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Vicious Circle

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  259 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
An Israeli government minister is assassinated in the home of his mistress. Days later, Elihu, an aging and decorated Mossad officer, leads his final raid, killing a Hamas leader in his bed and barely escaping with his life.

Out of this familiarly cyclical scenario emerges what is perhaps Robert Littell s most heartfelt and suspenseful novel. The action moves forward into t

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 19th 2006 by The Overlook Press
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Dariusz Płochocki
Dzieło ma dobry wydźwięk, iż oba fundamentalizmy zarówno judaistyczny, jak islamski są równie niebezpieczne, a nie same państwa czy religie. Autor nie ucieka od krytyki Izraela co się chwali. Czy przeniesienie akcji w czasie do nieodległej przyszłości (mhm? tak serio poza faktem, że prezydentem USA jest kobieta raczej tego nie dostrzeżemy) pomogło w czymkolwiek? Dziennik profesora i jego wizyta na Harwardzkim Kółku Obiadowym Żydowskich Pedagogów chyba zdecydowanie jest jej najjaśniejszym momente ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
This is an action genre book taking place in Israel. The author attempts to tackle the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Although he does reference some interesting historical points that a newcomer to this subject may find interesting, I found his protagonists not very believable. I didn't find the pious figures to be portrayed accurately. His plot twists are predictable. This book is readable and accessible but does not live up to the author's reputation.
Keith Nixon
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Like your thrillers full of political Middle East theory and chat? If so this is the book for you. If you prefer a fast pace and action then it's unfortunately not.

A rather disappointing affair with long segments political segments and exposition - rather than moving the story in it mires it in prevarication. Well written but disappointing.
Jon Koebrick
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been working my way through Robert Littell's books since I read his great book, The Company. Vicious Circle is the second best of his books I have read thus far. Littell masterfully educates on the Palestinian/Israeli positions in this intense thriller. There are a fair number of characters and organizations to keep straight but the dialogue between hostage and kidnapper is excellent. This is a fairly quick read that builds to an interesting crescendo. Recommended reading for people who l ...more
Kevin Coombs
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Here is a remarkable book about the struggle for land and vindication in the disputed Holy Land. The Israelis and Palestinians are both presented extremely fairly, and with no writer's slant in either direction. While slightly dated (the fictional President of the US is a woman, unnamed but having followed GW Bush - a clear characterization of Hilary Clinton; the description of Arafat's death is different than what actually happened after the book was written; Hamas is not portrayed, and the PLO ...more
Sep 07, 2007 marked it as to-read
Just bought from 9/7/07

Narrator: Scott Brick
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, 2006
Length: 12 hours and 13 min.

What the Critics Say
"Littell's is one of the most talented, most original voices in American fiction today, period." (The Washington Post)
"Littell's latest brainy thriller probes very near the heart of the time-worn conflict over a land made and kept holy through regular libations of martyrs' blood....Must reading for fans of high-end t
Dan Downing
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
As I remember it, it was G.K. Chesterton who wrote a short story about a priest and an atheist thrown together in a compartment during a long train ride, They talked, each exposing his own position, although Chesterton does not present their arguments.

Littell's espionage story could have been condensed into a short story if he left out the parts where a Jewish and an Islamic fundamentalist argue, caught up together in a small room. Littell also gives us, by a neat device, an exposition of the Eu
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policier
Qui est Isaac Apfulbaum, et pourquoi a-t-on voulu l'enlever ?

Serait-ce le cerveau d'un groupe de terroristes israéliens responsables d'agressions contre les Palestiniens et farouchement opposé au processus de paix ?

C'est ce que veut savoir son ravisseur, Abu Bakr, lui-même une figure énigmatique, soupçonné d'être le mystérieux mujaddid, ou Rénovateur, attendu depuis longtemps par les musulmans.

Au cours de longues journées de captivité, d'interrogatoires pointus et de discussions fiévreuses, un
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I found the premise handled ham-handedly: the idea that two extremists are far more alike than different is a cliche, not least because of its frequent accuracy. Add in their common semitic origins, the coincidence of both being near-sighted to the point of blindness (!), leaders of militant assassins. Good writing, no surprises. Nearly put the book down.
Aug 30, 2013 added it
It's about Palestinian/Israeli relations - which I'm, sadly, not very knowledgable in other than top-line need-to-know - so it was a bit hard for me to follow at times. Not a huge fan of his style. He's reviewed at 'an American Le Carre'...I don't like him either. Although I do now want to read The Amateur, which gets great reviews. I'll get to it.
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book -- it illuminates the mid-east conflict by personifying it in two of the main characters. The cat-and-mouse portion was vintange Littell (which made it enjoyable), but was a very distant 2nd to what made this story special. (I did hope for a more emotionally satisfying resolution, but it was a minor let-down).
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Interesting way to reveal how similar the beliefs of the Rabbi and the Palestinian are as they spend time together as kipnapped and kidnapper. They are both trying to stop the peace process for different reasons, and it seems that their is no answer to the conflict in the Middle East over Israel and Palestine...
Liquid Frost
Aug 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'm nearly done reading the book. It is a task not an enjoyed experience. I typically love this genre, but this story falls flat. I skim areas because there is absolutely no interest for me. I feel like I'm on a race to the finish line, just so I can see if the book ends as predictable as I believe - and to wrap it up and move to something else.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This was the first book by Littell I have read and it was pretty good. Not quite as "thrilling" as I had hoped but still a good tale. I also learned a few things about both Islam and Judaism that I hadn't been aware of and I learned a bit more about the violent history in the region.

Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
A hard-eyed look at the Israel-Palestine issue, with a surprising turn. Littell draws you into the drama, and the scenes are so vivid and intimate that you feel as if you are right in the middle of everything.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I bought this on Kindle. At the end of the novel there is an afterword where the author explains that the book is our of print because of the UK's ridiculous libel laws which are hideously weighted in favour of the claimant.
Great book too!!
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Audiobook (MP3 download)

At best, a political science effort masquerading as a thriller. An examination of Mid-Eastern politics presenting a look at both sides of the issue but lacking the suspense, etc., that is usually expecter from a "thriller."
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Very fast moving. Helps give some insight to the Israeli/Palestine conflict through the dialog between hostage and hostage taker.
Carey Combe
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Love reading about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict and this was an interesting take on it. Fairly believable characters, great plot..
Deb Ramage
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Joe Newell
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
The general premise of the book was ok, but I listened to this as an audio book, and the voice talent has a lot to do with the experience. That said, not too engrossing.
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
A fast-paced and good plot read set within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Staff Favorites
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Decorated Mossad officer Elihu works to hunt down a legendary terrorist who has taken a high-profilefundamentalist rabbi hostage.
rated it it was ok
Dec 19, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2016
Jerome Winston Powell
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Mar 06, 2013
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Feb 05, 2010
Dave Mercel
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Mar 19, 2014
Brian Rashap
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Aug 06, 2010
Irfan Ali
rated it it was ok
May 20, 2009
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An American author residing in France. He specializes in spy novels that often concern the CIA and the Soviet Union. He became a journalist and worked many years for Newsweek during the Cold War. He's also an amateur mountain climber and is the father of award-winning novelist Jonathan Littell.
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