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The Sign Hardcover – 28 May 2009

42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752875906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752875903
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 685,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Well, since you asked... I was born in Beirut, a Scorpio and the youngest of three. The civil war broke out there when I was 14 and my parents, in a noble effort to keep us alive into adulthood, wisely moved us to Rye, NY. I stayed there until I graduated from Rye Country Day School, then, intent on thwarting my parents' nurturing instincts, I decided to go back to Lebanon to study architecture at the American University of Beirut. Which, in hindsight, wasn't as nutty a decision as you might think. Those years, marred by repeated flare-ups of fighting and a couple of invasions, were emotionally taxing, harrowing, sometimes dangerous, often maddeningly frustrating, but always intense in the most visceral sense of the word and, weirdly enough, I wouldn't have missed them for the world. Maybe that's the Scorpio in me...

So there I was, gingerly studying architecture in the hopes of one day helping rebuild the city (rumours that a local cabal of intensely purist architects was having ugly buildings selectively blown up remain unproven). The civil war erupted again a few weeks after I graduated, and I was evacuated out from the beach down the road from our apartment on a sunny but sad day in February, 1984, by the Marine Corp's 22nd Amphibious Unit on board a Chinook helicopter, to whom I'll be eternally grateful (the Marines, not the chopper).

I ended up in London, where I joined a small architecture practice. The architecture scene in Europe was pretty bleak at that time, so I decided to explore other career options. I got an MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and joined an investment bank, selling gold-linked convertibles and other far less exotic financial instruments, surrounded by Gekko wannabes and hating waking up every day. In fairness, I have to credit those 'wilderness' years with one wonderful thing: meeting my gorgeous wife, who tolerated my exhausting yearnings for something more fulfilling and eventually gave me two incredible daughters.

I left the glamorous (at the time, anyway) world of investment banking after three years to return to my creative roots. I bounced around for a while, trying different things, and during a business trip to the Bahamas (don't ask), I met a banker who dabbled in the film business. I've always been a film geek and harbored a burning desire to make movies, so at dinner one night, I bounced an idea off him, and the idea struck a chord. I had a new partner, and we agreed to develop my idea into a screenplay -- by hiring a professional screenwriter he'd worked with.

Several conference calls later, the outlines coming back from Los Angeles weren't what I had in mind. I offered to write an outline myself. When I faxed my notes to my partner (yes, this was in the early 90s, long before email), he called me up and said, "Our man in L.A. isn't going to write this movie for us. You are. You're a writer."

So I did. And it got shortlisted for the Fulbright Fellowship in Screenwriting award, which I had to apply for under a friend's name (I wasn't eligible, but that's another long story). My next script, a semi-autobiographical screenplay about my college years during the war, was also nominated for the award a year later. Then the next year, in 1995, I optioned the film rights to Melvyn Bragg's novel, THE MAID OF BUTTERMERE and wrote the adaptation myself while completing an original screenplay called... THE LAST TEMPLAR. Buttermere found its way to Robert DeNiro, who announced in Variety that he would be producing it and playing the lead. The Last Templar... well, if you're reading this, you know that after ten years or so, it managed the quantum leap off my laptop's hard drive and into novel form, but that's a longer story, one I'll go through in a separate post...

Since then, and after working as a screenwriter and a producer on shows like the BBC series Spooks, (MI-5 in the US), I'm now solely focused on the novels, the fifth of which is THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR.

And that's about it... Thanks for taking the time to explore my ramblings, and if you do pick up one of my books, I hope you have a blast reading it. And let me know-connect with me on facebook on my Official Fan Page (and NOT on one of the others that I don't manage!). Enjoy!

Product Description


A pulse-pounding thriller (DAILY TELEGRAPH) of the top writers of intelligent thrillers. This is a humdinger that taps into our deepest fears over the state of the planet. (PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH)

A thoughtful book with a powerful message and yet also a thrilling read with compelling, well-developed characters. Highly recommended. (LIBRARY JOURNAL)

Readers who like their thrillers to have a solid intellectual component will enjoy Khoury's books very much. Given the high quality of each of his novels, it seems fair to say that he may be around for a while. (BOOKLIST)

Unrelenting action and a suitably twisted ending... (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Book Description

What event could unite the world in peace - or in war?

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. L. Littlefield on 9 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Having read a previous reviewers rather modest opinion on this book, I was somewhat confused as to whether I had indeed read the same book. I can only say that 'The Sign' fully met all my expectations from Mr Khoury and I feel this is without doubt his best novel to date.
The book starts with a scientific expedition to witness the break up of an Ice-shelf in Antarctica but they witness something far more than they bargained for. How is a priest on a mountain top in Egypt and a reformed car-thief in Boston linked?. The book cleverly includes the role of religion in politics and with Mr khoury's usual unsurpassed skill he combines a very fast paced thriller with a blend of the modern and ancient.Is there a sinister plot lurking somewhere in the bet your life there is and it all comes to a thrilling finale with a pulsating high crescendo......will good conquer evil?.(You will have to read the book yourself to find out) Next book please Mr Khoury, I can't wait.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By b on 31 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book interesting with a number of strong ideas but also overlong and perhaps falling into the trap of being a 'novel with a message' rather than a taut thriller.

A mysterious symbol is seen above sites of global warning and then reappears in the Egyptian desert above the monsateries of Wadi Natrun provoking a worldwide media scrum to track down the message and a battle between religious groups to explain its significance. Meanwhile, former car thief Matt Sherwood discovers the apparation is somehow linked to the mysterious disappearance of his brother and is kidnapped by a powerful group of thugs, uncovering a conspiracy that reaches deep into the heart of American society.

It's definitely a book with a lot to say, but this hampers the speed and action of the development of the story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 31 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is book number three by Raymound Khoury. I finished my review of his second book "Sanctuary" by say "I think the author can become very quickly one of my great favorites." Well, I suppose I can state now he is a great favorite of mine.

Again this is a fast running thriller and the plot is just fanatsic.
Raymond Khoury is a superb storyteller. This is indeed first class mystery telling. From page one the reader gets hooked and swept into the story. The characters are very different, rounder and interesting than in the usual thrillers. They are no sterotypes and do not talk or act like robots. Again he takes up the religious aspect but drives it into a compeltely different direction. It is not about what a certain religion is falsely based upon and tries to hide, but about religion itself - its powers, its dangers and its abuse. He combines this with the global worming issue. It might seem odd at first glace, but it just works.

But there is a different layer. It is not all about action and crimes. But Raymound Khoury argues about religion, argues about the protection of the environment and developments in the US. I suppose it might ruffle a few feathers, but I enjoyed this. It forces one to reflect. Well done Raymound!

An additional aspects which I enjoyed: a great deal of the story is set in Boston and Cambridge MA and the area around - as I had studied in Cambridge MA this was a wellcome trip down memory lane for me.

All in all, this is a great book. I enjoyed every page of it. There was not a single second of boredom.
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Format: Paperback
Khoury's novel reminds me of another recent-ish novel by an author whom I now forget whose plot centred on a team of scientists firing up a CERN-esque device and claiming to find God within - though it all turned out to be the usual typical bogus event driven by a devious mind with megalomaniac tendencies. Anyway, Khoury's The Sign is of the same concept with its unexplained phenomenon seen over both the Antarctica ice shelves, the Arctic wastes and in an Egyptian cave where the living saint, Father Jerome, is holed up confused and hearing the Voice of God.
Whilst grandiose fervour follows the appearance of the Sign - ably reported by Gracie, a reporter whose team are always in the right place to capture it all for the Global Media - the sub plot follows Matt Sherwood who is being hunted by the shadowy figures represented by Drucker and Maddox behind the Sign because of his fraternal proximity to the billion scientist, Rydell, who might have made it all possible.
Throw into the mix a group of tele-evangelists headed by Rvd. Darby who grasp the fiscal potential of the events and you have an explosive combination that Khoury exploits to its fullest until we reach an atypical conclusion for the human foes and the new global truth the Sign attempts to provide.
The characterisation is pretty good, the three key subplots touching then eventually combining for the climax and Khoury explores to some safe level the subject of dogma and doctrine whilst throwing in the chases, technology, fight sequences and conspiracies that are the structure of the novel. The media - indeed, most of humanity - is portrayed as somewhat gullible and manipulative yet the aim of the conspiracy backfires somewhat with the realisation that genuine "truth" will eventually win out.
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