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The Road to Gandolfo (Road to #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  5,120 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
THE PRINCIPAL CAST: General Mackenzie Hawkins, legend, hero, rogue. Sam Devereaux, bright young lawyer from Harvard, now in the army, can't wait to get out. General Hawkin's four ex-wives, a quartet of incredibly endowed women who've formed a club: Hawkin's Harem.

THE PREMISE: Kidnap Pope Francesco I, the most beloved pontiff since John XX III.

RANSOM: One American dollar
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1975)
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The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
Good read. Funny, a bit misogynistic but that comes with books written in the 60s and 70s. Worth reading anyway. It's a surprise to see Ludlum wrote something like this. Read the author's comments their as funny as the book and don't take any of it seriously, it's a satire.

This is Scott Brick's, the narrator, best work yet. Loved it.
Aug 15, 2007 Tejas rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up this book decades ago, I expected it to be another in a long line of highly entertaining Ludlum thrillers. Four hours later, I couldn't remember the last time I had laughed so much, so consistently.

This is the second funniest book written by Ludlum (top spot goes to its sequel, 'The Road to Omaha'). It is completely out of character for Ludlum and yet somehow fits within his established style.

Following the mad capers of General MacKenzie Hawkins, who despite being America
This was fun. I added another star for Brick, the reader. I swear he read this at times in an eerie, but entirely apt, imitation of Arlo Guthrie Jr. doing "Alice's Restaurant". No music or four part harmony, but still! It was fun & fit perfectly in with the tongue-in-cheek story.

The Hawk was a great character, as were they all. A friend said it was a bit misogynistic, but I didn't get that impression at all. The Hawk's women (gorgeous ex-wives who still liked & respected him) were defini
Aug 07, 2010 Gunner1956 rated it it was amazing
I was cleaning out my basement the other day and found a pile of old Robert Ludlum books from the 70s and 80s. Ludlum of course was the master of the thriller-conspiracy-spy genre of those decades. I picked up Road to Gondolfo and began reading it again after over 30 years of collecting dust .....and I couldn't put it down. A typical “Ludlumesque” fast-paced thriller, but also extraordinarily funny. I had forgotten that Ludlum was equally renowned for his humour and wit as well as being the mast ...more
Nancy Brady
Feb 09, 2015 Nancy Brady rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
A disgraced general, MacKenzie Hawkins, decides to kidnap the Pope for ransom. He enlists his four ex-wives, a reluctant attorney, Sam Devereaux, and an international cast of characters in this crime. One dollar for every Catholic in the world is his goal as he commands and plans his way. All Sam wants is out without causing World War III, but Hawk is in charge. Can he pull off the kidnapping, or will Sam circumvent it? This is a madcap scheme with wild situations.
David Roberts
Mar 06, 2014 David Roberts rated it really liked it
I am reviewing the thriller The Road To Gandolfo by Robert Ludlum which is a very good novel which I bought from a car boot sale. Robert used to be the biggest selling author in the world and his books were so successful he didn't have to even write a novel every year. He is an ex film producer and he tends what you might call intelligent thrillers. This book is a little bit more light hearted than his usual stuff and in the introduction he says it was great fun to write. This book was written i ...more
Dick Reynolds
Sep 17, 2013 Dick Reynolds rated it liked it
This book was first published in 1975 and the author’s name given as Michael Shepherd. Turns out it was written by Robert Ludlum, using a pseudonym, at the mandate of his editor/publisher so as not to smirch his well known name. It was reissued several times and the paperback I have is the 1992 issue. According to Ludlum’s introduction this arrangement gave him the freedom to unleash his staggering imagination.
The plot is way over the top and features an army general named MacKenzie Hawkins wh
Jun 25, 2011 Barry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-misc
Based on the blurb on the back cover of the book, I was led to believe that this was a hilarious tale told by the master of the thriller, Mr. Ludlum. I was led astray. Perhaps because of the term "wickedly funny" I expected just that, but instead got just a few chuckles. Just now as I write this I spy on the front cover the words "an explosion of mirth and suspense". More hyperbole. If I hadn't expected a funny book maybe I would have enjoyed it more, but it's only mildly humorous and majorly di ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-shelf, adult-humor
Humorous and a Great Read

My good friend was clearing out some of his old books and gave me this book to read. I enjoyed the book and I found it to be a very entertaining read. I always appreciate a bit of humor in stories and this book had a number of humorous moments. I laughed at some of the scenes and kept reading and laughed at the characters.
I understand that there is a sequel to the book so I'll probably ask my friend if he has it. Assuming he can remember the title.
Aug 10, 2012 Karyn rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this on the beach in Cancun. I was laughing so hard, a couple people came over to ask what I was reading. The general and his poor schmuck of a lawyer are the perfect pair. If I could find it as an ebook, I'd read it today. I NEVER would have pegged Robert Ludlum as a gifted comedy writer... but this one is excellent. I really am not a Ludlum fan..
Feb 13, 2017 Naomi rated it really liked it
Recently reread this as I remember enjoying it a lot first time around (about 25+ years ago). While the sexist stereotypes and language really jump out now where they didn't then, it's still a really fun fast story.
Shane Phillips
Jan 21, 2017 Shane Phillips rated it really liked it
I think Ludlum was obsessed with big boobies.
Daniel Jackson
Feb 03, 2017 Daniel Jackson rated it really liked it
Fun, at times funny page-turner.
I was expecting more from this book. A friend of mine told me this was a book written while Mr. Ludlum was growing progressively drunk on wine and quite funny. I think the only part I found funny was the singing at the beginning. I was kind of bored throughout the whole of the audiobook. Probably just not my kind of book. It was also a downpour of foul language. And I've read books with a lot of it in them. Disappointing.
Charles Spencer
Jun 10, 2014 Charles Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may sound strange, but I read this book's sequel, THE ROAD TO OMAHA, first...I just saw the premise on the back of the book, knew Robert Ludlum's reputation as a great writer, and thought 'Okay, this might be worth a buy.' I had NO IDEA what I was getting into: THE ROAD TO OMAHA became one of my favorite books once I was done, and it took a little while afterward to hunt down and secure its predecessor, the madcap beginning of the absurd, OMG-they-didn't-do-that adventures of MacKenzie 'Mad ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Athornton rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, humor
THE ROAD TO GANDOLFO is a rare comedic turn from Robert Ludlum, a guy not exactly known for his amazing sense of humor. It's the equivalent of Tom Clancy trying to do comedy. Or Ken Follett. Dial Press (Ludlum's publisher at the time GANDOLFO was written) was initially so pleased with the manuscript, they forced Ludlum to publish it under a pen name.
If a book has to tell you over and over again on the cover just how amazingly hilarious it is, you can bet your life it will fail to deliver. And if
Sreedevi Viswambaran
Jan 19, 2016 Sreedevi Viswambaran rated it it was ok
The Road to Gandolfo by Michael Shephard (a pen name used by Robert Ludlum), Finished Reading on 1st August 2009

1CGeneral MacKenzie Hawkins is a living military legend, a hero and a rogue. Sam Devereaux is a bright young ex-Harward lawyer, now in the army, and he can 19t wait to get out.
When the Hawk gets kicked out of the army for conduct unbecoming of an officer, his options are limited 13 but not for long. He has a plan 13 a plan so ambitious it will shock the world and make him a ve
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sree Devi
Jan 28, 2016 Sree Devi rated it it was ok
Don’t get deceived by the name of Robert Ludlum. It is not a Jason Bourne or covert-one adventure. Its a just another bland novel, which you can afford to skip anytime. No action, no nerve breaking suspense, just a detailed narration of an attorneys globe trotting with few blondes. Nothing more. I struggled to finish it off.

There is no story as such to talk about in this book. Just a dangerous embarking of a retired military general to make money, with the help of an attorney who hardly like thi
May 13, 2012 John rated it liked it
Gandolfo is Ludlum at his least serious (it was originally published under a psuedonym). General Mac Hawkins is unceremoniously, though deservingly, booted out of the army for extremely rude behavior. With the unwilling help of his military attorney Sam Devereaux, Hawkins hatches a plot to kidnap the Pope and extract a ransom from the Catholic church. Mac has the help of his four ex-wives, who have a knack for showing up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

This book was enjoyabl
This is on of those novels by Ludlum which he wrote using another name (Michael Shepherd)and this books is radically different from his usual style that I can see why this was done.

In comparison to his usual work, this book is more intended to be humorous and this can be a welcome chance from his usual books, however not all Ludlum fans will probably appreciate this.

A story about an ex-general who has the plan to kidnap the pope with the help of his 4 ex-wives is not something you would expect i
Dec 24, 2010 Connie rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Not the typical Ludlum novel.

Its hard to believe that a Robert Ludlum book can make you laugh, but "The Road to Gandolfo" made me chuckle more than once. Don't be fooled by the humor, because this book has the Ludlum's touch for creating a well written story that is meant to be amusing. For example, in this satire, the guy is discharged from the Army for becoming a political embarrassment. He later decides to do something even more politically embarrassing by kidnapping the Pope. Who would thin
Jan 08, 2015 Kevincl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed with this book to be honest. While descriptively it was well written, and it flowed nicely, as far as plot and progression were concerned, I hated it. My dead grandmother's one legged parrot's ass could have written better with a pen stuck in it. It reminded me a bit of The Ambler Warning. So much plot twisting and detail and counter plots (ridiculous plot twists too in my opinion) leading right up to the end of the book. With a few pages to go I was wondering to myse ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Samuel rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, Robert Ludlum tried to make this into a serious story. But he realised no one could take it seriously. So he decided to write an extremely self-deprecating parody gently mocking his work. The result is a genuinely outrageous, sometimes laugh out loud book where an American General tries to kidnap the Pope, dragging a army lawyer along for the ride. The settings are impressive, the characters are so ridiculous, they're almost lovable and the plot is a gem. For serious spy fictio ...more
Mar 27, 2009 Tim rated it liked it
I picked this up at a laundromat; I've read a few Ludlum books and have found them mildly entertaining. This has a somewhat different twist, with a hapless lawyer caught up in the usual massive-conspiracy-with-a-retired-general-at-the-helm schtick that is usual with these intrigue books. This time it's all about the Pope (don't want to give away any spoilers so I won't say more). A few other interesting characters (said general's four ex-wives, but i digress) add to the party. The cover describe ...more
May 11, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mild-humour
This is a really cheesy book. Funny. But cheesy. It's about Mackenzie Hawkins, who was kick out of the U.S Army on potentially trumped up charges, and decides to do a little something that'll ensure a safe retirement.

Hawkins tries to ensure that the kidnapping he arranges is as above board as possible (like I said it's a comedy), so he uses the lawyer who minimised the issues related his army exist to help. Much of the comedy comes from this relationship.

It's a silly book. It's an easy read, but
Aug 17, 2008 Chuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can imagine Robert Ludlum, author of 'The Bourne Identity' and master of international spy fiction, writing comedy, then you'd like this book. General McKenzie 'Mac' Hawkins has been set out to pasture by the US government because, after a lifetime of service, he is a scapegoat so that the US can get some advantageous trade concessions from a trading partner.

McKenzie is angry, and is determined to get some satisfaction--by kidnapping the Pope. The Pope goes along with the plan, and ther r
Mackenzie Hawkins is awesome.

Not only does he cause a ton of trouble for the US government in the 1st third of the book, he then hatches a plan to kidnap the Pope so as to get $400 million in ransom.

Sure there are plotholes big enough to fly a plane through but just by reading the back of the book you go in knowing this won't be an award winner. Still, for a 324 page novel, it took longer than it should have to get through it.

Not sure when I'll get to reading The Road to Omaha but I do look forw
Aug 17, 2013 James rated it it was ok
I was not very impressed with this book. The story concept was interesting but the implementation was not well done.
The main character of the wronged general McKenzie Hawkins was fairly well done but the lawyer Sam Devereaux was trite, not very likable,
and not very believable. The addition of the four ex-wives should have really added a great twist to the characters but they were total stereotypes of their role.
I could never get interested in this book.
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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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