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I'm a big fan of the other Preston/Child hero - and so was excited to give this series a go. While the writing style and sense of adventure (and even some characters) are familiar - the hero didn't quite inspire me as much as I would have hoped. Having said that - there is good potential so I'll definitely be giving other Gideon titles a go. The audiobook edition was excellent so all in all good value.
the character Gideon was full of promise. Brilliant revenge can make for a sharp, page turning, uplifting story. But i think the authors fell short of their abilities. Certainly it's fun but the reader often has to suspend their intelligence. Gideon engages in highly risky and uncertain actions, when vastly simpler methods exist to achieve the same objective. UsuallyLee and Child's craft scenarios that have realistic contraints forcing the protaganist into difficult and critical situations. But in Gideon's Sword, the pretext for the contraints are weak at best. Usually just a request by Gideon's employer. But Gideon's uniqueness and strength is that abides by no rule but follows a higher moral code. I feel like the book was rushed to market and needed another major re-write so that most of the action sequences could be justified through a more thoughtful plot foundation.
A weak and helpless child watches as his father is killed and family name ruined; at his mother tells him on her death bed that his father was a patriot, honest, courageous and his alleged treason plus shooting was really a murder all created to provide a certain U.S. general with a scapegoat for a bad decision.
Gideon spends the next 10 years mastering his independence of people and entanglements earning his doctorate in applied physics while also secretly engaging in 2nd tier art museum theft for the his own appreciation needs and to fund his education and revenge expense, After graduating he gets a job as a junior scientist at Los Alamos helping make the next generation of nuclear bombs; he pursues trout fishing and planning to avenge his father's scapegoating and murders. Early in the book, he gets an information break with his 24/7 homemade, survelilance and hacking software- pursues and executes his revenge plan which with only one hiccup that is resolved in his favor due to the integrity of maybe his newest friend is completed successfully and he's back fishing.
Gideon's revenge is not the focus of the book, but really the calling card that gets him recruited into an alleged, private think tank and operations group run by its founder and enigmatic, mysterious man. The group allegedly provides contract services for U.S. federal agencies. the plot would be of interest to a multitude of federal agencies, but supposely it's all been contracted to this private company. There's no foundation for why this group is undertaking the assignment which become's the novel's primary plot. Gideon is clearly manipulated, by carrot, stick and everything between to pursue, versus turning down, his chosen assignment but he verfiy's his employer's legitamacy with nothing but a phone call- which is completely out-of-character for Gideon who is something of a "chestmaster" of field operations, That makes no sense. The nation's, perhaps world's balance of power is now in jeopardy, but rather than use official channels to recover some evidence in the evidence locker, Gideon must use his cunning to secret himself in and recover the information. There are lots of these small things that make the story less enjoyable. He's not to tell his mission to anyone. But he knows a certain person is at risk. Despite is brilliant and proven street smarts that let's him handle himself in the worst slums, and burned out buildings of Harlem, and his rocket scientist I.Q...is doesn't dawn on him to invent an altternative story that could equally communicate the danger. Moreover, the level of deception and intrigue in the novel makes his phone call verification a trivial effort at best. The author's had time to build a character team around Gideon, but I think dropped the ball. He leave's his first book with one technogeek friend, whose character is only a 1/4 as interesting as others that I can't discuss for giving too much away.
Overall the obsurdity of Gideon's stupidity deflates his character. Even so, Preston and Child's collaboration still makes for a fun, page turner that I am glad I read (listened to).
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
i bought extra credits in order to be able to buy this the minute it came out, which i did with enormous excitement. it bears absolutely no resemblance to the quirky, arcane books i've come to love from the authors, being a perfectly fine but rather formulaic --- to be honest, extremely formulaic --- ex thief goes on a spy job kind of thing. i understand that authors want to blaze new territory but i feel as if not only my favorite characters, pendergast et al, but my favorite authors, are gone...if you are looking for anything resembling the pendergast books or even the earlier preston/child books, this isn't it. john glover is a wonderful narrator, by the way. try THE SHERLOCKIAN, which is just grand
112 of 122 people found this review helpful