Tag Archives: Robert Ludlum

The Books I Read This Past Year

StottI’m getting oftly bad about this blogging thing, and yet I still enjoy it. So, though I haven’t updated this thing for most of the year, I find it to be the appropriate platform to list the books I read over the past year. Therefore, without any further ado, my 2015 book list:

  • One Nation:  What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future – Ben Carson
  • The Cross of Christ – John Stott
  • The Sigma Protocol – Robert Ludlum
  • Robert Ludlum’s The Geneva Strategy – Jamie Freveletti
  • The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
  • Robert Ludlum’s The Janson Equation – Douglas Corleone
  • God’s Lavish Grace – Terry Virgo
  • The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz
  • Alone on the Wall – Alex Honnold
  • U2: At the End of the World – Bill Flanagan
  • Knowledge and Christian Belief – Alvin Plantinga

Recommended Favorites (hard to pick just one):


The Books I Read This Year

BOOKS I READ THIS YEARFor the past several years, I’ve annually set a goal to read one book every single week during the coming year. Three years ago I got relatively close to this goal, completing a little over forty books. Two years ago I think my average was closer to one book every two weeks. And this year I’m capping it out with my worst performance ever, having read just twelve books during 2013. But honestly, who cares! I know you probably don’t. So with no further ado, here are the books I did read during 2013:

Best non-fiction book of the year:  The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin

Best fiction book of the year:  The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

Surprisingly good book of the year:  Erasing Hell – Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle (surprising because of how kindly and thoroughly Chan & Sprinkle debunk the pseudo-scholarship of Rob Bell’s Love Wins).

Complete List:

  • The Holiness of God – RC Sproul
  • Everyday Church – Tim Chester & Steve Timmis
  • Love Wins – Rob Bell
  • Erasing Hell – Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle
  • Tribes – Seth Godin
  • Robert Ludlum’s the Utopia Experiment – Kyle Mills
  • Across the River and Into the Trees – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  • Does God Desire All to Be Saved? – John Piper
  • Five Points – John Piper
  • The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)


Recent Reads


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Buy on Amazon.

Great Read.

5 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee






The Ares Decision by Kyle Mills

Buy on Amazon

One of the my favorite books in the Covert-One Series.

4 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee






Jonathan Edwards:  Lover of God by Strachan & Sweeney

Buy on Amazon

Probably one of the briefest introductions to Edwards life that you can read. Accessible and Informed.

3 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee





the-girl-who-played-with-fireThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larrson

Buy on Amazon

Wasn’t planning on reading any more from this series because it’s pretty rough / disturbing at times. But Larsson’s writing is good and compelling. This isn’t as good as the first book, but still hard to put down.

3.5 out of 5 cups of black coffee


5 Sentence Review – The Arctic Event – Created by Robert Ludlum – Written by James Cobb

the-arctic-eventThe Arctic Event is the seventh book in the Covert-One Series originally created by Robert Ludlum, and I’m willing to say it’s my favorite so far. The Gayle Lynds novels are particularly good (and some of the best in the series), but Cobb did a fantastic job of capturing his readers’ attention in this unique addition to the Covert-One family. The storyline features a new character – Valentina Metrace (a bond-girl type agent and future love interest to Jon Smith), and a killer setting – The Canadian Arctic. I simply love the foreboding, adventuresome, melancholy of the arctic cold, and this novel made it come alive. Here’s to hoping that Mr. Cobb considers writing again!

4.5 of 5 cups of black coffee!!!


5 Sentence Review: The Moscow Vector by Robert Ludlum & Patrick Larkin

the-moscow-vectorThe Moscow Vector by Patrick Larkin is book number six in the Covert One Series originally created by Robert Ludlum. I found this Larkin novel quite a bit more enjoyable than his previous effort, The Lazarus Vendetta. Larkin maintains his edgier style, but presents a more believable and well-honed story. The Lazarus Vendetta read more like a espionage thriller and less like a science fiction work, which I for one, found to be an improvement. Now on to book number seven, which was written by James Cobb, whom I know nothing about, but whom hopefully is up to the task!

3 out of 5 cups of black coffee.


Book Review: The Lazarus Vendetta by Robert Ludlum & Patrick Larkin

the-lazarus-vendettaThe Lazarus Vendetta is the fifth book in The Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum and written in conjunction with other authors. This is the first of the stories written by Patrick Larkin, and the results while acceptable, are not overtly impressive. My main complaint is that the story itself is too far-fetched and unbelievable. As a result, the reader remains an observer of the action rather than a participant in the action. Good stories, I would argue, so envelope the reader that she no longer feels as if she is reading at all. Obviously, believability in every detail is not the essential element to make a story work, but it is fairly important in the thriller/spy genre, especially if said story is set in modern times. Despite how well the other elements of the story may be developed, ultimately the book falls flat if the reader can’t imagine the events actually happening in real life. And The Lazarus Vendetta is just a bit too far gone to be fully enjoyed. Longtime readers of The Covert One series will also note that Larkin’s style is a bit different than other authors. Most notably he’s more graphic (gory), and some of the traits of main characters are portrayed differently. For instance, Fred Klein was addicted to his pipe in the last novel, but his obsession is hardly mentioned at all in this story. In one scene, Jon Smith suddenly develops a conscious towards a would-be attacker and nearly dies as a result. I don’t dislike the book, but it falls a bit short when compared to the stories Gayle Lynds has written in the series. As it goes, Gayle Lynds is the best author in the Covert One Series so far, with Patrick Larkin and Phillip Shelby a distant second and third.

2 of 5 cups of black coffee.


Five Sentence Review: The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds

the-altman-codeThis is the fourth book in the Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite novel within the series so far, and it’s solidified my faith in Gayle Lynds as a good thriller novelist. Set largely in China, this novel came alive in it’s accurate portrayal of both that country and the shaky alliance that his been formed between America and the East in recent years. A recurring theme in Ludlum novels is the potential evils of unchecked capitalism and the military industrial complex when they become too tightly interwoven into the fabric of Washington’s politics. Suffice it to say that The Altman Code seems to comment upon both the Bush administration and Dick Cheney as the story of greed and warmongering progresses.

Fun to Read.


4 of 5 cups of black coffee.


5 Sentence Review: The Cassandra Compact by Robert Ludlum & Philip Shelby

the-cassandra-compactThis is the second book in the Covert-One Series by Robert Ludlum and is relatively brief in comparison to most of Ludlum’s other work. The Cassandra Compact finds protagonist John Smith chasing down a sample of smallpox stolen from a Russian Lab that threatens wreak devastation upon the world. This is a fairly typical novel within the thriller / covert-military genre, but honestly less believable than other Ludlum tales. Wheres a book like The Hades Factor made the reader take seriously the extent to which capitalistic greed threatens all of us, I doubt that Cassandra convinces anyone. Still enjoyable, but a little below par.

2 out of 5 cups of black coffee


Five Sentence Review: The Hades Factor by Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds

the-hades-factorAfter finishing Robert Ludlum’s The Paris Option a few weeks ago, I realized it was actually part of a series of novels known as the Covert-One Novels. So, I went back and downloaded The Hades Factor, the first in the series. It’s pretty standard Ludlum: Fun to read (especially as an audiobook), enjoyable characters (only somewhat believable), and hard to put down. Since I have a audible.com account, and multiple credits saved up, I’ve now moved onto the next Covert-One Novel: The Cassandra Compact. Should I read more really good fiction? – Yeah; Do I still enjoy reading these novels? – Yeah.

3.5 out of 5 cups of black coffee.



Brief Book Review: The Paris Option – Robert Ludlum

the-paris-optionIt would be an overstatement to say that Robert Ludlum is a great author; however, it would by lying to say that his books aren’t enjoyable too. My personal preference is to audiobook Ludlum’s writings in my free time. Am I learning anything? No. Is it a great way to escape and relax? Yes. Think 24 in book form. The best Ludlum book is still probably The Janson Directive. The most famous of his books are in the Bourne Series (great movies!). The Paris Option was decent, but again I’m reading (or in this case listening) for pure enjoyment. The Paris Option is part of a series of Ludlum books known as the “Covert One Novels.” Honestly, I didn’t know this when I began reading, but now that I do, I’m going back to listen to the first novel in the series. If you’ve got some time, check out Ludlum. If you’re not a book snob, you’ll probably enjoy it! At least it’s a way to get your Jack Bauer on in a post-Jack-Bauer-era.

3.5 of 5 Black Cups of Coffee