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I Am Pilgrim (Pilgrim #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  19,408 ratings  ·  2,811 reviews
Can you commit the perfect crime?

Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.

But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detect
ebook, 624 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books (first published July 18th 2013)
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Dawn Try Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. The Charm School by Nelson DeMille (and oldie but goodie)
Austin Harley Right now maybe they are the only ones who can? It is a NOVEL, well written, well paced, up to date and VERY current. Sadly the real world doesn't end…moreRight now maybe they are the only ones who can? It is a NOVEL, well written, well paced, up to date and VERY current. Sadly the real world doesn't end as well as the book. Je suis Charlie.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
Anthony Dalton
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
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
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
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
Liz Wilkins
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
"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
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
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
S. J. Bolton
‘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
Manda Scott
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
Wow, wow, and wow again!!! 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 eas ...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.
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
Steve Yeoman
Dan Brown can take a holiday. Terry Hayes is an absolute master of the page turning, compelling plot-full-of-holes thriller, and by the first few pages I willingly suspended belief, took the phone off the hook and had more fun with a book than I can remember in years.

It's a big book, a great read, but make sure your affairs are in order for the next couple of days before you pick it up, and have a few meals prepared so that you don't have to put it down. I'm in two minds about the next one - wil
This is a massive book of over 700 pages and from the outside looks like a mighty tome what you get is a book that is an absolute pleasure to read. It is easy to stick all the clichés in this review; gripping, page turner, grabs you by the throat, a bestseller. It is all those things and more, easy to see why this should be the book for your summer holidays sitting on the lounger relaxing with a page turner.

Written by a British born Hollywood scriptwriter Terry Hayes, if has brought all those el
Whew! That was one of those books that sucks you right into its world for a while, and when you're finished you're a little shell shocked and you need to take a few breaths.

I Am Pilgrim is kind of a story wrapped in a story wrapped in a story. Despite being a "spy thriller", the beginning - an ingeniously covered up murder in a seedy hotel - was right up my alley (spies are not my speciality but murder mysteries certainly are!) From there the story veered out of my comfort zone, but it ended up
Rebecca Hazelton
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
Peter Gasston
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
Charlene Intriago
An absolute "WOW" of a book! It is a hard book book to put down and a hard book to hold at 700 pages! My book was from the UK and the "jacket" was such a tease. You think you are starting off with a murder mystery, but each page pulls you further and further into the deep abyss that is the world of espionage. Two cultures, two great minds pitted against each other, how much of what happens to us as children shapes who we are as adults, scary in parts, truly thought provoking, and a thrilling wil ...more
Larry Hoffer
Holy crap. This was an intense, terrific read that still has my heart pounding.

There's a man whose real name is known by very few people. Call him Pilgrim. At one point he was the head of a secret intelligence force within the U.S. government, but after retiring from that job, he is forbidden to speak about what he did, where he was, or for whom he worked. He wrote a book about some of the most notorious cases he dealt with, some of the most ingenious criminal minds he encountered, but he had to
J.F. Penn
Seriously good book. Incredible character development for both Pilgrim & the Saracen who is a multi faceted, nuanced bad guy we can sympathize with even as he plots oblivion for the West. Told in a strange way with almost flashbacks as the plot moves forward in first person. Very clever, awesome book.
Really well done and interesting thriller about a former high ranking operative from a disbanded clandestine U.S. intelligence agency who gets drawn back into his former life in a race-against-the-clock effort to prevent a horrific attack against the United States. I am not a big fan of the spy/espionage thriller genre, but this is good stuff. The subject matter is very timely, considering what is going on in the world right now with terrorism and ISIS.

I especially liked the first half of the b
Probably top thriller for summer 2014. A poor Arab boy, born in Saudi Arabia, becomes a terrorist when the Saudi's execute his professorial father for some mild criticism of the royal family. After shooting down Hind gunships in Afghanistan, he trains to become a doctor, synthetically creates a smallpox virus, and then makes it vaccine proof. Assuming the identity of the Saracen, he is virtually impossible to find since he is operating alone. Meanwhile, we are introduced to a loner in American i ...more
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
this review will go live on the blog 05/27

I Am Pilgrim is a sweeping 700-page behemoth of a novel that spans multiple decades and continents and I could have easily read another 700 pages. I'm typically hesitant to give in to hype, I've been burned in the past, but with this novel, the hype is not only deserved, but actually doesn't do the book justice. I Am Pilgrim is greater than the hype. It's the kind of book that rocked me to my core and left me breathless. It took me over a month to final
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
A first class read!

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 four children. This is his first novel.

My View:
Terry Hayes has redefined and claime
Screenwriter Terry Hayes debut thriller is 700 pages of Jeffrey Archer-like storytelling expertise that grabbed me by the throat and glued me to the chair. It's on the shelf with those big thrillers I've read like Stephen King's "The Stand" or Steig Larson's "Millennium Trilogy". Books that occasionally come back to haunt me with their brilliance and depth. Hayes has raised the bar for spy thriller/crime fiction with the creation of the unforgettable character of code name Pilgrim and redefined ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who enjoyed Ludlum and/or a great thriller
Recommended to Mark by: The Ian Fleming fancrowd.
Shelves: 2014, thriller, spies
I have finished this 700 page book and feel LUDLUMED. This is the kind of book I had in my backpack when I traveled Europe and enjoyed its beaches and terraces. While you were traveling you always met other travellers and you tended to swap finished books which saved on carrying an accumolating amount of books with you. The most popular book were by King & Ludlum, having one of those made you always more popular when it came to trading.

This book has a similar feel to it when Ludlum still liv
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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.” 44 likes
“If you want to be free, all you have to do is let go.” 34 likes
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