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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 20 September 2009
I'm in complete agreement with J. D. Whittle on this one, although I made it about half way before putting myself out of my misery and giving up. I don't normally write reviews on books I don't finish, as I feel it is unfair on those reading the review and the author. However, I feel so strongly about this book I'll make an exception. The "humour", such as it is, is terrible, misplaced and childish. The plot, from what I could make of it, was non-existent, derivative and slow - something to do with a sword. In fact I'm so unsure of what the book was about, it was never explained in any detail. By the time I got half way I could fathom no link between Payne and Jones (the main protagonists) investigating a cave full of blood and a missing boy in Korea, and events in Mecca. To be fair, such a link would have been explained in the rest of the book but I had ceased to care.

Payne and Jones have to be two of the most annoying characters in this type of fiction. Unbelievably smart, nothing can beat them, be it terrorists, codes, whatever. They are "too" clever to make them plausible. For a smart man, Jones is equally childish. Like in an earlier book, the author spoon feeds us the story, telling us that something is going to happen, or someone going to die, before it has happened. I want to be surprised, not let into the secret beforehand. Terrible.

Not recommended.
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on 13 March 2016
There is nothing bad to say about this book. I highly recommend it. The story grabs you and pulls you in from the moment you start to read. The two characters are brilliantly written. They bounce off each other which gives the book some fun. I would recommend this to anyone who likes action, adventure with a bit of history mixed in for good measure.
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on 24 October 2007
I picked this book up at a rail station, then when I checked the author's last book and saw all the one and two-star reviews, I groaned, thinking, 'Here we go, I'm in for a rough ride.' I even checked the same book on Amazon US to see if it was one of those US-UK divide things: No, one of the main literary reviews described it as a 'sophomoric Dan Brown effort'. And that just about sums this one up as I got into it. To be fair it's not that bad to deserve one or two stars (so either he's upped his game since last time, or those were a bit unfair). By the same token it's far short of the four and five star ratings too, so those seem equally suspect. Maybe this author is like Marmite?? For my money some of the scenes weren't that badly written and the basic premise wasn't bad. But far too many scenes headed nowhere and seemed just to be padding to draw the story out. And others, well, this is where I think he really messes up: they come across as childish (or sophomiric, if you will), particularly where he attempts humour. Far too many lame puns and jokes that just don't work and come across as frat humour gone wrong. To do this successfully you've got to be a wily old fox like Harlan Coben. This author isn't - far from it. I was tempted to give this just two stars because of that factor, but gave the benefit of three because of the basic premise and some of the half-well written scenes.
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on 8 June 2012
This book started well and the first chapter or so had me captivated. However, it pretty much ended there. I would have liked the story to concentrate around the female archaeologist and the exciting find that I thought could have had endless possible stories attached to it...disappointingly, the story didn't come back to her until almost the end and I still fail to understand the connection between what she found and cave in Korea/terrorist plots in Mecca. Ultimately, this book felt a bit like "Team America" saving the World for terrorists...again. I actually have no problem with storylines like this as long as they are written well but I almost gave up half way through. To me, the story reads like a poorly written film script. It is almost like the author has watched too much 24/Die Hard movies. It is full of clichés and the male bravado between the two main characters, Payne and Jones, just made me cringe. I also didn't really care in the end whether they survived or not.
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on 22 November 2007
I Bought this waste of a tree at a bus station newsagent. Having relatively enjoyed similar generic offerings from Dan Brown and Sam Bourne (The Righteous Men), I was, stupidly, seduced by the very cool cover, the synopsis on the back and the boastful 'Best-selling author of...' claim; Why didn't I bother to even read a couple of paragraphs? I've been asking that question for a while now, but with no answer forthcoming.

Five minutes into my 3 hour bus journey, having made myself as comfortable as is allowed in a intercity coach, I started reading 'Sword of God,' and an hour and a half later, after a recurring sequence of reading for five pages, feeling the urge to ram the book down the chemical toilet; picking it up again twenty minutes later - 'it can't be that bad...'- then realising I'm in bother, as the toilet is now occupied; I came to the realisation that this is a really bad book. By any standard.

As I have only read the first thirty to forty pages, I can't tell you what happens in this book, and I ask you: 'Does it really matter?'. This book is very badly written. Firstly there is absolutely NO depth to the locations or, more worryingly, the characters. You get the feeling that Kusnezki has been sitting infront of his PC, googling possible locations in the middle-east. The settings are purely one-dimensional, seemingly limited to only how far a distance they are away from the main airport in the chosen country. The characters, souless and a slight to the term, are cliches upon cliches, wrapped in cheesy c-list movie stereotypes. The 'humour,' another very loosely applied term, extends to the pitifully juvenile and degrading jokes of the action-hero's African-American sidekick - 'Is it because I'm black?' comes immediately to mind. These points, coupled with Kusneski's infuriatingly annoying need to continually explain terms of common usage - for no discernable reason - as if his readers are from the lowest genepool (one example: 'light emitting diode (LED)'); and the absolutely maddening incessant name-dropping and use of cultural slogans ('Heinz park, Pittsburgh'/'location, location, location' to name but a few); make this a book that I'd entreat you to avoid like the plague.

This isn't me having a go at the genre, as I do like the odd action book to read on holiday, on the bus, train, or plane; but surely there has to be some level of depth to the narrative and characters. The only crumb of comfort is that it now has pride of place on my coffee table and is part of a new game - basically we take turns at opening a page at random, and pick out the most cheesy phrases we can find. I guarantee you, it doesn't take long...
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I picked this up in a train station, when I started reading it I was almost immedately struck by the lack of any background info any kind of build up. The story cracks along at a fair pace but, I found it uninvolving and didn't really care if they lived or died. As the book progressed the plot did develop and threads began to tie in together I found it to be a very very pale imitation of Clive Cussler or even early Tom Clancy. This book did not in any way capture my imagination or make me want to rush out and buy any more by the same author.
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on 23 February 2014
When Payne and Jones are 'requested' to find a missing comrade from their military days they could never have foreseen the outcome. From an island off the coast of Korea to the holiest of Muslim sites, they use their ingenuity and humour to get the job done.
Chris Kuzneski has once again seamlessly integrated adventure, humour and intrigue to bring out a great story.
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on 23 May 2015
This author has cost me a fortune. His books are that good I have now bought and read them all, and planed visits to some of the sites he describes. His weapons, tactics and places are spot on. He writes fast paced exiting stories, the best entertainment I`ve had for a long time. Thanks I look forward to your next book and possibly a filim
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on 28 November 2007
The only compensation for buying this virtually unreadable 'thriller' was that I wasted only £4 while getting some supermarket loyalty points.
'Sword of God' is full of travelogue information, bracketed explanations and potted history given in the form of unnatural sounding monologues from the story's protagonists. Indicators such as, "he joked" point the way to the 'humour'.
I am amazed that so many other thriller writers (but no critics) have given such good reviews to this book. Do they share the same publisher?
The many plot contrivances that protect the heroes from any real danger, together with the mindless violence, will probably persuade some fool in Hollywood to buy up the film rights.
Avoid.
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on 12 February 2008
When I came to read this, I was unaware that it was another book in the Payne, Jones and Dial sequence. On discovering this I was filled with a certain amount of expectation, having enjoyed The Sign of the Cross some time ago. Unfortunately this eventually turned to disappointment due to the way the plot unfolded. The side plot concerning the discovery of original aspects of the Koran has echoes in other books that concern the discoveries of early Christian texts that affect peoples beliefs. In this case however Kusneski has completely glossed over the discovery, choosing to confine the findings, undisclosed, to a secret archive. Why is this I wonder? In his notes Kuzneski says that he was apprehensive about writing about these themes. If so , why bother in the first place!
I personally would have preferred more historical background, being a fan of books that concern the origins of belief systems, although I appreciate that such books are not entirely accurate.
The final chapters do little to build up a sense of excitement, resulting in an anti-climax. Halfway through the book I was looking forward to picking it up again but at the end I had a feeling that I just wanted to get to the end of the book and start a new one. However I have not given up hope on these characters and look forward to another edition in this sequence.
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