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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 13 April 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Ignorance of Blood is a well written and well plotted story of police investigations into kidnapping, murder and terrorism set in the elegant setting of Seville.

Inspector Javier Falcon is trying to find the perpetrators of a bombing that took place a few months ago he had promised the people of Seville that he will catch them and as time passes he becomes more obsessed with it.

When a car crashes and it turns out the dead driver was part of the Russian Mafia and that a turf war over drugs and prostitution and gambling on the Costa's and in Seville is about to erupt he suddenly finds there may be a connection to the bombing case and starts to dig deeper.

As the case progresses and the bodies begin to mount up and those closest to him become involved he finds that he is willing to be as ruthless as the people he is fighting against and is willing to do things he never thought he would in order to protect those he loves.

Although the Ignorance of Blood is the latest in a series of books it is written in such a way that it doesn't matter if you have never read any of the others it is still a well executed novel. Those who have read the others will probably find extra details that make the story more enjoyable for them but the author has not drowned the book in back story so you can come to it as a one off and still enjoy it as a good detective story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2010
First off, to any potential readers, you quite simply must read the first three Javier Falcon novels before reading this. The first three are "stand-alone-ish" and can be read on their own, however this one not only picks up immediately after book three but also refers heavily to books one and two.

This is Wilson's Falcon finale. This was always planned to be the final book in the quartet and this book was intended to be THE big book that ended the entire saga. Sadly, for me anyway, it fails to complete the saga adequately.

The first three books, in my opinion, are astonishing. "Blind Man"; "Silent & Damned"; "Hidden Assasins" not only introduce but establish Javier Falcon, and characters such as Alicia Aguado, Esteban Calderon, Consuelo Jiminez, Jose Luis Ramirez, Comisario Lobo, as well as Perez, Ines, Yacoub, Jorge, Ferrera and a whole lot more. There are a lot of characters.

Over the course of the first three books we've had murder, domestic violence, "high society", Paedophiles, Russian Mafia, Islamic Fundamentalism and international terrorism. This book is intended to be the incredible climax to this deep, involving opus.

Simply: Wilson attempts too much and allows the story to become too big for him. What started off in "Blind Man" as a serial killer evolves in to secret services, spies, double-agents, plot-twists, court appearances, Catholic Fanaticism, Islamic Fundamentalism, domestic violence, Russian Mafia wars, bombings, high end business deals, corrupt politicians, paedophiles... ayayay! It all spirals away from Wilson and, sadly, in the end I think he gives up on a lot of the loose ends, desperate to bring the saga to an end as quickly as possible.

What started out as a captivating sprawl through "The Falcon Diaries" in book one; to a savagely sinister uncovering of a paedophile ring in book two; to stopping an ingenious plot to bomb London in book three - and managing to keep these entwined somehow - book four deteriorates into..? Into? Into!? Well, what IS this book about in the end?

Towards the end of the book (and I won't give away any spoilers) there is a bit where Falcon and his unit go undercover in a hotel, disguised as staff, to catch the bad guys. This is it: this is heads of state, major business players, mafia, secret agents... the lot. This is the climatic showdown. This is how the book ends. This is how the SAGA ends. This is going to be incredible reading, like the previous three books.

Honestly, Wilson rushes it, he fails to elaborate where it's needed, he just - I don't know - it just seems that at this point he realises the story's got away from him, become too big for him, and just ties up the loose ends and goes for a corny ending. A proper corny ending, too. Shame.

I really mean this when I say that Javier Falcon could possibly have gone down as one of the most important and endearing detectives in the "noughties"; up there with Michael Linqvist and Robert Langdon. The first three books, in my opinion anyway, were THAT GOOD. The finale is a total letdown, and that's sad. Really sad.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read The Blind Man of Seville, the first of the 4 book Javier Falcon series, when it came out some years ago and was a bit disappointed with it. This is the fourth in the series and there's nothing disappointing about this one. From the outset Wilson sets up a tense and multi-layered plotline that sets off waves of action. The Russian mafia in Seville, corrupt officials, a child's kidnapping, and international terrorists all combine for a tense and compelling read.

Many thrillers seem to me to shoe-horn in the writer's concerns (e.g. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) but here the plot seems to unwind organically, each twist leading to the next with a kind of fatal logic. Be warned, some of the violence is extremely gruesome, but it completely fits the characters of the perpetrators and so is justified by plot.

Towards the end, there were places where it feels like Wilson is in a bit of a rush to move on, and the prose starts to feel a bit unfinished. Not a huge problem but enough to drop a star from me. If you haven't read the previous books in the series (as I hadn't) this probably isn't the ideal place to start since it is built on what has happened in the past. But the book is complete in itself, and definitely left me hungry to go back to the previous books, even knowing how they will ultimately play out. So overall a great read, well recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First, I should say that this is a really top-class police thriller. Robert Wilson is in the first rank of proper writers, who happen to write in that genre.

Secondly, I have read the other three Javier Falcon novels as they were released, and would think that any reader would get far more enjoyment from this, the final novel, if they have a full knowledge of its predecessors.

The plot is very complex, but such is the clarity of Wilson's thinking and prose, you never feel lost or confused. The conclusion of the various threads of plot is perhaps a little too neat, and the attempt to increase the pace with ever more terse writing is obvious.

The fact that you know that this is the last in the series of Falcon novels, leads to a certain inevitability in the finale, but, as usual, the characterisation is good, the feel of Seville and Andalucia is skillfully conveyed, and the excitement builds relentlessly.

Major issues of government corruption, the fallout from the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Islamic terrorism are dealt with in a bleak statement of what is probably reality. Wilson's view of the 21st century is not a happy one.

Falcon would, of course, never be allowed to be so personally involved, or to have so much freedom to act recklessly, but that is a convention of the genre.

A great read with very serious undertones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the fourth and final book in the series featuring Inspector Jafe Javier Falcon, set mainly in Seville in the aftermath of devastating terrorist bombings. Investigation into the bombings is frustratingly leading nowhere, until a car accident reveals a boot full of money and a connection to the Russian mafia. After a while it becomes possible that there's an unexpected link here to the bombings.

What follows is a somewhat bleak uncovering of the white slave-trade in Europe, of turf wars between ruthless Russian gangs, of their control and corruption of local politics and businesses, and of how Islamicist terrorists insert themselves into this complex mosaic. But of course, this is only fiction. But Wilson makes it so plausible, especially in the human and ideological inner politics of the groups and their aims and methods.

But this isn't a treatise, it's a novel. The plot emerges from the lives of those involved, the choices they make, and the consequences they have to live with. The poetry of the prose is unusual and effective, adding depth to places and people.

Though the context is bleak, the struggle of the human spirit against corruption and evil is, in the end, uplifting.

The author has said the title reflects the importance of blood-ties and family in the story, and it is indeed this human element that is a core theme of the book.

Though this is the final book of four, it works well as a stand-alone story. Don't be put off if you haven't read the previous three. But I'll certainly be checking them out if they're as good as this. Excellent storytelling, compelling and thought-provoking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First, let me deal with what I think is a slightly unfair criticism of this book by a number of readers who have reviewed on here. Buoyed by the fact that they are getting the book to review for free, they have chosen, in ignorance, the fourth book in a series. This leads them to give the book 2/3 stars on the basis that it's not a standalone book. But that's the point of a series. To my mind it's unfair to mark down a book because of your own mistake in not reading the whole series in order. In fact, the book would be a lesser experience if it weren't part of the greater whole. So, whilst I wouldn't believe it has to be said, I'll say it: if you haven't read the other books in the series, read them first.

And if you have read the other books, you know what to expect. An exceptionally well written, densely plotted and exciting crime thriller. The synopsis of the events of the book are set out above, so I wont reiterate them. The focus of the book is on the death of a Russian mafia member outside Seville which sparks a sequence of events that lead Falcon deep into a web of Mafia intrigue which he believes may link to the Seville bombing and death of his ex-wife. But, alongside this run a number of other investigations, as well as the culmination of Yacoub's infiltration of the terrorist group, GICM. The pressures mount on Falcon leading up to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.

As hinted at the start, the beauty of a series of this length is the ability of Wilson to create fully-formed characters who engage the reader in a more encompassing way than a one-off book. It also allows a story that is more fully developed and rounded. This is a fantastic series and whilst I enjoyed this book, I'm a little sad that this is the end of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An intriguing title, an intriguing character in Inspector Jefe Falcon and a thriller packed with detail, action, subterfuge and lots more. This is a book which demands you read it slowly, so as not to miss out on the detail created by its author, Robert Wilson.

I've not read any of his earlier novels so my only yardstick would be other thriller writers. Here, this author stands head and shoulders above many of his contemporaries in this genre. Falcon is a sympathetic character, flawed as all modern policemen seem to be. He has an on/off love relationship which is, in fact, the reason why this story becomes personal.

The Russian mafia feature prominently; their disregard for human life is well exemplified in their obsessive attempts to make millions from drugs, girls, blackmail, construction contracts - you name it, Falcon has to deal with it.

And to make matters worse, there is, running through the book, a secondary storyline involving Falcon's muslim friend who spies on behalf of the West - or does he? Whatever, this secondary line does, in fact, bring all the threads - and there are many - together like a cleverly woven fabric, leaving the reader to wonder, until the last few pages, exactly how things will turn out.

I don't know if Falcon will return; I certainly hope so, not the least reason being that we learn quite a lot about the intricacies of the Spanish system and culture as we follow him through his pain and darkness. I loved this book. Please read it and enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book brings the traditional detective novel up to date; crime in Spain takes place across a grander backdrop of Russian mafia and Islamist terrorism that brings in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, with jaunts to London too. It's extremely well written, with some excellent descriptive passages. Its pace is just right; fast enough to maintain plot and pace, but slow enough to slip in some more reflective passages, and delve more into the psychology of the main characters. This is very much the strength of the book, and sets it apart from much of the genre. It's clever, with uncertainty and plot twists throughout. However, as is often the case it doesn't quite succeed fully as there are just a few too many coincidences knitting events together, and at times it's just too easy. You need to know the movements of some international criminals? Detective work? Bah! Just phone a friend in whatever agency it is and wait 24 hours and they'll get back to you. The strength of the writing itself and the extra depth of characters mean this is certainly a good book, but a certain amount of disbelief needs to be suspended to appreciate it fully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This was the first of Robert Wilson's series I've read (and the last of the series so I certainly didin't do that right!), and I thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of the fact that I hadn't read the earlier books. Set mainly in Seville, (and giving a good sense of place) but with trips to London and North Africa, the complex plot draws in the Russian Mafia, corrupt politicians and officials, the security services, fundamentalist terrorists and more to create a gripping, intricate story with many twists and turns. You do need to keep your wits about you to follow what is going on, but if you concentrate, you are in for a good story, albeit rather gory in places. Typically, the main detective, Falcon doesn't always do things by the book, and his private life and his professional life intermingle, but Wilson achieves this without the formula seeming tired or formulaic! Steer clear if your taste in detective stories runs along the lines of Miss Marple because some of the descriptions here will put you off your cucumber sandwiches! I will probably read the other two books in the series on the strength of this one. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Readers of crime novels can now indulge themselves with books set all over Europe and beyond. The Ignorance of Blood was the fist Javier Falcon I had read and also my first police procedural novel set in Spain. In fact, now I have discovered that this is the last Falcon novel I feel disappointed that having made his acquaintance, I won't be meeting the Inspector again (I rarely go back on a series).

Robert Wilson has got many of today's themes into this novel - terrorism, Russian Mafia and fundamentalism. He handles all the threads very well and builds up a convincing plot which as a fine writer he develops to its inevitable epic conclusion.

I enjoyed the exotic locations described in the book and this gave detective work a new twist for me. My only regret is that I came to this fourth book as my first and undoubtedly there are threads from the earlier three books which Wilson picks up and although this read very well on its own I felt that I was missing something.

However, certainly up there with the best of international crime novels and I would recommend it.
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