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4.5 out of 5 stars26
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 September 2008
It might be helpful to know that Survivor is a sequel to Tom Cain's first book, The Accident Man. I mention this because it is not made explicitly clear on the book's cover or the inside flap. Both books are about Samuel Carver, a professional hit man who specializes in assassinations that looks like accidents. A third book is in the works.

After a short prologue, Survivor opens approximately 3 months after the conclusion of The Accident Man. Carver is in a Swiss sanitorium, suffering the effects of being tortured at the end of the previous book. Survivor starts sluggishly, taking about 100 pages to introduce the various characters and fill in Carver's back story. It finally takes off when Carver's love interest, the exotic Russian spy Alix Petrova, goes back to work for her former KGB handlers, who also try to knock Carver off, but instead propel him back into his former world. From there, it's a highly readable, fast-paced thriller that barely lets up. As with The Accident Man, the plot derives from real life events which adds a small semblance of credibility. One thing I disliked about The Accident Man was the way that Carver was supposedly this professional at the top of his game but could turn into a bumbling amateur for love. Thankfully in Survivor he has much better control of himself and his abilities.

Cain still has a problem with character development. The relationship between Alix and Carver is a major plot element but it never feels credible. Likewise the arch-villain's motivations are silly in the extreme. The ending also felt rushed, as if Cain had a deadline to meet and lost interest in what he was writing. There is one character who appears throughout the book because she is key to the conclusion, and then she barely rates a mention in the final chapters.

Survivor is not the best thriller I've read this year, but it's still a fast paced and exciting read that makes an excellent distraction for a few hours. 3.5 stars.
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At the end of The Accident Man, Sam Carver is injured and traumatised being tended by girlfriend Alix as the medical bills mount up.....
An unusual start to a thriller which remains in Robert Ludlum territory. Carver is an assassin (we can like him because he only takes out the bad guys) and the Accident Man was entertaining enough with potential for further books.

When Alix disappears, this is the final spur Carver needs to start his recovery and when he discovers she is back in the hands of her old Russian paymasters he (for the second book running) sets off to get her back...
Meanwhile Alix has been told Carver is dead and has been tasked with the recovery of a list of Russian bombs planted in the West before an American religious zealot uses them to counter his perceived threat from muslim terrorists.

Set before 9/11 this is an interesting take on the rise of Osama Bin Laden (although he is hardly mentioned) and fact it is only the `bad' guys in this that realise the danger from extremists. So as with Carver, there are no clear black and whites in this, and the action moves quickly and there is plenty of it. Where this does fall down (as with the previous) is in the relationship between Carver and Alix, it just does not feel right or logical. Within weeks of being told Carver is dead he suddenly becomes a distant memory to Alix and her motives are not very clear. The book also feels very rushed towards the end, but there is still a bit in here to enjoy.

Like The Accident Man this had great potential and the author can write a good thriller - I just hope he starts to focus on what he's good at and not the relationship stuff!
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on 7 July 2013
I really enjoyed this book even though i read it before his first one which is bit of a drawback. However, it is not vital and this is a fast moving thriller which is easy enough to read and the plot is good though a little unbelievable. Still worth 5 stars though especially if you are on the beach, on a plane or an insomniac at 3 in the morning.
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on 6 November 2014
I have often deliberately avoided books which mix fact with fiction. Tom Cain, however, has mastered the art of the "mix" and I found The Survivor so good I was reading it late into the night and early morning whilst my wife slumbered! Super stuff.
Tony Lincoln
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on 17 April 2009
Having read "The Accident Man" I moved on to "The Survivor" because I just had to know what had happened to Sam Carver and the book did not disappoint.I just have to wait for the next Tom Cain.
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on 6 December 2013
Right up there with Grisham but with the action and insight of Chris Ryan - fantastic!

Just want to know when is the next one coming out, Tom can't write fast enough!!
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on 18 December 2014
Great central character good flowing story have purchased all of cai s carver books as I like the story worth buying and getting good lost into the book
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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2011
You need to read the previous book in order to fully understand the first quarter of this book. Even so, this first quarter is rather mind-numbing from a thriller storyline point of view. Thankfully, the author flicks a switch and Carver, with a little help from his Scandanavian friend is back to fighting fit. He's also back on the hunt for his missing girlfriend, not for the first time, it has to be said.

Still, love can addle the brain and Carver's is no exception. It's already been noted that Cain is not so good when it comes to developing character, particularly between Alix and Carver. There is no frisson, no understandable reason why Carver is so besotted and, in fact, why Alix feels as she does for Carver.

However, if you put that to one side, Carver is back to his old ways and intent on saving the world from an oddball American who wishes to bomb Jerusalem. Don't ask.

When the action takes place - and there is plenty of it - Cain does a good job. In this respect, it makes the first part of the book all the more unrealistic, for Carver is almost unstoppable. Even with a broken ankle and a badly sprained other ankle he manages to walk tall carrying the body of his girlfriend to a waiting Black Hawk. Now there's guts for you.

I don't mind this interplay between Carver and Alix. It's hardly 'Gone With The Wind' but then I'm sure we don't buy these books to read anything other than a little piece of escapism - a sort of comic for adults.

It's all been done before and I would award 3.5 stars if I could but, all told, I liked the book, the larger than life character of Carver and his determination to get rid of the bad guys the quickest way possible. I learned something about linseed oil, too. I really must take care when I'm next oiling my cricket bat or sparks may well fly at the crease.

I have the next one to read so I wonder where that will take us.
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on 1 August 2014
This is the second Sam Carver book and I thoroughly enjoyed it ,the twists and double crosses keep you hooked, off to get the next one !!
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on 26 July 2013
Book bought for my husband as a present he is a Tom Cain fan and he liked the book very much and it arrived on time.
Mrs J
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