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The Parsifal Mosaic
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The Parsifal Mosaic

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,939 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Michael Havelock’s world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava as he watched his partner and lover, double agent Jenna Karas, efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There’s nothing left for him but to quit the game, get out. Then, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock sees Jenna. Racing around the globe in search of his beautiful b...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published February 1st 1983 by Bantam (first published 1982)
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This novel was published in 1982, and it is the direct follow up in Mr.Ludlum's career to his legendary Bourne Identity novel. In future years, Mr.Ludlum would seemingly forget how to write character depth, but at the time of this novel he remembered to include depth for most of the stories characters. Some of the sequences are "cookie cutter" for this author, the first 200 pages of this book seemed so similar to the first 200 pages of Bourne Identity that I was debating if I was wasting my time...more
After the disasters of 'Holcroft Covenant' and 'Chancellor Manuscript' Ludlum is back to somewhere near his best. This book is good because Ludlum sticks to what he does best - spies and their strategic games; leaving aside tedious politics and economics. The story is essentially just strategies, traps, moves & countermoves devised, executed and subsequently taken apart by the best of the spies in the Consular Operations and the VKR (a right-wing part of the KGB).

Micheal Havelock, our hero a...more
Josh McClellan
As a big time Ludlum fan, I walk into any Ludlum book with high expectations. I think this is a good book, but it was bit of a roller coaster for me in ways that other Ludlum novels weren't. At moments I was confused and a little frustrated, and at others I was captivated. By the end, overall, I was impressed with the scope and the detail of the story.

The story is layered and complex, more so than any of his other stories I have read. It felt confusing and convoluted at times in the midst of it,...more
My very very very very favorite Ludlum book. I read these over and over again in high school and college, raiding my parents' library. I eventually had to start buying my own copies. This is definitely my favorite.
I think this was one of my top 2 favorite Robert Ludlum books. He is an awesome writer! Keeps me reading till my eyes are red and the sun is coming up!
John Sixto
It's tough to get started with this one but but when you do, it really hits hard!
Tim Healy
I read this first when I was in High School...maybe 16 years old. I read almost all of Ludlum's library while I was in High School. My mother liked them, so they were always around. This was one that made a strong impression on me at the time.

Some of Ludlum's work has not held up terribly well. It is too deeply rooted in a geopolitical climate that no longer exists. I put The Bourne Identity in that column. This one holds up better. While it does live in the Cold War era of Soviet-US-China relat...more
Matt Crumpton
Well i am glad I finally got this book read. It has taken me 4 or 5 times to sit down and read the entire thing. Well what did I think.......

In one word....CONVOLUTED! This book is so confusing. Really, when you get to the end and you have some idea what the story is about, you seem to think gee I could have made it much more coherent for the reader. The plot is so simple, and in my opinion a little weak. There is just so many words, and subplots and verbal beatings around the bush. I just felt...more
Robert Ojok
This is one of the great books of espionage. The story line could easily fit into today's geopolitical manoeuvrings by the super powers vying for not just military and political might but financial too. It's an insightful story into the mucky world of espionage where things are never quite what they seem and even enemies can find a common cause for survival...
Good book. Really a 3.5 for me.
Lots of action with twisty-turny plot. I found it difficult to get into, but was into it by page 200 - yes, at 200 you're only just beginning and it continues to page 684, but was an enjoyable read and I found myself wondering what was happening when I wasn't reading it.

(For a summary of the book read the publisher's blurb.)

Enjoyed the characters, specially the bad guy Arthur Pierce. The whole scenario of Russian agents integrated into American society from birth...more
Joel Margolese
Re-read this after about 25 years. Yikes! It's still a page turner, but I had forgotten how complicated it was. At one point, the characters spent 10 pages explaining the plot to themselves! And then they did it again. perhaps Ludlum felt that it got more complex then he had anticipated. It also took me a while to realize that the Secretary-of-State character with a God complex could perhaps be modeled after Henry Kissenger. At first I thought it was interesting, almost quaint to go back and see...more
This is my all time favorite book ever!!!! I want to write a book like this that makes readers feel what I feel every time I read it. I've read it at least 20 times and it never gets old.
Julius Gewarges
Michael Havelock, a U.S. spy with a tortured past, finally finds some happiness with a fellow spy, Jenna Karas aka Jenna Karasova. Unfortunately, he discovers that Jenna is a double agent, and watches her die for her betrayal. Preparing to abandon his agent-life and retire to become a teacher, he catches a glimpse of Jenna, alive, at a chance meeting in Europe. The chase is on, as he tries to track down Jenna and figure out why she's alive, and who was deceiving who.
Loved the book a lot and enjo...more
Stephen Orth
Classic Ludlum, with a convoluted plot and intrigue at the highest levels of government. Note: the Kindle edition downloaded Oct 2014 was so filled with typos that portions were nearly incomprehensible.
This is my favorite Ludlum book (to date), probably because the love story made it very personal and less spy-detailed (sorry, folks if that's what you prefer). I do not seek out the "love-story" angle in my books, but I find that this often just adds a more emphatic note for me to connect with the long as the author doesn't run it into the ground with sappy detail; just the human nature of relationships that are so very vital to keeping people like Ludlum's characters real and connect...more
Ok This was the VERY FIRST Ludlum novel for me , followed closely by The Bourne Identity. These were given to me by my sister Helen who thought that my Lord of the Rings period was due for an ending and I need to expand out of Tolkien and novels like Watership Down.

Fantastic international intrigue with great characters and fast paced action.
I learned the flashlight on the end of a cord swing trick from this book to trick people to forested locations. Worked several times in my life. Woot.

This is...more
Unlike most other Robert Ludlum novels, this one is somewhat tedious!
Its about a Secretary of State is brought under tremendous mental pressure and his mind is cracked by Russians to make him sign treaties with Russia and China the disclosure of which could result in an all out nuclear war which could annihilate Earth!
The hero manages to find the original copy of the treaty eventually along with its authors. The pace of the novel is fast but tiresome to read.
I think Vince Flynn usually depicts t...more
Typical early Ludlum storytelling. A complex interwoven plot that is perhaps a bit dated for today.
I first read this novel back when it was published in 1982 and, while it is not his best work, it is still one of those stories that, at times, is so exciting that you can't wait to turn the page.
Tip: When you start this book, take a deep breath and start running with it. Just don't forget to breathe out!
Lucas Pepa
Finally, this seemed eternal. So basically reads like any Bourne movie, spies, russians, KGB, cold war themes, etc. But Ludlum knows how to write his prose.
Good tale of international intrigue.
Well written and proofed, as usual for Ludlum.
I'd really like to give it 4 1/2 stars. The story definitely keeps you on your toes. There is so much information to absorb and remember that it was a somewhat difficult read, but one that was not lacking in excitement. It was a good mix of puzzles and emotional events. I'm more for the emotional part (which is why it's not five stars), but the puzzle part was incredibly intriguing (which is why I wish there were halves for the stars).
Robert Laird
I've read a few Ludlum books before, but it's been quite a few years. The tapestry he creates in this novel is quite amazing, with lots of depth -- not just the characters, but the ambiance and locales. I won't go into the story or characters, but will summarize by saying that this is masterful fiction, and although the subject is a bit dated, now, it's a good read, highly entertaining, engrossing, with few flaws. Highly recommended.
You don't have to venture far into this novel to see that Ludlum is very talented at writing spy thrillers. The action is fast paced with plenty of intrigue. The main character is developed particularly well and the reader is sure to end up rooting for Michael Havelock. The only drawback to the novel is that there are so many threads to the "mosaic" that at times it becomes difficult to keep track of everything that is unfolding.
Kevin Sterling
One of many Ludlum novels I've read, and they're all great. This is a complex story, yet still easy to follow, and it definitely keeps you interested. My only complaint with Ludlum, despite his being an absolutely exquisite writer, is that his descriptions can go on for paragraphs if not pages about a single scene, and I just want the story to move along. But in the end, I'm never sorry that I stuck with it.
Teresa Pribudic
Thriller!! I didn't know who the culprit was until the end. Well written and fast paced to keep you interested. I will definitely be reading another Robert Ludlum book in the future.
Like most Ludlam thrillers, bodies drop off nearly every page as a crazy fanatic is threatening to start a nuclear war. I enjoyed this implausible thriller, watching the bad guys and the good guys outwit each other. This was written in the 80's and I wondered how the author would have written it if everyone had a cell phone, instead of having to find a pay phone to make calls.
In my opinion, this is one of the best books by Robert Ludlum I've read so far. It ranks pretty close to his Jason Bourne books, which are a must read, especially if you liked the movies. As usual, the books are twice as good, and the plots bear little semblance to the movies. To use the old cliche, Parsifal Mosaic kept me up far too late reading many times.

I loved this book when I first read it 30 years ago. Unfortunately, it has become rather dated. Ludlum's Bourne books and the Matarese Circle have better stood the test of time. One additional annoyance, I re-read this on a Kindle, and the electronic version was peppered by so many typos it was, at times, hard to get through the text.
A well done piece of international spy fiction. Many consider this Ludlum's finest work. Personally, I don't know if the main characters had enough to do with the overall conspiracy as they should. It felt stretched. Which is why I think this falls short of his greatest works. Still good though, a must read if you're a fan.
A solid 2.5 stars. I liked the action scenes and Havelock's point of view but the long discussiones bored me to death even though they seemed like they could have been very interesting. All in all an okay read. I will check out other books in the similar genre, but I don't think I'll pick this particular author again ...
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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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