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The Janson Directive
By Robert Ludlum

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The Janson Directive

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The Janson Directive
By Robert Ludlum
Thorndike Press, (2003)
Large Print Edition
ISBN: 0-7862-5386-X
Genre: Thriller

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - March 28, 2005

Quick paced, and full of hard-hitting action, The Janson Directive is a page-turning espionage thriller. Written by Robert Ludlum and originally published shortly after his death in 2001, The Janson Directive has a complex plot, unexpected twists, and a satisfying ending. The story follows the adventures of Paul Janson, a former agent for the American Consular Operations. This is a covert agency, and on more than one occasion, Janson has accepted assignments as an assassin.

Since his retirement for the 'agency' Janson has been working as a private security consultant. He is recalled from retirement, and asked to attempt an almost impossible mission - undertake a rescue mission to extract the kidnaped Peter Novak from the clutches of an extremist Islamic terrorist group who is holed up in an impenetrable fortress. Janson is loath to take the assignment, but when he finds out that the leader of the terrorist group is a villain that goes by the name of the Caliph, Janson accepts the assignment. The reason for his change of heart is that the Caliph was responsible for the murder of Janson's wife, Helene, so he has a score to settle with the Caliph.

Novak is a famous billionaire who, via his Liberty Foundation, has been instrumental in promoting Democracy around the World. To stage this daring rescue, Janson assembles a crack team of operatives. Unexpectedly their mission is a success, at least technically. Janson manages to rescue Novak only to watch him apparently die when the plane he is flying home in explodes.

Either way, Janson suddenly finds himself at the other end of a kill order. As he races across Europe and to the US, Janson must stay one step ahead of his would be assassins as he tries to discover why he is being hunted. Those assassins that do manage to catch up to him soon discover just why Janson was such a successful agent. As the bodies pile up, so does the suspense. Like Janson, you are kept guessing as to why he is suddenly being hunted - and how he is going to extract himself from this seemingly impossible situation.

The Janson Directive is one of the best of Ludlum's later novels. The story is fast paced, full of unexpected twists and turns, and it has a powerful ending that you'll not see coming until it hits you full in the face. This book would make an outstanding action movie. I wonder if it is already in the works? The Janson Directive is a must read for all Ludlum fans.


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