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The Gemini Contenders

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  8,518 ratings  ·  79 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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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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
Anna Ligtenberg
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
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
Shivangi Yadav
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
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?
Mike Philbin
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.


Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
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
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
Steve Goble
While it is far above the first Ludlum novel I tried to read, it still is below the standards set by Le Carre and Greene. It is essentially a McGuffin chase, spanning decades. It was good enough to keep me reading, but could have used a bit more attention to character building; I was two-thirds into it before meeting characters who truly interested me. The plot was decent, the theological undertones behind the case were interesting and the last third of the book moved at a fairly good clip.

Tod Hamilton
The battle which takes place in this brilliant book will keep you reading long after your bedtime. The action and suspense continue to build, making it one of the best books I've ever read.
Story tellers of Robert's calibre do but come along once every few generations.
The only thing I can say is once you've read one of this era of books, if you like them, you'll read the entire collection.
I have always enjoyed Ludlum's books, but all I can say about this book is that it should have rated 4 stars and ended with Part 1. The second half of the book felt as though it must have been written by a different author - it just fell flat and ruined the whole experience for me.
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
A book in two parts, the first spanning World War 2. The second continuing the story 30 years later. Unfortunately, the second part deteriorates into formula, the vicious, megalomaniac who is just so much more clever than everyone else, always one step ahead of those who oppose him.
Anupama Mazumder
Mar 27, 2008 Anupama Mazumder rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Chris Pauletto
At the start of World War II a train departs from Salonika and heads for the Italian Alps, carrying a mysterious cargo. Over the next four decades, various members of the wealthy Italian Fontini-Cristi family, and a small brotherhood of priests with the name Xenope, struggle to locate and control the deadly secret cargo. A parchment was taken from a Roman prison cell in the year 65 A.D. It is a letter written by a prisoner named Simon Bethsaida, renamed 'Peter' by Jesus Christ. In the letter, Pe ...more
Bob Conner
Ludlum is an excellent writer if you want to be completely submerged into an intriguing suspense, not breathing again until it's finished. I have two authors I read consistently and Ludlum is my number one. His writing is always right on.
Matthuvius Manhandlinglambs
Got borrrrrred halfway through and couldn't complete. Not horrible. Parts are okay. I just stopped caring and felt my time better spent elsewhere.
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
Max Watson
A good book ruined by including such a farfetched silly plot.
Plot covers a 3-generations long hunt for a hidden religious document that could discredit the New Testament by an Italian noble family, Greek Orthodox Christians, Nazis, Catholics, the MI6 and so on. Definitely better than a Dan Brown novel with lots of well-written action and a very fast-paced plot, though at times it's too fast-paced. Many of the subplots are finished or dropped before they get interesting, and much character development happens too quickly to be believed. Kinda feels like an ...more
Stephanie Berry
It was well written in the beginning, but as the story progressed, became more difficult to believe and follow. I liked it, but wasn't enthralled by the story.
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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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The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1) The Bourne Supremacy (Jason Bourne, #2) The Bourne Ultimatum (Jason Bourne, #3) The Matarese Circle (Matarese #1) The Icarus Agenda

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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.” 17 likes
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