Book Shelf

Sam Bourne

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The Final Reckoning

The Final reckoning, a Dan Brown Type mystery thriller, that deals with the journey of former UN lawyer Tom Byrne who found the hidden secrets about the Holocaust incidents when trying to close in what looked like a murder by mistaken identity by UN officials.

This thriller of Sam Bourne is the third book, I have read of him. I would say this is the best book in the content-wise. I liked the flashback story about Gershon Matzkin more than the thriller of Tom Byrne’s adventures.

With the historical accounts of few news websites and wiki, I always imagined the Jew murders by Nazis are just like any other religious quarrels or some dispute between the minorities and majorities. But I never knew Hitler tried to make Jews extinct from the world. The complete details about the holocaust incidents and the final author note says nothing fictitious except the characters I couldn’t even imagine how would these people lived through those periods.

But this did not take away any credit from the actual story the thriller of Tom and Rebecca’s, Gershon’s daughter, adventures to find the resistance of ghettos and her fathers secret alliance.

As a thriller, the book offers enough twists and turns. Also the pace is ok. I say ok because it is not some thriller which travels at lightening speed. In between he has to tell us the Holocaust incidents also. So naturally the current story stops for sometime. But since the Gershon’s story also interesting you definitely will not feel bored.

When I read about this Holocaust incidents, I couldn’t help myself in comparing it with the Sri Lankan Tamils’ situation with this. Hitler was damned by all the countries and at least Jews got some type of condolence with the extinct of Nazis. Not sure when Tamils get some redemption.

One major drawback of this novel which made me not giving 5 out of 5 is, some similarities between his previous book ‘The Last Testament‘ and this, like, investigating with the son/daughter of the deceased, the protagonist was a former employee of the organisation who came from resignation to help, etc. But luckily the content is totally different.

My rating for this wonderful historical fiction cum thriller is ★★★★☆

The Last Testament

Cover of "The Last Testament"

Cover of The Last Testament

This is again a thriller of Sam Bourne. The Last Testament had more similarities to Dan Brown’s than the Righteous Men. Being the great fan of Dan Brown’s works, I obviously liked this book.

The story set on the background of the peace talks between Israel and Palestine. There was one right wing man, Shimon Guttman, who claimed he has information that could change the whole process, shot dead. This followed by search for the information and what it revealed whether this helped on the peace process etc.

The story had the speed that makes you glued to the book except for few chapters. One thing I liked is the fact that the leading characters are not somebody who knows all the things already. They just search and find the information unlike Dan Brown’s.

The important thing I missed in the Righteous Men was the descriptions of the places the way Brown does. In this novel, he corrected it. His descriptions of Jerusalem and the important places in the city is awesome that I could clearly imagine the things.

Also in this novel, the antagonist was kept in the Grey area in which someone can argue he is right in what he was doing.

I could guess what the mystery could be, in the middle way only. But I cannot blame the author for this. That is the only way you could end the story. But this mystery is just like the Holy Grail mystery in the Da Vinci Code. The mystery has nothing to do with the thrill the story offers.

As I said, though the story decelerating at some places, it is taking the top gear towards the second half. The pace is too high that you hardly let the book down in the second half of the story.

Definitely a great read for Dan Brown fans. Overall I could give this book ★★★☆☆

The Righteous Men

I bought this book, The Righteous Men, only because in the paperback cover it was mentioned that the mirror identified him as ‘the biggest challenger to Dan Brown’s Crown’.

It is also a mystery thriller just like the Robert Langdon series of Dan Brown’s. But it’s not the mystery of Christianity, instead it’s of Jews. The hero was not a symbologist who knows a lot about the religion though. He’s a reporter. The author, Sam Bourne, himself a journalist, he could tell the details of the work environment, the difficulties in the work quite naturally.

The main thing, it is a thriller. What about the pace of the novel? Yes, it is too fast and interesting just like the Dan Brown’s that you cannot put down the book.

There is a quite a bit of treasure hunt also. Like this, there were a lot of places where you could find the Dan Brown effect. But one thing about Dan Brown is he never ends the novel as the antagonist in a complete wrong. He always let in a grey area where we could decide on whether the person was at wrong or not.

But here in The Righteous Men, Sam Bourne left the antagonist in dark only. We never have a second thought like what he did was somehow right kind of.

The best part of the novel is the chapters that says the details of each Righteous Man. Each would qualify as a short story on its own.

The chapter where the protagonist, Will Monroe, knows the mystery is more like a philosophical discussion and it was a good to read.

There was a lot of information about one of the oldest religions, Judaism. Handling a subject like this without creating much controversy is itself a big thing. Existence of a Jewish community, Hassidim, in New York in itself a surprise and their belief and everything is just you would have never imagined that something like this is still there in New York.

I could guess the antagonist, three chapters before the author decided to reveal him. So I missed the thrill when the actual villain is revealed. Luckily the interest in the story does not end with the revelation of the antagonist. Another negative, I could say is the final fight between the antagonist and the hero, Will. It was too stereotypic where all the things we could guess.

The Righteous Men, as a complete book, is too good for a read. If you liked Dan Brown’s books, you would love to read this also. And the mirror is right about Sam Bourne. He is a big challenger for Dan Brown of course. But certainly not better than Dan Brown.

My Rating ★★★★☆