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The Fifth Profession

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,134 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
From the bestselling author of First Blood comes a spectacular thriller, in which a former Navy SEAL and a Japanese samurai master are bound together in a terrifying past that never happened.
Paperback, 498 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1990)
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Jessica McReaderpants
This book started out great, mystery intrigue spying and bodyguard-ing. Then it took a left turn out of interesting into crazy town. Spoiler Alert* Their brains were messed with. So it goes on and on and on Matrix style with is this a dream is this a real memory or is this fabricated. Chapter after chapter as they are chased and chase people. Oh and then all of a sudden the woman who was saved is suddenly and inexplicably in love with our protagonist. Seriously there is hardly any meaningful con ...more
Andy Connell
Jul 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Started off good, got kinda annoying, got annoying, got dumb, got retarded, got jesus fucking christ./
Arun Divakar
Sep 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
The book starts off like an action flick from the 80’s which stars two heroes and a heroine oozes sexuality. Since one of them is a Caucasian and the other a Japanese, I am going to assume for Hollywood’s sake that we will put in Mel Gibson and Chow Yun Fat as the protagonists. The movie trailers tell us that one of them is a Navy SEAL and the other is trained in the Samurai arts. They are executive protectors of the first order and both get sent on a mission to Greece. You settle in with popcor ...more
While many of the elements of fiction I loved were in place, interesting protagonists, intriguing settings, brain-bending true-to-life science (neuroscience), spies, assassins, questionable memories, martial arts, and moving action, I felt the end lacked... something. It didn't feel like the most powerful ending that Morrell could have written. On the whole, I liked the book and will lend it out to my friends. I learned a lot, though, about Executive Protectors, tradecraft, Japan, and Japanese C ...more
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: w
p450: savage shook his head fiercely, as if strong enough denial would erase the carnage around him, would made the corpses disappear.

my second morrell;
it reads like ludlum's bourne crossed with the wachowskis' the matrix;
well, maybe minus the transgender part
Cindy Tomamichel
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting tangle of plot and character as Morrell flashes between past, present and false memories. A great fast paced read, possibly slightly less violent than some of his other books.
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: facebook-reviews
This is the 2nd time I read this book. The first time was way back when I was in college. All I remembered was that I had found the book to be awesome then. Well after hundreds of thrillers later, thousands of life experiences later, a few paradigm shifts in my personal outlook towards life, I enjoyed the book but not THAT much. What I had once labelled as awesome has now fallen back into being a good "One Time Read" page turner.

The plot is a bit far-fetched. It starts off in a furious and lucid
James Adams
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
or a moral, but it needs to be bloody, and it needs to be fun. This book is both of those things, and in spades.
It is also deeply, and unintentionally, silly.
It doesn't seem that way, at first. There's an intro about the importance and glorious history of professional protectors, in both Eastern and Western cultures. Then we get our hero, Savage, starting a new rescue assignment. Then we get a flashback, which starts very well...
And ends with a moment so OTT it becomes splat-stick.
Back to the pr
Guido Henkel
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
What a missed opportunity. Morrell is probably one of the sloppiest bestselling writers around. While the story could have been cool, the book is bogged down by his repetitive writing style - what's up with those karate-callused hands in every second paragraph and Morrell's obsession with people tasting bile on a constant basis - to name only a few.

On top of that he forgets and drops an entire major plot line halfway through the novel and offers up a finale that makes neither sense nor does it o
Davio Smitti
Mar 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Savage and Akira, “protectors,” aka bodyguards, aka "The Fifth Profession," are severely injured at a meeting...but when they compare notes, each saw the other killed—in fact, beheaded, right after their client was killed. Problem: all are still alive. False memories via surg procedure. Sidebar of love story with Rachel. Just too many wild improbabilities for me, leaps of illogic...glad when I was done that it was over.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
... a fairly light read, but a page-turner. The first half is a somewhat conventional action thriller, with a touch of James Bond gadgetry and world-hopping. The second-half, however, the novel becomes more sinister, turning into a discussion on the nature of memory while also expanding the scope into some commentary on Japan-US relations.

The book is written in the late 80's, early 90's when America was captivated by the Japanese resurgence. This is around the same time as the original "Blade Ru
Tracy St Claire
Aug 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
This might be the worst book I have ever read. It does have some entertainment value in being the WORST book I have ever read, but not even enough to gain it a half star.

Morrell wrote this nearly 30 years ago, inventing computer and medical capabilities that do not exist now, yet alone then. Enter characters and an author obsessed with self disembowelment -- it is mentioned no fewer than seven times -- in the service of some billionaire. But that isn't even the stupid story.

It is a story of two
Matt English
Had to stop halfway...."corny" comes to mind.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning was really great til about halfway through. Then the premise got rather confusing. (that's an understatement) but on the whole I did enjoy the book.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japanese-aspect
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tyson Adams
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
How do you tell if a book has samurai in it? Don't worry, they'll put a katana on the cover. A book about ninjas is a little harder, since they are invisible to anyone that hasn't just been killed by a ninja. How do you tell if a book is a thriller? Don't worry, they'll put a gun on the cover.

Professional protectors - the fifth profession.... get it! - Savage and Akira are teamed up to protect a travelling businessman. Things go horribly wrong and Savage is beaten to a pulp after seeing the busi
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago (most likely more than once) and I really liked it, so when I saw it in my mom's bookshelf I borrowed it to re-read it.

Morrell's style of writing is quite straight-forward, so it's easy to read.

The story is interesting and thrilling, I like that we get to learn a bit more about Japanese culture and history and I find the idea of modern samurais kind of cool.

We get the story about two men who work as executive protectors, Savage who is American and Akira who is J
Frank Smith
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I REALLY tried to be patient with this author [David Morrell], I thought I could get past his endless attempts to try and show he had researched his books and CONSTANTLY seemed to delight in stuffing examples of this into his book by having one character explain yet another thing to another character, I thought I could get past the way his characters seemed to speak like they were in a really bad 70s movie, but I lost it when towards the end of this book, one of the main two characters is behead ...more
Jim C
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A novel about a man who is a protector is hired to rescue a woman from an abusive husband. As the mission progresses, he sees a person who is suppose to be dead which leads to many unanswered questions.
This book had plenty of action to keep the reader interested. I enjoyed the first half book much more than the second half. The second half had more to do with the conspiracy and to me, the conspiracy became too much. I did enjoy the aspects of Japanese life that was in this book. If you are goin
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: suspense
The first fiction book I've read in a long while. It started off like a standard, but competently executed thriller. Then, it took an unexpected and very intriguing twist. Then, it became one of the most cringe-inducing absurdities I've read in a long time. The constant assertiveness of Rachel's soft breasts. The clumsy exoticization of Japanese history and culture. The stupid characterization of Akira. "Call me Savage! Because that's how I feel!" (the dude had previously taken the pseudonym of ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this one in college some twenty years ago. I can't remember much, but it still resonates. A bodyguard rescues a movie star's sister from her abusive Greek husband's island fortress. There's also a modern day Japanese Samurai the bodyguard teams up with. There's also something about false memories not to mention the hit teams pursuing them. Give it a shot.

Reviewed by, David Feeney, author; Terror on the high seas
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: intrigue
It was a pretty decent book over all. It did an excellent job the reader in suspense until the end of the book. My major complaint with the book was that the author seemed very fond of particular descriptive phrases. These phrases appeared way too many times in my opinion. "Karate calloused hands", "Sad, melancholy eyes", "Jamais vu". It was so repetitive it became very annoying. You would think a professional writer could come up with different words for essentially describing similar situation ...more
Jun 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, the dialogue alone is similar to watching bad acting in a "B" movie. Having done some fairly heavy reading lately, I thought I'd try something light but this is a perfect example of why I generally (though not always) stay away from modern fiction. Side note: many uses of Jesus' name as a swear word and a couple scenes of smut, both of which I find very completely unnecessary and offensive. With all of these issues (and more), I'll not be picking up any more works by Mr. Morrell.
Gautam Surath
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I remember starting this book a while ago and then losing the copy somehow. Having finally completed it, I am not sure I read it. Cant remember which is reality and which is my imagination. And that's what this book is all about. The plot is very interesting and extremely well handled but the climax is a major let down and frankly am not sure Morrell could have done much more. Anyways, a good read and worth spending time on.
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book! David Morrell pens some great stories. They seem somewhat unique to me, not so much in plot or characters themselves, but how the story is crafted; how the plot develops and the action within the story. A lot of action, fast paced, moving quickly from chapter to chapter. I can't compare this writer to any other I've read so far. He definitely has a distinct style and one I am quite pleased with. I look forward to my next Morrell book.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
executive protectors are hired. they watch like body guards or help others out. the main character rescues a woman from her abusive husband and starts a ball rolling on who wants who killed. the main character and a ninja he meets has to find out why each other thought they saw the other die 6 months ago.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
A fast paced trip through, Japan, Europe and the U.S.A. with some good plot turns, interesting twists and lots of actions. The life of an “executive protector” is always interesting, but what do you do when everything you have known to be true turns out to be a lie. That’s the question facing Savage and Akira in novel.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
At one time, The Fifth Profession was the bestselling book of Morrell's career. While not my personal favorite of his, with The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fraternity of the Stone still my two favorite works of fiction ever written, The Fifth Profession is an exciting read that never lets up and takes the reader on a journey into a foreign world that many have never encountered.
Phil James
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really like the David Morrell books and have read quite a few over the years. This one is about two bodyguards who are connected by a previous job and each thought the other was dead coming together to ry and solve the mystery and put the pieces together. It was published in the early 90s so now seems a bot old fashioned but it is still a very decent read if you like espionage or thrillers.
Sean D
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book it was very original and interesting. It does make you pay attention otherwise you may get lost because it involves alot of plot turns in the beggining. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes action, mystery, and originality.
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David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.
More about David Morrell