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The Colour of Blood

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  219 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Flamingo Books Edition.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dhanaraj Rajan
Jan 25, 2015 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, irish-lit
On the Surface:

It is a fast paced crime thriller. And can you believe that this thriller was listed for the Booker Prize and lost the race at the last moment? A crime thriller and a Booker prize - Do they go together?

A Cardinal of the Catholic Church in one of the 'satellite states' of the Soviet Regime is under threat. He is chased and hunted and the Cardinal is not sure who hunts him down - the State or the Catholics themselves. This is the premise and the narration is really racy involving i
...more
Geoff
Mar 20, 2011 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Le Carre and Robert Harris
Shelves: booker-novels
This book was such a surprise. I assumed this would be some kind of drama novel with elements of a thriller thrown in, but actually it was a gripping story from the first page. It follows character of Cardinal Bem, primate of a nameless eastern bloc country, who survives an assassination attempt and subsequent arrest by the secret police. Bem of course has no knowledge of field-agent crafts, nor is he one of those men who are 'able to handle himself' like the typical ex-soldier forced out of ret ...more
George Matysek
Sep 24, 2014 George Matysek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who is behind the plot to kill Cardinal Bem?

The Secret Police? Or maybe even forces within the Church discontent with the way the respected spiritual leader refuses to foment rebellion among the oppressed masses of his nation, an unnamed satellite of the Soviet Union?

In "The Color of Blood," Brian Moore gives readers a thrilling ride as he unravels the mystery while also exploring deeper questions of inner strength, faith and courage.

Although the middle portion of this novel is a bit slow, the
...more
S.
This was an interesting diversion but I'm surprised it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It must have been the timeliness of the topic in 1987 with communism collapsing. Anyway, it was well written, the plot was solid, and the end gave it a boost, but it isn't a book I'd push on anyone. Still, I would consider reading something else by this author.
Mary Alice
Mar 06, 2013 Mary Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery
Here's another face-paced Catholic suspense novel by Brian Moore. I feel I've discovered this author -- I don't know anyone else who has ever heard of him. He's writes a better (and shorter) suspense novel than Ludlum and others of his generation. Because of Moore's Catholicism and because his books cover many genres, he is reminiscent of Graham Greene, one of Moore's admirers.

The protagonist in The Color of Blood is Cardinal Stephen Bem, a very good man and a very religious one. He's also smart
...more
Vivienne
The best book I've ever read. It's a thriller, but light years above a beach read. A tour-de-force of spare writing that poses fascinating ethical questions about the relationship between church and state in a communist society. The writing is elegant and spare, menacing and atmospheric. The character of Stephen Bem is fleshed-out and non-cliched. He's a flawed man faced by meaningful personal dilemmas. Moreover, it's a novel of violence with rare gunplay or physical brutality. Instead there's a ...more
Andrew Ziebro
The characters were flat and what I hated most about this book was that he is obviously writing about Poland, and yet he changes the names of all the significant landmarks. He really doesn't know Poland either, and it shows when he says that they arrived at "New World street" on the outskirts of the city. Nowy Swiat avenue is in the heart of Warsaw. Also, it takes many hours to drive from the mountains to Warsaw but he makes it seem like just a few. There are details like this all over the book ...more
Judy
Aug 12, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new author to me, and I want to read more of his books. Sadly, that won't be very many because he is no longer living. However, my library has several of them on hand. This unusual story takes place in a former Communist bloc nation, and so is dated. But the action is exciting as Catholic Cardinal Stefan Bem is taken into custody following an attempt upon his life. Supposedly, he is. Ding protected, but the cardinal suspects something more is involved. The suspense builds as he escapes and tri ...more
Andrew
Dec 04, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: brian-moore
The best of the five Moore novels I have read. Easy to see why Graham Greene was so enthusiastic about the author because this novel has iron curtain political subterfuge, thriller and personal dilemma, with a touch of church philosophy.

Bem is a fascinating character and the Moore does not let an extended cast take away from the main characters for once. An imaginary Eastern European country is brought to life with all its postwar dullness.

As a mystery thriller the ending is central, and is expe
...more
Serjeant Wildgoose
Sep 03, 2011 Serjeant Wildgoose rated it liked it
Although listed for the Booker, I was not particularly struck by the quality of this book. It wasn't bad; just not as good as I had hoped. As thrillers go, its 190 pages lacked the depth of a Le Carre, the characterisation of Greene or the sinister atmosphere of something like O'Flaherty's The Informer.
Jake
Mar 13, 2015 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious-books
Was disappointed in this one. Church vs. Soviet bloc politics should have been right up my alley but this read like the transcript of a game of Hide-The-Cardinal. The end was good enough but the rest of the book was meh.
Matthew Pritchard
May 06, 2014 Matthew Pritchard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taught, pacy thriller. Well fleshed out main character. Deceptively simple prose. Asks wider questions about the role of Church and State and culminates in a satisfyingly dramatic ending. All in all, a great short read, much better than your average paperback top 10 fodder.
Connie
Aug 22, 2012 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cardinal Stephen Bem, kidnapped and imprisoned time after time, doesn't know whom to trust - the Secret Police, the eastern-bloc government, or even his own Catholic priests. This great read is one of truth found in faith mingled with the suspense of a political thriller.
Johan Simons
the IRA
Sean
Mar 03, 2015 Sean added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Great novel. It speaks of being relevant to the world by being faithful to God's church.
Cindy
Jun 28, 2013 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a view into communist life and how the church and state colide. It was well written with a steady cadance for reading. I didn't like the ending.
Jessie
Jul 30, 2010 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting plot, but you get no sense of the emotional life of the characters. The book centers on the ambivalent nature of religious relationships with politics.
Derek Bridge
Feb 07, 2016 Derek Bridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Moore in thriller mode, and the writing zips along to a superb climax. But Moore is always thoughtful and thought-provoking. Here, matters of conscience are a fascinating under-current.
Monica Marie
Oct 12, 2013 Monica Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Monica by: Sean Saunders
I don't think this is Brian Moore's best novel, even though it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Still, a fast paced, interesting read that gets better as it progresses. The end was unexpected.
Dean Duncan
Dean Duncan rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2012
Alan
Jan 26, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
a good solid read. Nice pace
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Aug 16, 2013
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Sep 19, 2012
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Jan 30, 2013
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Jan 18, 2017
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Mar 03, 2015
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Jan 02, 2015
Ted Dunphy
Ted Dunphy rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2015
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
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