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The Ambler Warning

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,479 Ratings  ·  341 Reviews
On Parrish Island, a restricted island off the coast of Virginia, there is a little-known and never-visited psychiatric facility. There, far from prying eyes, the government keeps in "deep storage" former intelligence employees whose psychiatric state make them a security risk to their own government, people whose ramblings might jeopardize ongoing operations or prove dang ...more
Paperback, 632 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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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
Best Robert Ludlum Books
19th out of 47 books — 58 voters
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
235th out of 879 books — 1,570 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
Jun 22, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
This is one of the four novels that Robert Ludlum (1927-2001) left unfinished when he died. This is my second attempt to read a novel written by him. My first attempt was in the late 80's when I tried reading The Bourne Identity after watching its movie adaptation starring then still young Matt Damon. I did not finish the book because it was not as good as the film.

But this one, The Ambler Warning is different. Not completely different though because Hal Ambler here is also a man who doesn't kno
Colin Taylor
May 08, 2012 Colin Taylor rated it it was ok
Better than 2012 Olympic Sabotage.
Curtis Poe
Jan 05, 2015 Curtis Poe rated it did not like it
Why, oh why, is this book averaging almost four stars?

I have to admit, I do enjoy reading a brain-dead thriller every once in a while. Robert Ludlum, a deceased thriller writer, wrote almost 30 novels and had over 200 million copies of his books in print. Needless to say, while his critics savaged him, he certainly managed to find what appealed to many readers. (And I realize only in retrospect how terrible the "brain-dead thriller" line sounds in this context).

Unfortunately for his fans, the la
Aug 08, 2013 Sheila rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not sure
Recommended to Sheila by: myself
Shelves: robert-ludlum
Firstly this book was a roller coaster, there were parts of the book where I was enjoying the narrative and than the long unnecessary descriptions made me fall asleep.

The Ambler Warning is a little different - Hal Ambler escaped from an institution for loonies however he is not a loony. He doesn't know who he is: his past life, his relatives, his plans for the future. He use to work in a highly-sensitive government intelligence units but than some powerful people in the government put him away t

Sep 19, 2011 James rated it liked it
Shelves: spy, i-own-a-copy
Not pure Ludlum - "Since his death, the Estate of ... worked with a carefully selected author ... to prepare and edit this work for publication." No mention if it's Lustbader Eric Van.

The novel itself sees Hal Ambler in a fairly similar premise to The Bourne Identity. That is, he's lost his memory and must fight to work out who and what he is. The differences are that instead of being rescued by some fishermen he's in an, 'off-the-books', psychiatric facility. The patients are all kept medicated
D.A. Cairns
Mar 12, 2016 D.A. Cairns rated it it was amazing
Excitement plus in this thriller from Robert Ludlum. I've said previously that action thriller is not my genre, but if they were all like this then it would be.

Although not an original idea: that of a man, a rogue special ops secret agent, losing his identity or having it stolen and attempting to find out about himself and expose a plot to kill someone important - rarely, perhaps never in my experience has it been done so well.

There is a lot of jargon in The Ambler Warning, but I never felt swam
Mar 21, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: spy, thriller
Let me say that I like Robert Ludlum books. Thrillers that keep me turning the pages late in the night are really a joy to read. I read "The Bourne Identity" ages ago. Although it was the one rare case where the movie was actually better than the book. Ludlum's books are entertaining in a kind of good made for TV movie way. A little drama, a little soap, lots of action, cliches and bad stereotypes. The "Ambler Warning" is a sort of Bourne Identity variation, left unfinished after Ludlum's death, ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Angela rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
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Ben Adkison
Jan 23, 2016 Ben Adkison rated it liked it
If you haven't read any of Robert Ludlum's work, then you're seriously missing out on some quality entertainment. The truth is, you've probably watched an adaptation of one of his books to film, but you may not realize it. Ludlum is the author of The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum, all of which have been made into movies starring Matt Damon. I'll be honest, I actually haven't read those books yet, but I have read Ludlum's The Janson Directive and The Ambler Warni ...more
Dave Roberts
Oct 29, 2015 Dave Roberts rated it liked it
I am reviewing the novel The Ambler Warning by Robert Ludlum which is a very good political thriller. Robert had a career in film and television prior to becoming an author. It amazes me how good what he writes is. He was the best selling author of all time with around 200 million books sold in his career. His books are all political thrillers and his first novel was The Scarletti Inheritence. His first filmed novel was The Osterman Weekend. The initial premise to this book is good with a secret ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Farheen rated it it was ok
I have to accept mindless thrillers, especially those written by Ludlum, are just not for me. I tried reading Bourne Identity, but never managed to get past the first 100 pages. With this book, I forced myself to get through, in the hope that it'll be worth it in the end...but it wasn't even close to it.
This book was all over the place with the plot lines..and the most ridiculous and unlikely scenarios. The characters were barely developed, and the story seemed to be following an obvious formul
Jun 15, 2013 Maynard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Although this work has Robert Ludlum's fingerprints on it, the novel was published after his death by his estate, which chose an author and an editor to bring the work to publication. One who is a fan and long-time reader of Ludlum, will notice the differences in writing style. That said, this is a great work set firmly in the Ludlum tradition.
Gail Morris
Aug 07, 2016 Gail Morris rated it really liked it
I was looking for something to read and came across this on my shelf and couldn't remember reading it before... so I pulled it down and sped through it trying to remember the story.
Somehow it all seemed familiar but I still couldn't recall how the thriller resolved itself... I had trouble figuring out why the main character was continually setting himself up after escaping from his mental prison. I wanted to tell Hal Ambler to go to ground and hide for a day, to stop stirring up the mystery of h
At first I really liked the book, but then there were too many questiongs that seemed to get in the way of me enjoying the plot. And by the time they tied it up I felt the ending was really rushed and not as fulfilling as it could have been. Not my favorite by him.
Aug 21, 2012 Raymond rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This thriller novel involves many twists and turns in the plot but it really did not hold my interest. The ending is quite a contrast between one who sees hidden intentions and another who is a skilled actor who can hide intentions.
Nov 01, 2015 Vainvt rated it liked it
I love listening to adventure novels for long drives because they are engaging and if you get distracted, you don't have to go back and catch the details. This book satisfied my driving requirements - engaging, action packed, and from a world of spies that is completely foreign to my life. My biggest complaint is that I saw the possibility of the ultimate bad guy very early and was surprised that the ultra-sensitive abilities of Ambler did not see what I saw.
But it got me safely to and from Bos
Mar 08, 2016 Sally rated it really liked it
It isn't hard to see why Ludlum is a legend in this genre. I have to admit that I haven't read any of the Bourne novels, but I have seen the films and I admire the originality of plot and how successful they are. The depth of detail that Ludlum goes into when writing these is astonishing, especially as the novel is over 600 pages. Truly this was an original, fast paced spy novel that didn't disappoint.
In the Ambler Warning we meet Harrison Ambler, who finds himself adrift in a world he doesn't
Steve Lindahl
Apr 10, 2010 Steve Lindahl rated it liked it
I read this book because someone I met recommended Robert Ludlum novels. I was disappointed to discover after I had started the book that it was a work he had left as an unfinished manuscript when he died. A ghost writer was hired to finish it, so I don't know how much of this book was written by Ludlum.

The book starts out in a mental hospital that is designed to handle cases of agents with knowledge of national secrets who have become security risks due to their mental illnesses. Harrison Amble
Nov 15, 2012 JBradford rated it it was amazing
Ambler Warning, by Robert Ludlum (11-13-12, 5 stars)

I do not normally give a 5-star rating to fiction novels, but this is probably the best novel of its type that I have read. I see by glancing at the other reviews that most everyone else was less enchanted than I was, but Hey--different strokes for different folks. It certainly is the best book by Robert Ludlum that I have read so far, even better than The Bourne Identity … which is interesting, as this book was produced four years after Ludlum
Hud (Bob) Huddleston
For the most part I enjoyed this book. It is the story of a man who has been "converted" through a combination of wierd science, powerful drugs, and abhorent psychology. As most of his adult life was spent as a covert black ops agent, Ambler is a person who has had all of his pre-hospitilization life somehow erased. His escape from a high tech medical facility has many chasing after him from both within and outside of the US as he tries to recover his past amongst the sordid worldly characters. ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Douglas rated it liked it
A remote psychiatric hospital off the coast of Virginia is the opening setting of this thriller by Robert Ludlum. Confined there are former CIA agents and other government operatives gone awry. Their knowledge of classified government information is too sensitive to be left to chance in non-secure facilities.

When a friend mentioned this book I was reminded of my introduction to Ludlum via “The Osterman Weekend”. I bought “Osterman” on a whim on a Saturday in the mid 1980s and started reading it
Feb 07, 2013 Al rated it liked it

On Parrish Island, off the coast of Virginia, lies a psychiatric facility. Far from prying eyes, it is a government-run hospital for former intelligence employees in possession of highly classified information. Former Consular Operations agent Hal Ambler is one of these patients whose mind is filled with secrets of state--and is considered such a security risk that he is kept heavily medicated and closely watched. But there's one critical difference between Ambler and the other patients--Ambler

Huda Sarkowi
Mar 22, 2013 Huda Sarkowi rated it liked it
Shelves: espionage, amnesia
If you are looking for an adrenaline pumping, fast pace, action packed spy thriller, this is NOT the book that you're looking for. Robert Ludlum's The Ambler Warning was most of the time focusing on the journey of Harrison Ambler who escape from a secret institution only to find out that he never exist in the real world. It was a promising premise, only to be watered down on how astray his journey become. The plot in this book instead of thickening, it fall flat until it peaked up again on the f ...more
Nov 15, 2011 martin rated it liked it
I had never read a Robert Ludlum novel before and maybe chose badly in starting with one that he never finished and was somehow prepared for publication by his heirs/estate. There were episodes where rightly or wrongly I felt a rather heavy handed editor had tried to fill in the gaps - not always successfully.

Anyway, it is an entertaining action read - just don't expect something like the Jason Bourne films because a lot has been added and improved by screenwriters and directors there. It's not
Sep 16, 2014 Lori rated it liked it
I started reading Robert Ludlum in high school, early 80's. I always enjoyed the complex stories and action. I remember there was always a very predictable love interest..which was ok, something I could overlook. I know he died, and this book may have been given to another author during its editing..but I don't remember the big, obscure vocabulary words. I didn't mind, but I was such a nerd in school I feel like I would have remembered that about him, and I don't.

Anyway, it was a good story with
Giri Dv
Jun 02, 2015 Giri Dv rated it it was ok
Basic storyline very similar to Bourne identity, tampering with memory, etc. Hence the 2 star rating. Why authors have to repeat themselves? How these books sell at all?
Once you see the similarity, you lose interest. However, I went through the book somehow.
It has been 2 months since I read the book. Unable to remember how difficult it was to go through.
Mar 28, 2012 Mandy rated it really liked it
I listened to this book as I was reading a book about Psychopaths. It was great! I would recommend reading them together for added effect to this book. Hal Ambler doesnt know who he is for sure anymore. He has been locked up in a special psych hospital for ex-operatives with special skills and too much special knowledge. He doesnt know why he is there, or how he ended up there. What would be the point of the book if he hadn't escaped? So he does and tires to find his way in a world that doesnt s ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Kathy rated it did not like it
This was the first book that I have read by this author; and it will be the LAST. I truly hated this book. There were too many names to keep in mind......Chinese names, lettered US government departments, bad guys coming out of the woodwork and more. To say that this was confusing is putting it mildly.

Aug 04, 2011 Darren rated it it was amazing
Long book and relatively predictable (guessed it about 1/3 of the way through). However, it was still a very good, exciting book. If you are a fan of the Jason Bourne series, this has a lot of the same elements. If you tired of the Jason Bourne series, then you'll most likely get about 2/3 of the way through this book and struggle to stay focused on completing it. This has a lot of the same elements of the Jason Bourne idea... man without a clear memory of the past, trying to find himself and wh ...more
Raz Khan
Feb 05, 2013 Raz Khan rated it really liked it
Robert Ludlum presents the life of a man named Ambler who has lost his identity. He is someone whose life has been completely changed and all records of his existence have been removed. The way he sees it, the world is against him.

The book starts with him in a high security mental asylum where he eventually escapes from because of the help of a nurse who had fallen in love with him. He knew he had been put in there by his government but he had no idea why or who he was. He did not remember his
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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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