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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, great thrilling page turner
I am sad.

So after several late nights I have finally come to the end of the epic journey of the man who takes the alias of Pilgrim. It was a long book but thankfully it was a gripping enjoyable read, one that takes you from a grotty hotel in NYC to the blinding heat of Saudi Arabia.

The main character of this book is Scott Murdoch aka many many...
Published 1 month ago by hross42877

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great basic idea but let down by implementation
I've literally spent months reading this book and finally finished it today. It's a long book at almost 900 pages - as the author admits but he talks about the reader wishing it never to end. I was quite the opposite. This is a book in serious need of a ruthless editor. That said it does keep going and I did sort of enjoy the experience but really the story is pure...
Published 3 months ago by Marcus G


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great basic idea but let down by implementation, 19 Sep 2014
By 
Marcus G (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Paperback)
I've literally spent months reading this book and finally finished it today. It's a long book at almost 900 pages - as the author admits but he talks about the reader wishing it never to end. I was quite the opposite. This is a book in serious need of a ruthless editor. That said it does keep going and I did sort of enjoy the experience but really the story is pure hookum.

The Positives - there's quite a few different storylines at the start and they do keep you guessing and sort of resolve into a single plot 3/4s of the way through. There was one twist I didn't predict and it's sort of addictive.

The Negatives - each chapter is exceptionally short and every chapter has a hook to the next. For instance, a chapter might end with "at least that's what I thought happened ... but how wrong I was". This does keep the interest but once you spot it, it gets very tiresome. The basic idea of the plot is interesting - but the minor details are at times laughable. Coincidences abound and some details are plain nuts.

Am I glad I read it? Yes but I wonder what I could have read in the time instead ...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, great thrilling page turner, 10 Nov 2014
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
I am sad.

So after several late nights I have finally come to the end of the epic journey of the man who takes the alias of Pilgrim. It was a long book but thankfully it was a gripping enjoyable read, one that takes you from a grotty hotel in NYC to the blinding heat of Saudi Arabia.

The main character of this book is Scott Murdoch aka many many different aliases, he is deep deep under cover in the US intelligence world, he has done a lot of brave things over the years but nobody can know who he is, he will forever be the man in the shadows. To be in the shadows is a good thing as he has made a ton of enemies of the years.

He decides to retire and on his retirement he releases a book, now for somebody to have released a book who has been a covert super secret operative for many years might be a bad idea but he assumes the identity of another man and publishes the book in his name. Once the book is out there he heads to Paris and tries to live an anonymous life but to his horror he is tracked down and not by Israeli Special Forces or a disgruntled Greek gangster, nope he is tracked down by an NYPD cop.

So as usual I don't want to spoil the story for you as it is so vast and just a total page turner but I will try and summarise the main juicy bits!

Scott was adopted and has lots of issues with that but his wealthy adoptive parents, notably his Father left him provided for and he returns to NYC and starts to get to know the cop, Ben, better.

Investigating a murder in a dingy hotel, Ben is shocked to discover Scott's book there, it has been used as manual on how to commit the perfect murder, in this case a young woman who has now no distinguishing features left.

There is one clue, a number, this turns out to be the start of something massive as this number is a telephone number for a phonebox in Turkey, Bodrum to be exact and before he knows it Scott is on a journey that takes him to this city but as well as investigating a murder he finds himself involved in something much bigger, terrorism.

Three people, well their remains have been found in Afghanistan high in the mountains, the only clue to their killer seems to be a satellite call made to a phone box in Bodrum, Scott's case is about to get a hell of a lot worse, his murder in NYC could it be connected? Plus he is in Bodrum on the premise of investigating another murder of a US citizen, its a good job he is the best of the best because he is going to have to fight to stay on track before it is too late.

I Am Pilgrim is amazing, I loved it, I have seen reviews on Amazon which have moaned about too many countries, baddies etc, but you know what I don't care, what makes this book is the vast amount of detail, minor characters such as the Turkish hotelier are fantastic, maybe cliched but still they add humour and plus this gives us an inside look at what we possibly think the secret organisations within the US government are like.

It is a long book so set aside some time to read it but I hope you enjoy it. I certainly did.

Awarded 5 out of 5
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152 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond meets Reacher: a fantastic read, 27 July 2013
By 
Manda Scott (Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Hardcover)
If you spend enough time at literary festivals, you come to fear and loathe the 'goody bag' - a delightfully marketed sling-bag full of books you never want to read and don't quite know what to do with.

Until it isn't that: the goody bag at Harrogate Crime Fest last weekend contained a small 'taster' booklet that offered the first chapter of I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I read it late on Saturday night, bought the book on Sunday and started reading it on Monday. I finished it late last night and it's been a fantastic week's read: a big, solid, chunky, fast-paced, rip-roaring thriller, the love child of a manic union between Jack Reacher and James Bond.

The pace and international flavour shouldn't be a surprise: from the start, this reads like the book of the film and that film will be a blockbuster. This is a debut novel, and (sorry, this is a cliche, but it's true) an astonishing feat that makes sense when we know that the author has been a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, covered the Watergate scandal and went on to be a screenwriter on such luminaries as Mad Max 2, Payback and Bangkok Hilton. So when we have Bondian 'hero escapes from insuperable odds' scenes set in giant warehouses with ships on gantries being sent hither and thither and our hero hanging by one arm, desperately trying not to be recognised by the Turkish police... it's easy to imagine it on a big screen with all the action and adrenaline and testosterone.

But the book isn't all that: the premise is clever. The narrator, whom we know primarily as Scott Murdoch - although we know that wasn't his birth name - is a member of the US's 'Department' - the spies who spy on spies - a kind of Military police for the CIA - staffed with people so deniable that even the department's existence is held secret. Pilgrim (as he becomes) starts of well by executing the corrupt leader in broad daylight in Moscow's Red Square and his life goes downhill from there until the point where he's asked to be the lone 'Pathfinder' sent out to Turkey to discover all he can about a man who seems to be planning a massive bio-terror attack. Actually, it's *the* worst bio-terror attack you could imagine: engineered smallpox which will rip through the world's population and reduced it to a fraction of what it was at the start.

Woven through the spy-hunting-terrorist plot is a secondary spy-helping-NYPD plot which follows the investigation of a murder in a grimy New York hotel. What makes it different was that both the victim and - so our hero thinks - the perpetrator were women. So we have a possible lesbian subplot which is always entertaining and certainly becomes so here.

The two plots inevitably collide in a small Turkish town, but not before we've been to Paris, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bulgaria and seen side plots in London and Thailand. It's a vast, intricate, wonder of a book, full of clever use of technology and - I'm sure - a lot of research into how smallpox might rationally be spread. It also sounds a loud and clear warning: if the US government's planning is as woefully inadequate as the books suggests, then our civilisation's days are numbered.

I'm sure this will be a stellar hit, but get it early and be one of the pathfinders: It's a fantastic, fun, high-adrenaline read for the summer: just the thing to fill days on the beach or evenings at home.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
I am not usually into blockbuster thrillers but I bought this book on the basis of the great reviews it had and also because it was long, and I had some bus journeys ahead of me.
I wasn't disappointed at all. The story is absolutely gripping, I didn't feel like putting the book down at any time; on the contrary, I was compelled to keep reading. I found it a little hard to get into it in the beginning as the opening scene is extremely graphic, and I was a tad worried it might continue that way. However, the book soon moves into classic action territory, with the hero, who I was very sympathetic too, travelling to Turkey and other countries in pursuit of a terrorist. I found the plot believable, and I could understand the motivations of the different protagonists. Also, I wasn't able to predict some of the plot twists, nor did I think Hayes went for a Hollywood ending. Hayes shows a lot of skill in this novel; he follows the classic structure of the genre, but succeeds nonetheless in elevating his book above the rest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Into the trash bin, 14 Dec 2014
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
The basic plot, a Muslim extremist wanting revenge by spreading a high strength smallpox virus which traditional vaccination will not prevent,is original and plausible. But that is about the only plausible bit in the book. There are several incidents which are completely irrelevant, and also implausible/ridiculous, which seem to have been included to pad out the story and also to show how much "research" the author has done eg a special unarmed combat technique used by Israeli special forces (can be checked on google).

The denouement is pure James Bond, and as unbelievable. I was given the book as"a typical airport novel for holiday reading". It was far too long, full of cliches and unbelievable coincidences. I finished it because I wanted to see the ending, but it was hard work, and the book went into the trash bin, its natural home.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIFYING, 18 Nov 2014
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Paperback)
If i could give this less than one star i would.
The only saving grace for me was that i did not purchase this book, it was lent to me, i do not know what i did to this person but it must have been something horrific for them to give me this drivel.
It was so bad that even though I did not purchase it, i felt compelled to write a review warning my fellow readers out there to keep their distance, DO NOT BE SWAYED BY THE FIVE STAR REVIEWS.
Reading this book, I was immediately suspicious on turning the page and being greeted with a plethora of reviews that claimed this book was 'the only thriller i needed to read this year'. When a book has to justify itself this strongly, something is seriously amiss. i was proven correct.
This book is shocking in its content.
The fact that an editor allowed this to go through to print beggars belief itself.
The story, what little there is of it, centres around a man who is described as the best spy to ever exist, he is also a billionaire orphan psychologist doctor, on the trail of a 'terrorist' intent on unleashing a deadly smallpox virus on an unsuspecting American public.
That is pretty much the sum of it.
What follows is an 'investigative' plot where the spy uses factually impossible methods to trace the villain and also at the same time solve the murder of a billionaire that so happens to tie in with saving the world from the smallpox virus, that apparently is entirely possible to create in a garage.
The spy is portrayed as everything right with America, despite the fact that he is quite willing to kill a child with Downs Syndrome to achieve his goals, while the villain (charmingly named the Saracen) is portrayed as the epitomy of evil. It becomes very tiresome, very quickly.
What is truly shocking about this book is the casual racism that is liberally peppered throughout. As the main character is no doubt a reflection of the author himself this is immensely worrying. The authors understanding of Islam is shockingly backward, and perpetuates an entirely untrue image of the religion.
There is a continual belief that anybody who is not an American Christian is therefore stupid, ignorant, barbaric and backward.
It really is sickening to read.
And just to cover all bases of depravity, a quick nod to the Jewish Holocaust is thrown in also.
I really cannot understand how this book ever made it this far, please avoid.
At the end of the book, there is a quick note from the author trying to justify the appalling length of the book (over 900 pages). What he should have constructed was a letter of apology for even trying to think of a story like this.
Please avoid at all costs, the worst book I have ever come across. There is nothing that I can think of that is good about this book, maybe the cover is okay, but that's about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Rider, 10 Oct 2014
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Paperback)
4.9 stars

No idea how I failed to find this book for a year, but it certainly was worth the wait for me. This novel has the makings of everything you want in a spy thriller, except for the last chapter. What a disappointment, but I was able to hold it together.

'I Am Pilgrim' has no rivals. The author, Terry Hayes, has written about a US intelligence agent codenamed Pilgrim, retired from a very secret organization of the CIA. The President has knowledge of this group and not many more. Pilgrim aka several otter names has wiped his history from most documents, and retired at an early age at the top of his game. However, he comes out of the woodwork for a fascinating case that has stumped a colleague, Ben Bradley. Working with all the facilities available to him, we follow Pilgrim's every step, as he tells his story. It is one that stretches the credibility, but at the same time seems quite believable. He also tells the story of a worthy adversary from Saudi Arabia, named Saracen. He has quite a history that we become privy to, and we follow him as he becomes a jihadist doctor. His goal is to bring down his mortal enemy, the US, and his plan is so intricate and so well planned we can only admire him.

The author has given Pilgrim quite a background, and as an agent he is at the top of the heap. Pilgrim is capable of great cruelty, but he gains our empathy because of his extreme loyalty to his country. He is known as the best in the world, and that may be true. We learn all about how the US works in our secret society, and not all is complimentary. This is such a well,written novel, I was completely captivated.

Recommended. prisrob 10-10-14
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Racy or racist...?, 30 Sep 2013
By 
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
...or possibly both. I can't deny I thoroughly enjoyed this as a fast paced holiday read (though the linking of the New York and Bodrum murders was stretching credibility even for this genre). But the negative sweeping characterisations of both the Turkish and Saudi people seemed unecessary and bordered on racist.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For all its faults, a bloody good page-turner., 7 Aug 2014
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
I'll say right out that some of the one star commenters make fair points but give them too much weight. The book does have far-fetched scenarios, such as light sensitive mirrors, but since when did a few stretchers get in the way of a good yarn? It also has over-painted minor characters, like the Turkish hotel manager whose charmingly idiosyncatic English would benefit from the less-is-more touch. Most importantly, the author's anti-Islamic and at one point anti-union views cut through the voices of omniscient narrator and central protagonist. But even here I had no trouble separating enjoyment of a gripping story from political opinions too infrequently stated to seriously get in the way. (Those who can't make such a separation might ask themselves why on earth they're reviewing at all on tax-avoiding, zero-hours-contract-loving Amazon!)

That gripping yarn factor gets this book three easy stars from me. The fourth is on account of some superb touches, like the scene where hero discovers real identity of woman phone caller and, to conceal an excitement which might give too much away, simultaneously issues excellent life coaching to an embittered musician. Hayes is also good on adversarial dialogue, a must for me in thrillers, and - like that other flawed but thoroughly-enjoyable-when-you're-in-the-mood pensman, Lee Child - delivers the goods when it's time for the bad guys, major and minor, to get their come-uppances.

Enjoy
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too marvellous and not good enough, 8 Dec 2013
By 
Mark Dyer (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
By the end of chapter 7 one can see exactly where this book is going: boys' own, ripping yarn, characters (not in a good way); an all-seeing organisation called `The Division' (not quite silly enough - X Department would have been better) with a 29 year-old in charge who appears to be the best thing since sliced bread; sexual references in the early stages, presumably to grab the attention of the target market - teenage boys; little trailers and hooks at least every chapter, for those with limited attention-span.

The book goes on, and on, and on. As a beach book this was not bad, but when I tried to re-read it using more than half of my brain it became quite tedious. However, I did enjoy even the second time around the way that Bradley tracked down our hero - somewhat like The Day of the Jackal.

Unfortunately, that was all that compared well with good thrillers. I grew tired of the constant trailers and secrets; for example, not saying what vital items he bought in a shop, or owning up to a (not specified, of course) mistake. Our hero was just too marvellous, even before the age of 29 he had solved just about everything, written the definitive book on how to do it, and had even chosen the perfect father to have. I therefore found the comment "I was OK with guns but remotes weren't my strongpoint" particularly funny.
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I Am Pilgrim
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Hardcover - 18 July 2013)
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