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The Last Testament

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  2,315 ratings  ·  113 reviews
This is the new high-concept religious conspiracy-theory thriller from the author of 'The Righteous Men', set against the backdrop of the world's bitterest conflict.
Paperback, 567 pages
Published July 2nd 2007 by HarperTorch (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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People keep on buying me books I won't like.

This trashy thriller is so contrived I nearly cried. Not for the first time I'm grateful a book doesn't take long to read.

Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are inevitable, because this is in precisely the same vein throughout. It's not the only book Bourne's paid close attention to. From the very start the characters and plot are formulaic beyond belief.

An example; at least 5 times a chapter, there are hints about "something happening in africa in the p
Another sensational book by Sam Bourne, exploring not only a fast-paced thriller genre, but also some ancient biblical mystery. Set against the latest round of the Middle East peace talks, Bourne brings together a peace negotiator and the son of the man with the key to the secret, sending them on a mission to uncover this secret and keep from being killed.

Bourne uses some key elements to push the story and its plot forward; namely the ongoing push for peace in the region, with the US as its key
Manche Konflikte sind so alt, dass man, selbst wenn sie wieder einmal mit neuer Brutalität und neuen Opfern in den Medien auftauchen, geneigt ist, nur mit halbem Ohr hinzuhören. Das liegt auch zum Teil daran, dass Lösungen für diese Konflikte nahezu unmöglich scheinen. Zu festgefahren der Konflikt, zu unlösbar die Widersprüche und zu alt die Ursachen. Man ist zudem müde, über die immer gleichen Lösungsversuche, Waffenstillstände, Vermittlungsversuche von den unterschiedlichsten Seiten zu hören, ...more
Cheryl (Bored in Vernal)
The hope of world-peace-seekers from beauty pageant contestants to politicians is a solution to the strife between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem. What if someone found a clay tablet written by the hand of Father Abraham, noting the strife between his two sons Isaac and Ishmael, and recording his decision regarding the ownership of Mount Moriah? The Last Testament follows mediator Maggie Costello when she becomes aware of such a tablet just as peace negotiations between the two rival cou ...more
I like Sam Bourne's eruidte, thoughtful mysteries set largely in the world of Judaism but at the fault lines that separate and link all cultures and people...politics, the potential for violence and the meeting points of faith, fanaticism,reason,potential and desire. In this outing, a troubled former peace negotiator is lured back into the most intractable of situations...mid-east peace talks just as an ancient tablet purporting to be the last testament of Abraham is discovered. What follows is ...more
Elizabeth Olmedo
Bourne wrote The Last Testament in nonsequential order and that, together with the large character pool, made the story challenging to follow. The rampant use of vulgar language and several intimate scenes seemed unnecessary and distracted from the progression of the novel.

I never connected with any of the book’s characters and I didn’t feel fear, sympathy, happiness or any sentiment other than regret as I read. Even more frustrating were the clichéd attempts at reaching my emotions — like Bourn
Mukundhan Sampath
You know the feeling when you click "I am feeling lucky" in Google search - I had the same feeling when I picked up Sam Bourne's The last Testament. Neither of them, the author or the novel, was recommended! I was asking myself if it was worth spending my time on this....yet I went along with the little voice within me egging me on.

I love these grand ideas that these guys the one in the Da Vinci. I am like 'WOW! What if this were really true!'. I must say that the basic concept is a
A good read - a sort of less complicated/sophisticated 'Da Vinci Code'. An interesting concept, cleverly written, the prose is straightforward and easy to read. The characters are generally well-rounded and believable. I read it in one day while on holiday - think that says something about the novel.
I enjoyed this book, I thought it was well paced, with a good story.An interesting use of history's influence on modern events, with what I thought were well thought out consequences.
First of all I would say that users rating this at one-star can't enjoy a simple thriller without any complexity. I agree with most of the users that this book was a drag at the beginning and the chapters at USA with Maggie and Edward gave this book a worst intro to the lead character one could ever imagine. But the book picks up pace when Ahmed Nour is killed and Uri Guttman teams up with Maggie. After a few more pages at Maggie's hotel room the books slows down and it picks up the speed later. ...more
Very predictable and not very believable. Very disappointed. Below is a breakdown of my rating:

Enjoyability: 2
Re-Readability: 1
Character Development: 2.5
Complexity: 2.5
Writing Style: 2
Believability: 1.5
Overall: 1.92

This was the first novel I have read by this author, and I was disappointed. Critics had written that the book is similar to Dan Brown’s style, and they couldn’t have been more incorrect. Just because a book contains elements of religious artifacts doesn’t mean it is a book that has a
The blurb for THE LAST TESTAMENT reads along the lines of "The Biggest Challenger to Dan Brown's Crown" and "A brilliant new high-concept religious conspiracy theory thriller", which might put some readers off, or at the very least set you up with some pre-conceived conceptions about the book. Ignore all of that and you'll be getting a fast paced, believable thriller which sets itself within a current day conflict in a very realistic manner.

In the dying days of the regime in Iraq, the Baghdad Mu
Daniel Cann
Bourne has used all his years as a journalist and broadcaster covering the disputed Middle East territory to craft an excellently constructed and thrillingly compulsive novel.

No matter how far-fetched or fantastic the plot seems Bourne expertly manages to keep everything within the bounds of some kind of believable reality, quite an impressive feat.

I have read many thrillers set in the Middle East and they have fallen into the trap of becoming over sensationalised and quickly losing credibility
Meghan Cooper
Mar 05, 2010 Meghan Cooper rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dan Brown fans who fancy another author trying to repeat succes!
Recommended to Meghan by: Friend
Shelves: read-in-2010
Good but not good, is the only way I can descibe this book.
My first problem with this book, is that it didn't flow very well, I felt like it wasn't put together very well. It was like someone who had put all of the ideas for the book into it and hadn't joined all of them very well. The author attempted to give the reader cliff hangers and tried to make you read on, but they really wern't very good as all of the books "big" events weren't very exciting.
I was disapointed with the person that turn
Ed Celis
Ok, so this is my first review in this forum, so please bare with me.

Before having to justify my 4 "star" rating for the book, I'd like to note for many of you that the rating system provided by Goodreads should be taken at face value; that is the book be rated according to your enjoyment, rather than say, the individual technical components of the book itself (style, narrative, character development, etc.) that I have seen many refer to in this space.

With that said, I will admit to having read
It wasn't great - even in Danish.
There was a distinct lack of tension, and it didn't grip me at all. Took practically an eternity to get through, and I only finished it 'cause the library sent me an email saying it'd gotta go back!
It's set in the Middle-Dast of course, and is connected with Middle-East peace talks. Given that we all know they'll never have peace down there, not while anyone from either side is alive/believes that their god gave them exclusive rights to the area; it can hardly be
Eric Wright
The story of a disgraced mediator, Maggie Costello, called up by US govt to redeem herself by mediating in a crucial set of Israel-Palestinian talks. The talks are on the point of success when everything falls apart. Murders of key people on both sides, including a hard line Jewish settler who is also an archaeologist and who opposes the talks since Jews will lost their claim to much land. The key feature of the story is the discovery of a small clay tablet, authenticated as the last will and te ...more
Jane Burnham
Aug 30, 2007 Jane Burnham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
More Readable than the Da Vinci Code – the same sense of menace is darker and the characters more believable!

The new, brilliantly high-concept religious conspiracy-theory thriller from the author of 'The Righteous Men', set against the backdrop of the world's bitterest conflict. April 2003: as the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities is looted, a teenage Iraqi boy finds an ancient clay tablet in a long-forgotten vault. He takes it and runs off into the night!

Several years later, at a peace rally in Je
Touted as a thriller in the model of the da Vinci Code, this novel at first seems a disappointment because it begins slowly. However it delivers by the end. Riddles from a dead man. Two unlikely investigators hotly pursued by several distinct groups of violent men. A secret which could change the course of history. Along the way we learn about the illegal trade in antiquities and at the climax a debate about the role of special operations forces in resolving political conflict. e also get a stro ...more
Feb 06, 2008 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Thriller fans
Ok... I enjoyed the book... Can't help it... I'm a bit of a sucker for this genre...

However, without wishing to over-analyse, it really WAS NOT as good as the Righteous Men. The main characters were, in my opinion, under developed. They could have done so much more with them - I simply felt neither sympathy nor empathy for any of their plights, thoughts or actions.

It was obvious what was on the perishing tablet and annoying that it was kept from us till the end of the book. The denoument was qui
When the antiquities museum in Irag is looted in the aftermath of Sadam Hussein's fall, a young man finds an ancient clay tablet. He sells it for few dollars, and the tablet finds its way into the hands of a Jewish archaeologist in Israel. Turns out it is the last will and testament of Abraham (THE Abraham), and it spells out how the promised land is to be distributed between his two sons Isaac and Ishmael (the recognized fathers of Israel and the Arabs). The archaeologist, and his Palestinian c ...more
I picked this up because the description reminded me of Dan Brown novels. It deals with an ancient artifact and its effect on the modern world. It is set in Jerusalem mostly, during Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The author is a journalist who obviously deeply understands the complicated politics of the region. I liked the main character. There's a scene toward the end of the book - no spoiler - where the description of her feelings is so well-done, my own gut clenched in response. I found the ...more
I was mainly interested in learning about the situation in Israel given how topical the subject is. Thus the setting and political background was intriguing.

However the prose was poorly written and repetitive, the characterisation lacking, and the pacing failed to hold my interest.

The characterisation was the biggest turn off; Maggie didn't seem genuine to me and her relationship with Edward a farce.
G Aenanias
Dec 29, 2012 G Aenanias added it
Recommends it for: beach reading
Recommended to G by: mom
totally a good read. one can finish in one sitting. i found myself staying up late to leaf through the pages wanting more. guess, it was overall that feeling. i wanted more. the words were not written well, it's like it could use a tighter feel to it? it was like someone wrote it with lots of loose ends. the ending was sooo over dramatic, it was like watching a Hollywood flick. the novel was begging for some more character delineation, more probing for motives and stuff. i didn't know if the aut ...more
Justin Lambert
This was a solid political/archeological thriller with Biblical overtones. Nothing nearly as religiously deep or controversial as The DaVinci Code, but a similar concept. I won't drop any spoilers, but I will say the whole story was exciting and interesting enough to keep me turning the pages right up to the end. Unfortunately, in the final 30 pages, the author resorted to some very cliche' props: the bad guy spells out his whole story in front of a hidden camera that's feeding live to the Inter ...more
Swapnil Kocheta
An Interesting blend of Facts and fiction. A Handy guide for someone like me who is interested in the dynamics of World politics, but hasn't got patience to read through or watch over.

A very captivating threading of events from Iraq to Europe to America to Israel and around. The Novel revolves around 2 Key characters with a blend of real(istic) and Imaginary characters coming in.

Made me go Google and Wiki up some facts, and In turn Read a bit more.

The novel interestingly and innovatively promote
The Last Testament has an interesting premise, and some clever bits, particularly in respect to how Guttman hid the clues to the location of the testament. I would have enjoyed faster pacing of the plot, and a little more reason to care about Maggie. We know she is a good negotiator who did something very unprofessional, and has now let herself slip into a relationship with a controlling boyfriend. Beyond that, she simply moves through the story, and we get minimal exploration of her character. ...more
Although the story was a bit fantastical this book moved at such a pace and with such lively details that it was a very enjoyable read. I liked it better than the Righteous Men for sure
'The Mirror' reviewed it as "The biggest challenger to Dan Brown's crown." Well, hardly... not even close, especially not this book. The plot of the story centers around the brokering of a Middle East peace treaty, and the discovery of an object from antiquity, a tablet which turns out to be the last will and testament of a Biblical patriarch, bearing the bequeathment of Mount Moriah (aka the Temple Mount).

The pace of the story was not all that engaging until about the last third of the book. Al
I have read several books that deal with the attempted peace deal between Israel and Palestine; this novel deals with the same subject.

It begins in April 2003 in Iraq (Saddam has disappeared and people are raiding the museums, knocking down statues, etc.). An ancient clay tablet is grabbed by a young boy. This tablet is the key to this story.

Because of the subject matter of the clay tablet, all sides are after it and people are being murdered because of it.

Peace negotiator Maggie Costello is r
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Sam Bourne is the literary pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an award-winning British journalist and broadcaster. He has written a weekly column for The Guardian since 1997, having previously served as the paper's Washington correspondent. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The New Republic, and The J ...more
More about Sam Bourne...
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