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The Janson Directive (Paul Janson #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  5,254 ratings  ·  192 reviews
Nobel laureate, international financier, and philanthropist Peter Novak-a billionaire who has committed his life and fortune to fostering democracy around the world through his Liberty Foundation-has been kidnapped. The terrorist known as The Caliph is holding Novak in a near-impenetrable fortress and has refused to negotiate for his release, planning instead to brutally e ...more
Paperback, 693 pages
Published October 19th 2003 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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The Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Bourne Supremacy by Robert LudlumThe Bourne Ultimatum by Robert LudlumThe Matarese Circle by Robert LudlumThe Holcroft Covenant by Robert Ludlum
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18th out of 53 books — 55 voters
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44th out of 69 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Robert Ludlum, while living or now that he is dead, never fails to astonish me. His works are just different from most of the suspense-thriller novels around. Ludlum books are like a certain kind of apparel brand whose owners and tailors seem to have me in mind whenever they design and produce their clothes.

The Janson Directive was first published in 2002, a year after Robert Ludlum’s death. The question of whether he or some hired writers wrote this does not really matter. This book has the qu
This was my first Robert Ludlum book, although I had heard the name over the years, and read a few reviews of his books. As I had a whole English pound coin burning a hole in my pocket I tried this one. Some familiar ground to start off with, a terrorist preparing to do something horrid and killing one or two sentries and border guards in preparation. The horrid thing was the abduction of a man who, along with being rich beyond our wildest dreams uses his money and influence for the good of his ...more
Just like Robert Ludlum's 'Bourne' series and Lee Child's 'Reacher' books, you WANT to believe there is someone that kickass out there... We all know there isn't. So, as long as you take it as seriously as the 'Die Hard' movies they are excellent books.

In this story, the worlds greatest philanthropist, billionaire and all round good guy is kidnapped by terrorists. No ransom is demanded they just want to execute him.

Novak's people call in the one man killing machine Paul Janson. Janson puts to
Sep 01, 2013 Teresa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
America secretly tries to influence the course of world history whilst appearing to stay at arms length but it all goes horrible wrong and eventually they have to rely on an ex super spy to save the day when their puppet decides he wants to control the strings himself. So utterly predictable I only kept on reading to see how dreadful it could get. In that respect it didn't disappoint it just kept on getting worse and worse.

Also I kept really irritated by glaring errors that a minimum of researc
Carl Alves
The Janson Directive was published after Robert Ludlum’s death. It’s very typical of a Ludlum novel filled with high-wire action scenes and loaded with twists and turns. In this novel, Paul Janson, a former assassin for the United States government who now runs a private security company is hired to rescue kidnapped Nobel Peace prize winner, Peter Novak. He is being held captive by Muslim extremists in the Indian Ocean. Just after his rescue attempt, Novak is killed in a fiery explosion. Instead ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Ed rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ludlum and thriller fans.
The Janson Directive is one of 5 novels credited to Robert Ludlum and published after his death. It is not, then, surprising that this book was not as good as the ones he finished himself. We have no idea who actually edited and completed this novel but it lacks the patina of reality that Ludlum's previous efforts showed. It's not a bad story. I wouldn't have stayed with it through 760 pages if it was. It's just not a great novel.

Paul Janson, the protagonist, left the spy/assassination game only
Tessa Small
From an operatives point of view looking at the world he lives especially undercover out there far removed from the desk jockeys who make decisions, pass down orders and generally are deniable of responsibility, this story weaves in and out of just how wrong decisions taken by politicians can be and when disaster strikes how quickly they give out orders which prove wrong, then rescind those orders when faces with real people and lives, and when the problems of the world are solved how they promp ...more
Jason Sta. Maria
It was a bit common story. But anyway I can still say it was good enough atleast.
By Robert Ludlum. Grade: A
The author of 37 novels, Robert Ludlum has been one of the busiest authors in literary circles. The Janson Directive is one of those 5 novels which were credited to Robert Ludlum and published posthumously.
The spy game cost Paul Janson everything that was most important to him, so it would take a lot to lure him back into it. But there is one person to whom Janson owes a huge debt- and he’s calling in his marker. Peter Novak has been kidnapped and faces execution at the
Keith Willcock

As usual Mr Ludlum wastes no time in getting down to action in this non stop thriller. Our hero Paul Janson has reluctantly accepted a mission to rescue a world famous philanthropist from the clutches of a radical terrorist group who has kidnapped him and sentenced him to a beheading in , shall we say 48 hours. Not much time to work but Ludlum is a master at packing everything into a microscope and blowing it up in the shortest order possible and so it is to be once again. Stretching his almost
I have to admit... despite the other "Robert Ludlum" series that I have already read, I haven't actually read one of Robert Ludlum's original novels written before he had passed and other authors had taken over the various series. Now, I have finally taken the time to read this particular novel because it's his original before recently a second book with the same main character, Paul Janson, has been taken over by another author.

I have read the Jason Bourne series, and the Covert-One (Lt. Col. J

When billionaire philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it’s up to Paul Janson—a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations—to save him. But Janson’s rescue operation goes horribly wrong…and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a "beyond salvage" order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter

David Roberts
I am reviewing the novel The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum which is an excellent thriller which I bought from a car boot sale. Ludlum was the biggest selling author in the world at one time and does write carefully crafted thrillers. I enjoyed this book which is also a nice length at around 620 pages. The plot is a prominent man has his son kidnapped by terrorists in Sri Lanka and the Americans will help him with intelligence but won't get further involved because it may put American citizen ...more
Downloaded from

Narrator: Paul Michael
Publisher: Audio Renaissance, 2002
Length: 20 hours and 36 min.

Publisher's Summary
One of the world's greatest men has been kidnapped! Nobel laureate, financier, and philanthropist Peter Novak - a billionaire committed to fostering global democracy through his Liberty Foundation - has been captured by the Caliph, a near-mythical terrorist who plans to execute him in a matter of days.

Running out of time and hope, Novak's people turn to a man with a h
Another awful plodding Ludlum, again, only read because it was all I could get from my local expatriates' swapshop. This and 'The Matarese Circle' were written thirty years apart, but the plot was almost identical. Ludlum shamelessly jumps on the bandwagon of Americans feeling guilty after 9/11 with a painfully politically correct tale of massive global conspiracy theory designed to target younger readers and absolve himself of the patriotic crud he proba ...more
The funniest thing! I can't remember reading this book before, but the first part of the book was so familiar. Then, when I got past the first 50-60 pages it was totally unfamiliar. At any rate, it was a good Ludlum thriller, similar in a lot of ways to the Bourne series. Paul Janson is an ex-Consular Operations agent who is hired by an international humanitarian organization to rescue the CEO of the organization from terrorists who plan to execute him live on an upcoming Muslim holiday. He pull ...more
Azar Ali Zain
Felt a bit of a drag in the middle, but the patience paid well: the twists were sharp and the details were so shockingly pertinent to what is happening today, that it will keep you at the edge and leaving the book gets very hard.
I already have a blockbuster movie based on the story in my mind, just visualizing it makes me feel thrilled! Another one of Ludlum's masterpieces, certainly. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
Arthur Gibson
This was a good book. It had good characters. It blended their past and their future and present in interesting ways. The big "surprise" was not something that I saw coming. About the only thing that brought this down for me was that I am finding a lot of his novels are following a formula. Get an agent, make sure we know he is the best. Put him in situations that place him beyond salvage (whether he has his memory or not is optional). Give him a strong, confident woman to assist him. Let him ru ...more
Ron Holmes
This is the first book in the series and the second Robert Ludlum book I have read. Robert Ludlum was a great writer with great attention to detail. This book is full of many twists and turns and fortunately for Janson he is able to navigate through it all. Of course, there was not enough sex, but Janson is getting up there in years.
Paul Rockthief
What the heck? I enjoy Ludlum's novels but this one was disjointed and not enjoyable. I get the notion that it was written ghost writers. Had a heck of a time getting through it. Ugh. It is one of the most unsatisfying books I have read lately. I think I will reread the Bourne series and get back into the real Ludlum groove.
Christopher Dubey
This was the first novel I read by Robert Ludlum. I was blown away by his attention to detail, how much research he does on weapons and other aspects of being a secret agent. You would think he himself had been a secret agent. Plus, the characters were well-developed and the plot was fun, fast, and itself complex.
Robert Ludlum books are implausible to the extreme; once that fact is accepted, they are great fun. This was my favorite of the few Ludlum novels I have read. This book wasted no time getting to the action, and the ending was both plausible (relatively speaking of course) and unexpected. Somebody always ends up alive who was presented as dead in these books, but the villain and his path to power were both interesting in this case. Furthermore, the protagonist only escaped a gun to the head one t ...more
Dick Pilskog
Very good book which took me a long time to read. I could not believe how an older spy guy could get out of trouble so many times he did but he had a little help along the way. Definitely spooky in more than one way than another. Good story with lots of twists and it ended as I wanted.
Cherry Young
Aug 07, 2008 Cherry Young rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Espionage and Action Thriller Lovers
Recommended to Cherry by: self
Am a big fan of Robert Ludlum. Don't know how I missed this one when it was originally published in 2002. Got it in paperback recently.
It's typical Ludlum: fast-paced intrigue and action on an international scale. Keeps you reading because you "have to" find out who's been pushing all the buttons.

Scary to contemplate that our US Government might actually be orchestrating "projects" under the wire that can have such devastating world-wide effects and that there perhaps are actually such arrogant
Oh my! It has seemed to take me 'forever' to read this novel. I always thought of Robert Ludlum as a writer of suspense and thrillers. In the midst of reading this book, I did something I have never done before. I came back to the Goodreads web site to read the reviews of others. As I learned that this novel was an unfinished work at the time of Ludlum's death on 12-Mar-2001, my suspicions were confirmed. I know that an adult should rarely use the word 'never' in their vocabulary so I do not sta ...more
Excellent book. The author has a superior ability to describe things, events, scenes that are uncanny. Plot was good. Character development was excellent. The main character was almost superhuman, which makes the story predictable.
Peter Pecksen
Sadly I have to say this is the weakest Ludlum book I have ever read. Great idea but some huge jumps in the story line seem to indicate the author had written themselves into a corner. Also the errors in describing the most basic weapons constantly detracted from the story line of a consummate lethal weapon.
jennifer  harris
Another great Ludlum book of intrigue

I like intrigue, and the twists and turns kept me glued. This story will not fail you. If you have read his other books, read this one too,
The Jansen Directive is by the same dude who wrote the Bourne trilogy, so if you saw those movies, you have a good idea what to expect. Highly trained, highly badass operative is set up and must expose a shocking conspiracy in the highest levels of blah blah blah. Lot's of other highly trained highly badass operatives show up to kill him, over and over again. As you might expect, one of these turns out to be a beautiful women, who first tries to kill him but then...

You get the idea. Great if you
Jennifer Combs
Another Ludlum hit

Ludlum weaves a nice story with twists and turns you don't expect. His stories make me rush to turn the page. Janson is a favorite character of mine.
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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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Other Books in the Series

Paul Janson (4 books)
  • The Janson Command (Paul Janson, #2)
  • The Janson Option (Paul Janson, #3)
  • The Janson Equation (Paul Janson, #4)
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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