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I Am Pilgrim (Pilgrim #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  69,410 Ratings  ·  7,023 Reviews
A breakneck race against time...and an implacable enemy. An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afg ...more
Hardcover, 612 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books (first published July 18th 2013)
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Lana Thrilling, smart and well written. For over a year, I have been trying to find a book that would keep my interest from the beginning till the last…moreThrilling, smart and well written. For over a year, I have been trying to find a book that would keep my interest from the beginning till the last page. I even read the acknowledgments. Have some poetic licenses been taken with reality? Sure, but so what? It's a spy novel afterall. I too am sick and tired of criticism of violent and inhumane terrorism being called "American propaganda". I remember living in New York on 9/11 and exactly where I was when the towers fell. Shame on the haters for downplaying the importance of that date in world history and the bravery of the heros in NYC on that day.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
May 15, 2016 Emily May rated it did not like it
Okay, I just can't do it. I cannot go any further.

I am giving up around the halfway point - which is arguably very generous for a 600-page book - because I'm just getting more and more irritated. I picked up I Am Pilgrim after seeing it on Goodreads' 16 Underrated Books That Deserve Your Attention post, and thinking that it was about time I found myself a fast-paced thriller.

And it starts fairly well, I'll give it that. The novel is broken up into "parts", each dealing with a different part of P
Oct 25, 2013 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
So you're the top agent in a US government spy agency, more secret than the most secret, secret agency that even The President has heard of. If he has. Which is unlikely, as if he had, he'd now be dead. Assassinated in a way that the people would never suspect. That's how good, and secret, you are. However, despite being the top agent, you decide to get out of the trade. You know you will be a marked man, and therefore you have to disappear. But, before you do, you decide to write a book about y ...more
Jun 14, 2014 Audrey rated it did not like it
I had to make myself wait several weeks after reading this to write a review so that I could sufficiently calm down. I could write numerous scathing pages filled with my favorite quotes but I'll try to keep this short and angry.

I was promised an awesome summer read. I didn't realize that "summer" has become a euphemism for "insulting to intelligence" and "poorly written trash." But, now I know. And don't tell me "well that's the thriller genre" because no, it's not. There are a ton of well writ
Anthony Dalton
Jul 31, 2013 Anthony Dalton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scanned-books
WOW!!! Sometimes one gets really lucky, you pick up a book and think it might be an OK read, then you complete 5 or 6 chapters and come to the realisation you've stumbled across one of the top five reads of your life.. Such is the case with 'I Am Pilgrim'. As far as spy thrillers go, this is hands down the best, relegates the likes of Clancy, Ludlum and LeCarre (as good as they are) into the also ran section. The style of writing is fantastic, the plot totally mesmerising and the character devel ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I finally finished this monster of a book! I normally read a book in a days time, but this one wouldn't allow that. I kept having to put the book down to look up stuff.
Palm Springs commercial photography
The author captured my attention so much that I wanted to see what the characters were seeing. I love when that happens. The only problem takes me forever to read the book.

There has been a murder in a run down hotel in New York. A woman has been soaked in a tub of acid and her teeth removed. The killer does not want this w
Jun 24, 2014 LeeAnne rated it did not like it
Everyone loves this book but me.

I am so shocked, confused and flabberghasted by all of the gushing, rave reviews of this book! (?)

I Am Pilgrim
A Jason Bourne-like super spy must stop a genius jihadist planning a pandemic by unleashing a potent strain of smallpox which will kill off most of the population in the United States.

My thoughts:
This book is a long-winded string of action spy movie cliches. It lacks momentum. There are many unbelievable coincidences and plot twists. There are e
Tony Mac
Jul 15, 2014 Tony Mac rated it did not like it
This long and often rambling thriller just left a bad taste in my mouth. There's no denying that the author has clearly done a lot of research and he has an economical way with words that allows his often fragmented narrative to remain essentially readable. But there is still a lack of realism, shoddy plotting and a nasty veneer of racism, xenophobia and right-wing triumphalism that is barely hidden throughout.

For all the intricate plotting the story too often depends on some pretty unbelievabl
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Superb. That was a six-star ride for me, sure enough. I like the way he took a philosophical turn at the end without getting too cheesy.

I am determined to write a review without spoilers, which means I can't tell you much about the plot. By the time I got around to reading the book, I'd forgotten why I requested it, and that turned out to be a very good thing. I prefer my surprises and plot twists to be unadulterated by book jacket blurbs and blabby reviewers.

Here's the all-you-need-to-know ver
Helen Stavraki
Feb 07, 2016 Helen Stavraki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Προσκυνάω μπροστά στον "Προσκυνητή" ο οποίος με πήρε με ταξίδεψε με αναστάτωσε με άγχωσε με συγκίνησε και μου προκάλεσε πληθώρα συναισθημάτων και σκέψεων κατα τη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσης.
Λίγο με αφορά το γεγονός πως η ιστορία καταγράφεται και υποστηρίζεται κυρίως από την πλευρά της Αμερικής
Αφού πραγματεύεται μια κατασκοπευτική (αντί) τρομοκρατική κατάσταση ανάμεσα σε Αμερική και Μέση Ανατολή. Τα συμπεράσματα για αυτή την κρυφή ιστορία χρόνων άπτονται στην κρίση του κάθε αναγνώστη που σίγουρα έχε
Jun 19, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: debut
"Who is this guy, Terry Hayes?", I asked myself when I was 200 pages in to the 600+ page I Am Pilgrim I was so hooked I had to read a bio of the author and you might want to also.

I Am Pilgrim is a big book, in more ways than one. It's 600+ pages requires a time commitment but reads quite quickly. I think publishers spoil us with the neat packaged books of 340 pages so when we get something longer, it scares us off. Don't let the length of this one bother you. I think this debut is going to be a
Sep 05, 2015 Frances rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
In a cheap hotel room, Scott Murdock, a forensic expert, searches for any clues or evidence from a particularly gruesome murder. As the story unfolds it becomes clear this is no ordinary crime thriller but much, much more. Murdock is a former member of a covert intelligence organization and top level government officials want him back. Scott has no option but to accept the assignment and try to survive a deadly secret known to only eleven people. Some scenes are quite brutal and disturbing but t ...more
Peter Gasston
May 19, 2014 Peter Gasston rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook
Having read so many good reviews of this, I was quite looking forward to reading it. About a fifth of the way in, I just wanted it to end. It is, at times, hilariously badly written. I started highlighting awful sentences until that became too time-consuming.

“a vicious wind howling out of the steppes, hot, carrying with it the smell of Asia and the stench of betrayal” - oh really, what does that smell like?

“I may not be on top of anyone’s list for male lead in Deep Throat II, but I didn’t have a
Jennifer Masterson
May 29, 2014 Jennifer Masterson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow! Terry Hayes is absolutely Brilliant! I loved this book so much I slowed down my reading because I didn't want it to end. The best book I have read in a long time. It is so much more than a thriller. This book takes place all over the world ( including Greenwich, CT, where the main character was brought up after his mother died ). It's not only a fantastic story but it has such wonderful character development. This is a MUST READ even if you don't read a lot. I cried in parts, that's how goo ...more
Liz Barnsley
Jun 22, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In some ways this may end up being a fairly simplistic review in comparison to others I have read about this wonderful novel. However for me, this book was very much about the journey I found within its pages – hooked from the very first paragraph I barely looked out on the world again until I was done. For me, as a book lover, blogger and a person who just wants to send your way the very best stories I find out there, this says more than any in depth critique of “I am Pilgrim” could achieve. I ...more
INTENSE & THRILLING. My heart is still palpitating. Hayes' first crime narrative takes us through a labyrinth of deception, espionage and bioterrorism through various countries, shocking cultures and disturbing deaths. Jack Pilgrim is not your average CIA. I Am Pilgrim is not your average crime novel. It had me teetering on the edge of my chair chewing my nails down to the cuticle. Amazing 5 ☆ must read.
Jun 20, 2015 Phrynne rated it it was amazing
This book is remarkable. The last section is so tense I am exhausted just from reading it! Who is Pilgrim? I have just read over 900 pages (in the paperback version) and I still do not really know. Nevertheless he is brilliant at what he does and he makes a fascinating and very appealing main character. The story is excellent, the pacing and the tension are brilliant and at no time does it ever seem like a long book! If you enjoy a good thriller then read this. It's not good, it is superb!
Feb 07, 2014 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow, wow, and wow! I had to wait a little while to write this review just to let the full force of it hit me. I honestly have not read a novel as well written and thrillingly addictive since Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Thrillers are a genre I've not had much success with... they tend to be too predicable and cliche'. This one, however, met and exceeded all of my expectations. I was kept, literally, 'sitting on the edge of my seat' the entire 700 pages. I would give this an easy 10 stars if I co ...more
Jo Woolfardis
I did not finish the story of, despite others raving about his rapping abilities secret agent prowess. There are several reasons, but the top reason being that he is an utter cunt.

His nicknames for women in "male" jobs are ridiculous; "Wunderbra" because any woman with big tits is obviously too stupid to have a good job and should, quote, come from Hooters. "Short Skirt" and "High Heels" are just passing women with nothing important to add at all, except to give him something to loo
Mar 28, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
If you enjoy a good mystery-spy novel with a super hero, you are in for a treat! The story begins with an unusually bizzare big deal, right? Wrong! The bizzare death of a young (acid soaked) woman leads you on a multi-layered thrilling ride following the activities of one of the world's most secret and intelligent agents.

While searching for a revengeful Palestinian terrorist who is planning a deadly crime against mankind, our Pilgrim will take you through a multitude of intense, he

Sharon Bolton
Sep 08, 2013 Sharon Bolton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The chemical flood hit his limbs – he realized with a wild rage that nothing could stop it now – and he saw his car keys fall from the jelly that used to be his hands.’

I looked forward to this book for months and finished it in about four days which, when you consider it is nearly 800 pages long, says something about its pace. At the end of all that, I’m really not sure how to begin to review it.

Given everything I’d been led to expect, this much-hyped book started, for me, rather surprisingly
Jun 01, 2013 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astonishing. 700 pages of brilliance. A spy thriller that is so much more than that. It takes us, the lead characters and the author on a series of journeys, populated by 'real' people, obsessed by their own lives, living their own experiences,influenced or merely observed by our leads. It's a twisty path, covering so many countries, sometimes leading to tears, admiration, horror or to tremendous shocks and revelations. So many stories in one. This is indeed a storytelling pilgrimage. Every page ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Brandon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc-reviews, 2014
Pilgrim is the code-name for one of the world’s foremost authorities in forensic investigation. Spending his entire career employed by a secret division of the US government, Pilgrim rode off into the sunset by putting a lifetime of knowledge into what would become the definitive text on forensic crime scene investigation. But what happens when someone uses Pilgrim’s book as a manual for committing the perfect crime?

I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest revie
Rebecca Hazelton
Jul 07, 2014 Rebecca Hazelton rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I'm surprised at all the positive reviews, but then, people read books for a lot of different reasons. If you just want something to turn your brain off, this book might work out for you. Certainly that's how I approached it. But despite my best efforts to treat it like junk food, I couldn't turn off my critical thinking. The book has real POV oddities -- sometimes we're in the main character's head, and sometimes we are in 3rd person omniscient. Further blurring that is Hayes' tendency to have ...more
Nandakishore Varma
I am abandoning this book at a 100 pages. It's just too boring and full of Islamophobia.

The first chapter is excellent - which is why I bought this book. Well, silly me, that's all I have to say.

The story starts with a horrific crime and an intriguing and mysterious detective - so I thought I had it made, leaned back in my chair, and prepared to enjoy myself. Well, the story fooled me by suddenly veering off into the history of the protagonist as a fearless operative of "The Division" - a part
Jun 09, 2014 Malia rated it really liked it
I AM PILGRIM is being touted as a stunning thriller in a class of its own, and so I admit I was sucked in. I am happy to say (after 700 pages?!?) that the book is, indeed, better than your run of the mill thriller both in terms of the plot itself as well as Hayes' writing style.
I won't go into the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the story really pulls you in very quickly. It is written in first person which I found really effective in making you connect to the protagonist a.k.a
Mar 13, 2015 Dem rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I passed in the book shop on numerous occasions without even picking up up because the cover didn't appeal to me and it just looked like way too many pages for my liking. Only on recommendations from two trustworthy friends did I eventually read this novel. Once again " never judge a book by its cover teaches me a valuable lesson. I really enjoyed this well crafted thriller. It's the sort of book you get into quite quickly and I loved the character development and ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Sharon rated it did not like it
This is possibly the most daft and implausible thriller that I have ever read. While I read it to get to the silliest of endings that I could have predicted many chapters ago the entire thing irritated me. The hero "Pilgrim" amongst many other names, is a teenagers conception of the ultimate man. Every woman he encounters is stunningly beautiful and every crime is solvable through the tinniest fragment of evidence. But he has no character at all. He is an everyman, he-man, that can kill with his ...more
Manda Scott
Jul 27, 2013 Manda Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you spend enough time at literary festivals, you come to fear and loathe the 'goody bag' - a delightfully marketed sling-bag full of books you never want to read and don't quite know what to do with.

Until it isn't that: the goody bag at Harrogate last weekend contained a small 'taster' booklet that offered the first chapter of I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I read it late on Saturday night, bought the book on Sunday and started reading it on Monday. I finished it late last night and it's been a
Jul 05, 2013 Raven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I Am Pilgrim is without a doubt an extraordinary take on the contemporary thriller and running to 700 pages a remarkable interweaving of the lives of two men defined by the experiences of their formative years drawing them into a headlong collision in the defence of their personal affiliations. Opening with a baffling crime scene in New York, the plot expands into a race against time to thwart a devastating terrorist plot by a man known as Saracen, scarred as a boy by the execution of his father ...more
September Withers
It's been almost a week since I finished this book and I still can't find the words to describe it. It's INSANELY good. Ridiculously clever and well thought out - the kind of book that begs the question HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE WAS ABLE TO THINK OF THIS, WRITE IT DOWN AND PULL IT OFF. Excuse the capitals, but I can't rave about this title enough. Think 24 meets Bond meets Bourne Ultimatum. It'll blow your mind.
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Terry Hayes began his career as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, when as foreign correspondent in the US he covered Watergate and President Nixon's resignation, among many major international stories. He then went on to become a successful screenwriter, having written the screenplays for Mad Max 2, Dead Calm, Bangkok Hilton, Payback and From Hell. He lives in Sydney with his wife and fo ...more
More about Terry Hayes...

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“nobody’s ever been arrested for a murder; they have only ever been arrested for not planning it properly.” 91 likes
“If you want to be free, all you have to do is let go.” 68 likes
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