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I Am Pilgrimby Terry Hayes
Synopses & Reviews
This astonishing debut espionage thriller depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest.
PILGRIM is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen. As a young boy, the Saracen barely sees his dissident father beheaded in a Saudi Arabian public square. But the event marks him for life and creates a burning desire to destroy the special relationship between the US and the Kingdom. Everything in the Saracen's life from this moment forward will be in service to jihad.
At the novel's opening, we find ourselves in a seedy hotel near Ground Zero. A woman lies face down in a pool of acid, features melted off her face, teeth missing, fingerprints gone. The room has been sprayed down with DNA-eradicating antiseptic spray. All the techniques are pulled directly from Pilgrim's book, a cult classic of forensic science written under a pen name.
In offering the NYPD some casual assistance with the case, Pilgrim gets pulled back into the intelligence underground. What follows is a thriller that jockeys between astonishingly detailed character study and breakneck globetrotting. The author shifts effortlessly from Pilgrim's hidden life of leisure in Paris to the Saracen's squalid warrior life in Afghanistan, from the hallways of an exclusive Swiss bank to the laboratories of a nefarious biotech facility in Syria.
The inevitable encounter between Pilgrim and the Saracen will come in Turkey, around the murder of a wealthy American, in a thrilling, twisting, beautifully orchestrated finale.
"Screenwriter and producer Hayes (Payback) makes his fiction debut with an exceptional thriller that boasts an utterly credible narrator who has had so many covert identities he can barely remember his original name. Soul-weary Scott Murdoch (aka the Pilgrim) has retired from the top echelon of ultrasecret espionage, but duty and faith in the human spirit call him back into service. A lone-wolf Middle Eastern native whom the Pilgrim code names 'the Saracen' has a sure-fire bioterrorist plot to destroy the United States. In the cinematic chase that ensues, the action traverses the globe, from the Oval Office to the dusty trails of Afghanistan, each scene fleshed out in the smallest resonating detail (e.g., a Down syndrome child's laughter, the endless nausea of waterboarding). Like many pilgrimages, this one is painfully long and packed with unexpected menace, its glimpses of the goal fitful and far between, but readers will agree that this journey of body and soul is well worth the effort. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (May) " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The narrative is thrilling: the tension tightens with action....It's a murder mystery, an illuminating account of contemporary international politics and a study of an unusual man....An excellent thriller which as a first novel is really remarkable." Literary Review, UK
"The pages fly by ferociously fast. Simply unputdownable." Booklist
"Once you start this taut and muscular thriller, you won't be able to put it down." Library Journal, starred review
"Debut novelist Hayes brings well-refined storytelling chops to...[good] entertainment for readers with a penchant for mayhem, piles of bodies and a lethal biochemical agent or two." Kirkus Reviews
The astonishing story of one man's breakneck race against time... and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.
About the Author
Terry Hayes is the award-winning writer and producer of numerous movies. His credits include Payback, Road Warrior, and Dead Calm (featuring Nicole Kidman). He lives in Switzerland with his wife, Kristen, and their four children.
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