Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"The Ambler Warning" Review

  • Title:  "The Ambler Warning"
  • Author: Robert Ludlum
  • Finished:  February 25, 2010
  • Synopsis:  Harrison (Hal) Ambler, a State Department Consular Operations agent, finds himself in a high security psychiatric facility. While in ConOps, Ambler was an extremely valuable member of the "Political Stabilization Unit" because he is basically a human lie detector. Ambler has been so drugged/confused by the staff that he doesn't even know who he is anymore. With the help of a nurse, Ambler escapes the facility and begins trying to put together the pieces of his life that led to his incarceration. Now that he has escaped, Ambler has to avoid both recapture by those who put him in the facility and death by the security forces that he has tangled with over the years.  He is also struggling to prevent an assassination that may start another World War.
  • Impression of the book:  This novel was a classic Ludlum story - a covert agent of the U.S. government on the run and surrounded by enemies he can't know.  The agent can't trust his "friends" or his enemies.  I think that Ludlum (or his ghostwriter to finish this one) is the best at weaving the complicated storyline that makes a great spy thriller.  Of the 26 novels that Ludlum wrote/outlined/story-boarded, I would put this one in the top 10.
  • Read Again Scale:  7
    • I occasionally find myself to the Ludlum section of the library, and when I am there, I often pick up a new novel plus one that I have read before.
  • Read Another Book by the Same Author:  10
    • I think this is actually the last novel to be legitimately attributed to Ludlum.  His name has basically became a trademark or brand after his death.
While reading a Ludlum novel, you always feel like you have read this story before. I think the familiarity with the "shadow elements" in all his works is what produces that deja vu. Clearly, I have been hooked on the overly complicated conspiracies that Ludlum cranked out before his death for a long time (since about 6th grade). I have read most of his novels and probably have about half of them in hardback.  If you like spy thrillers, this one is a good read. It is also a pretty good one to introduce someone new to the genre to the twists and turns of a good spy novel.

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