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The Gemini Contenders

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  10,346 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Salonika, Greece: December 1939. In the dead of night, a clandestine order of monks embarks on a desperate mission: to transport a mysterious vault to a hiding place high in the Italian Alps. The sinister cache, concealed for centuries, could rip apart the Christian world. Now, as the Nazi threat marches inexorably closer, men both good and evil will be drawn into a violen ...more
Published July 5th 2000 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 1976)
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Jul 03, 2007 Carla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, portuguese, 2007
This book was a surprise but also a deception.

You can divide it in two halves: the story of Vittorio and that of his children. If the first half was well done and revealed itself as a surprise, as I didn't think this book would caught me like it did, the second half became a disappointment.

A train leaves from Salonika, in the beginning of WWII, with documents which, in the bad hands, could endanger de faith of millions and that way be used as a weapon. Such documents were so dangerous that many
Violeta Petrovska
Ако требаше да ја оценам книгава според преводот и печатните грешки, сигурно немаше ни да ја чекирам како прочитана. На Марија и Данче голема благодарност за подарокот, но македонското издание на никого не би го препорачала, жалам што ниту во една единствена страна неможев да уживам, грешките како да ми ги „бодеа“ очите....поздрав!
Apr 13, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2011
I love Ludlum's books (except the Covert One series, and I'm not too crazy about the Bourne series either, yet).
I love also following how his style developed over the years. The Scarlatti Inheritance was a surprising read, after having started with The Sigma Protocol, then reading the Matarese Countdown and Circle (again, wrong order), proceeding with the Aquitaine Progression, The Holcroft Covenant, and other books of this era. Cold War. Those are all completely different from Ludlum's first bo
Jul 25, 2016 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is up there with Ludlum's best work, which for me includes "The Matarese Circle" and "The Holcroft Covenant." A superbly written thriller spanning almost 5 decades and WWII. Plus if you're into books with religious intrigue by author's not named "Dan Brown," you might wanna give this one a try.

As a student of theology, one problem I had with the book was the way that Ludlum talked about the filioque controversy and how it led to denials of Christ's divinity. In reality, the
Jun 24, 2011 Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should know better by now that I shouldn't start reading a Ludlum novel when I have other things I have to do (homework, mowing the yard, feeding my children, sleep), but I still get them, and I love them! In the first 4 chapters, Ludlum has a conspiracy that involves the disciples of Christ, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Nazis, the Fascists in Italy, the Corsican crime syndicate, British intelligence, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Communists underway, that expands to include US Army I ...more
This is a 1976 entry in the fanatical/psychotic Christian sect - world shattering Religious Artefact supressed for centuries sub-genre of the thriller. It's a good deal more competent than a more recent such book that also features a trip to the Louvre, but then so are my schoolboy fictions.
It deviates somewhat from the standard Ludlum formula, being one of the few with a historical setting and straggling through three generations of protagonists. This latter is a bit disconcerting but this volu
secrecy, generational conflict, WWII aftermath, but author's development of characters is excellent at the beginning of the story and then becomes unbelieveable as the story progresses.
Asghar Abbas
Mar 01, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Brisk paced thriller.
James Pearson
As with the Bourne thrillers The Gemini Contenders is a fast paced novel with a generous mixture of action, suspense and plot twists. The main crux of the story is the quest to unearth sacred religious documents from the contents of an iron box, which if exhumed, could trigger a holy war and have a profound impact on the Second World War. As the book moves into the 1970s the threat of holy war diminishes and instead its acquisition becomes a personal goal of the two main antagonists who wish to ...more
Anna Ligtenberg
May 07, 2012 Anna Ligtenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ISBN 0440128595 - Long before The DaVinci Code there were The Gemini Contenders - proving that fictional thrillers and religion have a long history of making good books together.

Savarone Fontini-Cristi has a 2000 year old secret. It's been in safe hands for a long time, but Hitler is leaving very few places safe enough for a secret like this one. To keep it hidden, the monks of The Order of Xenope turn to Savarone, who is among the first of many who die to protect it, or just because of it's exi
David Lowther
I first read The Gemini Contenders a little under forty years ago and remembered that I enjoyed it very much. I was looking forward to a second read. I'm disappointed to say I was slightly underwhelmed.

Like all off Ludlum's novels, the plot is convoluted, twisting and full of red herrings. It's also a load of nonsense but that's what you expect from the author of the fabulous Bourne Trilogy. The narrative of The Gemini Contenders stretches from 1939 to 1973. In a sense it's a religious thriller
Nov 22, 2014 Jc rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mistery-action
I had good memories of Ludlum’s book. This one is really bad. Even if you go along with the hair brained story (the search for some manuscript that will turn upside down the Christian world) it is tough going. The story is a bit disjointed. We spend a lot of time on the activities of the father during the war although it has little to do with the main story; then we switch to the twin brothers, one of which starts out as a stiff military type who wants to stop corruption in the army and turns in ...more
I always picked up Ludlum's books for my husband at the library but never got into them myself ... until later in life when I read The Bourne Identity and discovered I liked his style of writing. I enjoyed the first half of the Gemini Contenders, the second half, not as much - it totally changed gears. The story almost should have ended with the second generation (story-wise) of the Fontini-Cristi family, but then where would the title fit in?
Hertzan Chimera
it's a 3.5 rating really.... felt like two books clumsily stapled together, not one perfect volume. But it sufficed. It was an easy, and enjoyable, read.

I really like the idea that a crucial bit of history could be stored away from prying eyes for CENTURIES.

It's probably true, too.


Bill Furney
Spoiler alert: Don't read further if you are not aware of the general premise of this book.

In short, I don't care for fiction that fabricates a scenario casting doubts upon the Christ story. I also thought the conflict between the twin brothers was not well developed. In fact, the way the adult phase of their lives began I was convinced that the ultimate "good" brother was the bad guy and "bad" brother was the good guy. To me, they seemed to change horses in mid-stream.
Obalola Ibrahim
3 star. I was looking for a twin novel. Sorry, got lost in the whole father, son and grand children involvement with a Church (or an arm of it).
Brad Stoddard
Sep 26, 2016 Brad Stoddard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Old Ludlum. Not as good as I remember him. Gets off to a great start, slows down in the middle and creeps to the finish line 30 years later. Secret organizations waging covert wars to protect their selfish interests. Who is good and who is bad? Many people die.

Maybe I need to read the Bourns again.
Maria Savina
Что за убогий сюжет. Бумажка важнее Второй Мировой Войны? Да никто не стал бы ее хранить, а сразу же сожгли. Зря потратила время.
Apr 05, 2013 Mrtracksclass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I was a bit doubtful that I was going to enjoy this as much as some of Robert Ludlum's later books such as the Bourne series. But I shouldn't have doubted his skill as a writer and I was nearly immediately engaged in the story. As with all of the other Ludlum books I've read, the story and characters take a little while to get established but after that it's extremely fast paced and you have to try hard to put the book down. I especially enjoyed how dynamic and round all the significant ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Een echte Ludlum. De fontini strijders. Op de kaft staat : Roman van een huiveringwekkend mysterie. Nu dat kan kloppen want het is echt een verhaal wat je meeneemt naar een wereld waarvan wij niet echt een weet hebben. Natuurlijk lezen we over gevonden bijbelteksten, de tweede wereld oorlog, MI 6 en de italiaanse fasisten maar dit verhaal aaneengesmeed tot een geheel neemt je mee naar een wereld waar van wij als gewone burgers niet veel van af weten. Het ontwikkeld zich als een goed geregisseerd ...more
Christian Scala
Robert Ludlum, come già detto molte volte nelle mie precedenti recensioni è un maestro indiscusso del genere spy-story, tanto da meritarsi l'appellativo di "Mr. Plot", signor complotto. . I suoi libri sono stati tradotti in 32 lingue in oltre 40 paesi. Il totale delle vendite dei suoi libri supera i 200 milioni di copie.
È diventato celebre per la serie di romanzi The Bourne Identity ai quali sono stati vagamente ispirati tre film.

Questa è un'opera giovane e ne risente un poco, la storia: nel 193
Steve Barrett
I picked up this book as a fan of the Bourne series of movies (at least the Damon three). It delivered a degree of the intrigue captured by the films, but overall I was disappointed by the book.

The first half of the book meanders, following some poorly developed characters on a plot arc which is meant to be thrilling, but falls flat as the stakes are seemingly very low. Essentially, a number of different stakeholders are pursuing Victor in pursuit of information be doesn't have. That happens for
Elaine Cougler
Sep 13, 2016 Elaine Cougler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gemini Contenders by Robert Ludlum is fast-paced, intriguing, thought-provoking and broad in scope. It spans about 40 years and three generations of the Fontini-Cristi family and its relationship with an obscure Greek monastery and a hidden vault containing highly sensitive religious documents. A great read!
Shivangi Yadav
Apr 04, 2015 Shivangi Yadav rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love urban legends. A book has to say mystery, urban legend and thriller/race against time in the blurb and I will want to read it.
Katherine Neville's The Eight remains my all time favourite book of this genre. Now imagine Robert Ludlum (Covert One, Bourne series) and an Urban Legend about people laying down their lives to protect documents regarding the rising of Christ. Documents which question everything we know about Christ and if released will pit the world in a religious war like never
Anupama Mazumder
Mar 27, 2008 Anupama Mazumder rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Initially I was finding it difficult to take interest in the book, but got glued to it after the first chapter. Personally I do not like war settings, but the book comes out of it and holds in front of you the charactersitics of a hman mind, each more complex than the other. The death of Vittorio is but obvious, and handled extremely non-pomputuosly..still, his death leaves a hollow in your mind. You would identify yourself with him throughout the book and appreciate his shrewdness. It is actual ...more
Nov 16, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh yeah, this book is like riding a rollercoaster. No wonder Robert Ludlum is the king of thrillers. There are so many surprises in this book and the best one of all is the content of the hidden parchment that is stored from the larger world. The twins, Adrian and Andrew, are searching for this parchment at the end of the book. They are the Gemini contenders and take the theory of the good twin versus evil twin to a whole new diabolical level. Great book. Great ending. I liked thinking about how ...more
Subbu Ananth
Yet another awesome Ludlum thriller from Pg1 to Pg 502. The first half where Vittorio Fontine is the Hero is classic; the second part where the brothers are pitted against each other is quite stereotyped though; However the last few chapters are quite griping and hard to put down.

I really liked the way the author has created the character called Vittorio (Victor) and gone to great details on how he thinks and what he feels. No one can beat Ludlum at this. He portrays the generational shifts as
I am a big fan of Robert Ludlum, but this book was like Urgh!!! What was he thinking??? The most boring book ever, it took me like months just to finish it, and yah I had to finish it, the perfectionist in me just wouldn't allow me to let go. Hmmm, no wait, perhaps I am being a bit harsh, there were some good moments in which I couldn't wait to know what will happen next, and it did expand like generations. Some of the story attached to Victor was good and some things associated with his twin ch ...more
After reading this book, Dan Brown came to my mind. Naunahan na pala siya ni Ludlum sa pag-isip ng ganyang plot anyway natawa rin ako because if you have read the Bible malabong mangyari sinasabi niya. Well, of course this story is just fiction but then sana hindi naman naging preposterous. Another thing napansin ko ay detailed at thorough yun development ng mga characters sa una yun sa lolo at tatay, pag dating dun sa mga apo parang minadali na at kinailangan maikwento ang buhay nila in short p ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes old is good. Just finished listening to an old book by Robert Ludlum entitled The Gemini Contenders. Wow. You gotta wonder if Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code might have been inspired by this Ludlum? As a Da Vinci fan, I was most impressed by Gemini. I won't spoil the plot, just take my recommendation to read (or listen to) this book. You can find it on Amazon in a few formats. For the audio version, I used to download the book in their format. Recorded in the early 90's, audible' ...more
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Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum--among others. Mr. Ludlum ...more
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“It was important to keep moving. Certain struggles continued. Others had to be brought to a close. The wisdom was in deciding which.” 16 likes
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