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The Last Testament Paperback – 2 Jul 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 567 pages
  • Publisher: Harper, London (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007203330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007203338
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 3.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,455 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

Praise for ‘The Righteous Men’:

‘The biggest challenger to Dan Brown’s crown … a highly charged, theologically accurate tale’ Mirror

‘Compulsive reading … successfully blends ancient teachings with the highly charged ways of the 21st century … bears all the hallmarks of a blockbuster’ Daily Express

‘The best thriller I’ve read in years.’ Piers Morgan

'More readable than The Da Vinci Code – the sense of menace is darker and the characters more believable' Esquire

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. For nearly two decades he has covered the Middle East conflict and in 2002 he chaired a three-day dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, sponsored by the Guardian. The participants in that meeting went on to broker the 2003 Geneva Accords.

In the annual What the Papers Say Awards of 2002 Jonathan Freedland was named Columnist of the Year. This is his second novel: his first, ‘The Righteous Men,’ was a Number 1 bestseller in the UK and has been translated into 28 languages. He lives in London with his wife and their two children.


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Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Steward TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of journalist Jonathan Freedland and this is a half decent thriller novel that sadly falls down in a number of areas.
It has received mixed reviews and it is easy to see why. You could be forgiven for sighing and saying "Not another thriller novel about the unravelling of codes." This is a genre which in effect began with Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Numerous authors jumped on the bandwagon and the market was flooded with such books.

Here we enter the world of Israeli/Palestinian conflicts. An historic deal is about to be signed but a man rushes towards the Israeli Prime Minister at a rally. He is known to be an opponent of the prime ministers and is shot dead. In his hand is not a gun but a piece of paper.

American/Irish peace negotiator Maggie Costello gives up her quiet life to return to international intrigue in an attempt to keep both sides on track. Unfortunately Maggie spends little time acting as a diplomat, but plenty searching for an elusive tablet that hides a remarkable truth.
Bourne's can't quite make up his mind whether this should be an adventure novel or a more series attempt to shed some light on the Israeli/Palestine conflict.

It therefore drops somewhere between the two. The politics of the area are difficult to comprehend and Bourne seems to get bogged down in this fact with large passages that are difficult to understand within the context of the story as a whole. That said it is a page turner and a reasonable attempt to bring to life the feel of the area, but there is still something missing. It is certainly well researched but towards the end the dialogue and action borders on the silly and the final development is very predictable.
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Format: Paperback
I started this on a long train journey. If I had been at home I might not have stuck with it but I'm glad I did because it's not a bad book and certainly deserves better than the one star given by one reviewer- which is a bit unfair.
The best thing about it is it's description of the Contemporary Levant that clearly stems from the author's rich and extensive knowledge of the region and it's politics. This makes it highly topical of course and there's a positive standpoint that we can all relate to.
Sam Bourne is a journalist rather than a storyteller though, and it shows. The main characters are thin and underdeveloped and their dialogue lacks authenticity- bordering on the hammy in places. The great revelation, when it comes, isn't such a big deal and it's predictability is a bit of a let down.
Still, it's a workmanlike piece that's just about worth the effort of reading and I did learn a thing or two.But, if you want something that's in the genre that will really blow your socks off,something both intelligently written and genuinely gripping, take a punt on Craig Smith's The Painted Messiah (which I bought on Amazon together with this one). I promise you, you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
The details about antiquities were the best parts of this book, but it was a bit convoluted and with quite a lot of time and sequence jumping around, which made for a less than smooth flow and spoilt the tension. The author obviously knows his Middle East politics very well, but I had the feeling the story was steered in that direction for that reason, rather than the research serving the story. I'm not sure what it is about the Da Vinci genre, but why does the standard of writing seems lower in this area than others? It seems to me, to quote this author's own newspaper, The Guardian, about the Da Vinci code - 'Umberto Eco for dummies' - that in fact we need something leaning more towards the Eco side in this genre, than the Dan Brown mould. This doesn't necessarily mean heavy detail and a dropping off in pace. Numerous crime writers manage a cutting pace, yet with intelligence - Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, some of Harlan Coben's stand-alone books - why can't anyone seem to manage it in this genre?
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Format: Audio CD
Liek some others here I was not overly impressed with this novel and found it jumping around all over the place at the start with characters appearing and disappearing in a flash usually being murdered. Attempts to put the core of story in historical and religious context which is not easy admittedly but I found myself struggling to stay with this book , and my brother in law gave up pretty quickly. It does build up a head of steam eventually and some twists and turns work well but I could not really recommend if Im honest.
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Format: Paperback
Totally implausible plot. Completely unbelievable characters.
Sam Bourne lost me when the heroine had to log into Second Life to follow clues left there by an elderly Arab antiquarian.
Having nothing better to do at the time I carried on to the bitter end (although I'm embarassed to admit it!)
Don't waste your time or money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Jonathan Freedland`s "The Righteous Men" a lot even though it was pure hokum; I quite enjoyed "The Final Reckoning". This book I found quite dreadful. I did not care about the characters (two dimensional) and I was desperate to finish this book. Too often writers in this genre feel that they have to produce a book of at least 500 pages. Fine if you have literary skills but the results can be quite dreadful if you haven`t. This book should have been cut by at least 200 pages. Eric Ambler with this material might have produced something good.
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