Summary and book reviews of I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim

A Thriller

By Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2014,
    624 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Pilgrim.

There is no terror so consistent, so elusive to describe, as that which haunts a spy in a strange country.
John le Carré, The Looking Glass War

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.
Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

Part One
Chapter One

THERE ARE PLACES I'LL REMEMBER ALL MY LIFE – RED SQUARE WITH A hot wind howling across it, my mother's bedroom on the wrong side of 8-Mile, the endless gardens of a fancy foster home, a man waiting to kill me in a group of ruins known as the Theatre of Death.

But nothing is burnt deeper in my memory than a walk-up in New York – threadbare curtains, cheap furniture, a table loaded with tina and other party drugs. Lying next to the bed are a handbag, black panties the size of dental floss and a pair of six-inch Jimmy Choo's. Like their owner, they don't belong here. She is naked in the bathroom – her throat cut, floating face down in a bathtub ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

I Am Pilgrim makes for a great (if somewhat weighty) beach read; it's fast, suspenseful and involving, while at the same time not requiring a great deal of thought or analysis to enjoy. I highly recommend the novel to those looking for a well-written and entertaining thriller with which to while away the summer hours.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review Members Only (1236 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Sure, the race against time to save the world has been done before but seldom this well. Once you start this taut and muscular thriller, you won't be able to put it down.

Booklist

Starred Review. The novel is gruesome at times, but none of the violence is gratuitous, and unfortunately, it all feels quite real and believable. Don't be put off by the length of this book. The story is tightly plotted, and the pages fly by ferociously fast. Simply unputdownable.

Literary Review (UK)

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.

Mail on Sunday (UK)

Delivers thrills and spills...A full tilt mix of Homeland, The Wire and The Bourne Ultimatum.

The Times (UK)

I Am Pilgrim is a 21st century thriller: a high concept plot, but with finely drawn protagonists. The plot twists and turns like a python in a sack. The style is visceral, gritty and cinematic...A satisfying and ambitious book, written with skill and verve.

Irish Independent

Massive in many senses, but none more so than its ability to exert a vice-like grip on the reader....Destined to be spy thriller of the year.

Author Blurb David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Hayes delivers muscular prose, sniper-round accurate dialogue and enough superb and original plotting to fill three volumes. He balances it all with the dexterity of the accomplished storyteller that he so obviously is. I Am Pilgrim is simply one of the best suspense novels I've read in a long time.

Author Blurb Robert Goddard
Rendition yourself into a pulsating thriller that never lets up as it carries the hero and the reader on an ever more desperate race between time and an all too plausible disaster for the world we live in. Great nail-biting stuff!

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Smallpox

In I Am Pilgrim, the villain attempts to infect a large number of people with a genetically engineered version of smallpox — a deadly disease completely eradicated by 1977.

Variola Virus Smallpox is caused by the variola virus, which is believed to have been around since approximately 10,000 BCE. As it progresses, victims develop a rash which turns into pustules (hence the common name "pox"). The most common form of smallpox was caused by the virus Variola major, representing about 90% of cases with a fatality rate of about 30%. There is no cure for smallpox, only a preventative vaccine.

Smallpox is an airborne disease, with transmission occurring through direct, prolonged face-to-face contact (the Centers for Disease Control estimates it...

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