyo. He has written four other critically acclaimed John Rain thrillers, Rain Fall, Blood from Blood, Choke Point, One Last Kill and The Last Assassin. He now lives in California. Find out more at

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read this series... 30 April 2008
This is the sixth in the series on the assassin John Rain (of mixed American and Japanese heritage). I'm giving it five stars because I've hugely enjoyed the series, although this volume is probably a four star book because it doesn't have such a strong sense of place (and culture) or the intricacy of the other books.

The plot revolves around the kidnapping of Rain's friend Dox (Dox is another great character and the bewildered humour is wonderful between Rain and Dox). He is kidnapped by nemesis Hilger to blackmail Rain into supposedly carrying out three kills. A straightforward plot but for me what makes this book and the others is Rain's characterisation and Japan (sadly only a little is set in Japan this time).

The action is always gripping (if you don't enjoy violence then these books aren't for you) and the plots interesting, plus I always enjoy the inclusion of a 'love interest'. However, for me what gives the books the edge is the way as the series progresses the reader experiences Rain's cold, barren killer personality unravelling. The first volume makes for slightly uncomfortable reading until Rain begins to question himself (for this my favourite book is 'One Last Kill' (UK)/'Killing Rain' (US)). In 'Requiem for an Assassin' Rain has tried to push aside that cold side of his character(his 'iceman' personality though the name didn't quite gel with me and felt contrived) and Rain has tentatively begun to trust more people - giving trust is something Rain finds frightening, unnerving and leaves him feeling exposed. Plus Rain discovers he has to accept 'iceman' when he is forced to kill again. The other side to Rain is very effectively shown when he is filled with fury and despair in New York.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WILL THE ICEMAN SURVIVE THE RAIN? 22 Feb 2009
By NeuroSplicer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have followed John Rain's saga from the very first book. Sure, the road had its ups and downs but it was totally unforgettable. Barry Eisler knows how to create a cool yet deadly character that will stay with you forever. The problem is, can he keep him cool and deadly while exploring fresh storyline ideas - and his character grows older?

In this latest installment Rain is forced out of his retirement in Paris. An old nemesis had abducted his friend Dox and unless he performs three naturally-looking assassinations, his friend pays the price. Is the deal just bad or is it doomed from the gates and both Rain and his friend will end up shark bait?
The clock is ever menacingly ticking; the stakes keep getting higher and higher; the locales keep changing from Thailand and Vietnam to LA, from Singapore to Rotterdam; and Rain, uncharacteristically, has to accept unsolicited help from old friends that had actually once been older foes.

The problems with this book actually started from the previous installment of the series (The Last Assassin) and they can be summarized into this phrase: Rain started having doubts. Having an alienated kid and a steady love interest has dulled his edge and diluted his determination.
Character development and fancy literally footwork aside, I think that, in the end, Barry Eisler tries to morally save his character - and in the process is corroding him to the core. A cold-blooded assassin may have his inescapable reasons to have turned out that way - but he cannot exist on a moral high-ground no matter what. And if he is no longer the cool cold-blooded assassin, he is no longer John Rain.

Having said that, I want to make clear that this is one of the best fiction books I read in years. I enjoyed both its tactics and action as well as its reasoning and detailed descriptions.

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Match Up 9 July 2007
Requiem for an Assassin is a great example of an author trying to find a way out of a characterisation cul-de-sac that he has gotten himself into and only being partially successful in his attempt at doing so.

At the end of the previous John Rain thriller, titled The Last Assassin in the US, Eisler's half-American/half-Japanese assassin had finally put behind him the never-ending (and slightly tedious) saga of his affair with the Jazz pianist Midori and returned to the arms of his Israeli lover Delilah. With an affirmed friendship with ex-Marine sniper Dox in place and the death of a dangerous old adversary it appeared that Rain was finally changing his self-imposed isolated lifestyle for a more normal one with long term human relationships, even if he wasn't giving up the business of killing.

With Requiem for an Assassin however, it appears that Eisler somewhat regrets humanising Rain in this fashion. Although when we pick up his story he is still with Delilah, living in Paris, it is rapidly revealed that Rain is having difficulty dealing with his new lifestyle. When Dox is kidnapped by another face from his past, ex-CIA spook Hilger, in an effort to coerce Rain into undertaking some wet-work, it is the perfect excuse for the old, emotionless killing machine (the Ice Man as Rain refers to that side of himself) to resurface and get back into the action.

All of which feels like something of a cop out. Over the previous novels in this series Eisler has managed to slowly humanise John Rain in a way that has always felt real and logical. There's been no road to Damascus conversion; the man has always remained a killer, but in increments Eisler has allowed Rain to grow and form long term attachments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb series
One of the best characters in this genre I've found. It also helps that I'm a jazz and single malt whisky fan!
Published 8 days ago by Lews Therin
4.0 out of 5 stars First read
This is my first read of this particular series by this author and I will be reading more of them.
Published 3 months ago by listener
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read by a master of the genre.
One of his best. For me a great read and a great story line. What more can one say about an author who is at the top of this gain except thank you for a great read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Stewart Rothwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
John rain is becoming more human and its a joy to read. Great and interesting plots, looking forward to the next book
Published 13 months ago by Martin Sear
3.0 out of 5 stars Formula getting a bit old
Don't get me wrong I love John Rain and the series overall is great (I have read and enjoyed them all). Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2010 by M. Double
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but some flaws
An ex-assassin, John Rain, is required to carry out 3 hits if he wants to see his former partner (Dox), being held hostage, again. Read more
Published on 12 May 2009 by johnverp
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Match Up
Requiem for an Assassin is a great example of an author trying to find a way out of a characterisation cul-de-sac that he has gotten himself into and only being partially... Read more
Published on 23 April 2008 by C. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller That Shines with Authenticity
Most thrillers seem like fables of super heroes straight out of the comic books. While those tales are fun, they lack a credible connection to reality that can make a story more... Read more
Published on 7 July 2007 by Donald Mitchell
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