Venue: Crowd of Favours
I AM PILGRIM
A 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. Smouldering 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.
Another lively book club. A few of us went into the book not expecting to like it after a run of recent duds but overall the majority of the group loved it.
We had an interesting debate as to what constitutes scary with some of us saying a gruesome scene of mutilation was the scariest part but others finding that the threat of mass genocide far scarier.
We had a good chat about the upbringing of both Pilgrim and Saracen with one reviewer saying Pilgrim’s was too easy. He didn’t have any struggles. We compared both main characters upbringings and wondered if anyone had every written a book where the adopted and foster kids aren’t happy?
Looking at the book in a historical context it seemed to work but we found it very filmy before discovering that plans were already in place to make a film. Not surprising as the author is a screen writer in Hollywood. We discussed who could play the characters which proved quite likely. One reader (ok me) wanted Tom Cruise no matter how old he may be.
One reader said the book was full of ‘whoops, there’s a co-incidence’ moments; although they were nicely woven into the story.
It’s a book where it’s easy to suspend belief. We did agree that the ending was nicely tied up in the Hollywood style although one reader said she got through the 700 pages of the book and thought ‘Is that it?’ She found that after putting in lots of effort to read it and then not like it especially the ending was annoying. One person found the back stories frustrating while others enjoyed then giving some context to the two main characters and making them more believable.
We briefly discussed Pilgrim’s health and how he must be super-fit to survive the water boarding.
We discussed using the little disabled child for emotional manipulation and also the tension in the law and order between the 9/11 hero police officer and Pilgrim with Pilgrim having no issues using the child and the more morally ambiguous nature of the retired spy who had no issues putting the child’s life at risk if it meant keeping the world safe.
We looked at the change of Pilgrim’s life after gaining his father’s painting collection. The others saw the realisation that his father loved him after all and believed in him. Me being me saw him happy that he was now rich. Ooops
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