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The Parsifal Mosaic

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  7,712 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Michael Havelock's world ended on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava. He stood by and watched as his partner and lover, Jenna Karas, double agent, was coldly and efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There's nothing left for Havelock but to get out, quit the game. Until, in one frantic moment on a crowded railway platform in Rome, Havelock sees Jenna. She's alive - an ...more
Paperback, 760 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Orion (first published February 12th 1982)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  7,712 ratings  ·  183 reviews

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Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dec 2014 Reread.
STill love this a million times over. Admittedly there are things I skim when I'm reading something for the 20th (or more) time. But I love these characters, I love the clever espionage, and the mystery here is completely unique.

OLD: 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.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: espionauge
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
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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 and t
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
Charlie  Ravioli
A very tangled story about moles, double agents, Russians and the CIA. Typical Ludlum in other words. The action was sprinkled throughout but maybe not enough. Maybe I've become a more mature reader (aka I'm getting old) or maybe this is just not one of Ludlum's better ones, but whatever the reason, I'm only giving it 3 stars. I think it was about 100-150 pages too long and it was just a little too cute in the end for my liking. The action was good but the espionage felt overdone. It's been a wh ...more
Trevor Denning
Third time was the charm for plodding through this conspiracy thriller. Cold War spy Michael Havelock wants out after killing his KGB double agent girlfriend Jenna. After a few weeks' retirement, where he is approached by spooks on both sides (making me wonder how great of a spy he could have been, if everyone knew him by sight), he catches a glimpse of Jenna in a train station. What follows is a chase from Europe to the US to find his true love.

The questions begin to stack up: Who wanted Micha
Rohan Sarkar
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it

The second Ludlum book I read. After consulting several top 10 ludlum lists, this book figured in the top 5 in all of them. My main gripe with this book is that it is too similar to the Janus Directive, the previous Ludlum book I read. Though it easily trumps the Cry of the Halidon, the next book I am reading. As a thriller, it does not disappoint. Twists and turns abound. The central conflict of the book, of a hero who is led to believe his love has betrayed him and his country, is interesting
Nafees Omar
Phew... So it took me almost 11 days to finish this book not because I'm a slow reader but but ... there are a lot of buts. Mr. Ludlum fed me too many characters and led me to too many events before the buildup to his plot, most of which caused me to put the book down on several occasions. I don't know about others, but it seemed to me that he unnecessarily lengthened the buildup. I won't say the story was bad, but why feeding readers too many unnecessary pages, why making things so convoluted. ...more
Kym Hamer
I loved this when I was a teenager and I still do. Ludlum's plot questions the power behind those in power and he creates a cast of characters that weave about so much it left me wondering who would end up being the good or the bad guys. It's an intense read - so if you like fast-paced and fabulous, I'd highly recommend this. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Double agent and partner Jenna Karas is gunned down by by Michael Havelock's agency. After spying her on a train platform and being hunted by both the United States and Russia, Michael sets out to find the truth
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Kelly Sedinger
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a re-read for me, but it's been decades since I read it the first time. When I was a teenager I went on a BIG spy novel kick, and when I looked through Ludlum's list of titles the other day I was surprised to note how many of his books I actually read back in the day. I always liked his convoluted plots that at times barely seemed to make sense as his heroes and heroines descended into minutia, but there was always a big and cool concept there to tie it all together, and he always handl ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book, but probably a little too complicated for me.
Although I was interested in the book, I was not eager to drop other things just to read it like usual.
Actually, it took me so long to read it because... it took too much mental energy to process what I was reading and understand everything that is going on??? Honestly, I don't know. That's probably it.
I didn't have a problem with the writing style or anything like that. I think it was just the content. I'm not very go
Malachi Antal
the Czech bunny, Jenna, is a rather underrated anti-heroine in page-turner tome.

the backdrop tale for the protagonist right around p. 100 is excellent.

the Apache aka the gunslinger is a good foil to someone mightn't've placed 'beyond salvage' in the writer's vernacular.

the Bourne Identity is favourite Ludlum book so far, the Matarese Circle also good with familiar plotline of agent being placed 'beyond salvage' by federal government he works under.

utilization of the fictive Soviet gun a Gra
Cailyn Lloyd
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a reread of a favorite book, partly to see how well it held up over the years, and it was only okay. Ludlum is a masterful writer, and at times, this is a real page turner. But he is also wordy and his tone sounds dated. The Cold War trope is no longer interesting and many of the plot concepts just don't hold up. That one man, the Secretary of State, could be so revered, so powerful, sounds implausible, even for the era. I read them all at one time but I doubt I'll be revisiting these b ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: espionage
As I have come to expect, Ludlum's storytelling is magnificent; which why I chose "Great" to describe the "author's writing". However, I would rate the book overall as "Extremely Disappointing" based on the saturation of typographical errors throughout. They were everywhere. Who ever is responsible for proofreading the text in the Kindle Edition needs a lot of additional training or simply let go and get a competent proofreader even if you are now using automation, consider another method. ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
So this book took me a long time to finish, and I feel that I now fully understand the meaning of the word 'labyrinthine'! The first sections introduced large numbers of characters and forced me to create a cheat sheet just to keep up. The story was really long in the telling, and extraordinarily complicated and convoluted.
Overall disappointing, and certainly not one of Ludlum's better books...
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best of the early Ludlum works (I don't include the syndicated, multi-author, post-mortem marketing who-hah books). Even though Ludlum's male protagonists are all vaguely similar -Bourne, Havelock, etc. - Ludlum never fails to make them complex and flawed. Parsifal is crisply written and arguably the most dense of stories, keeping the reader guessing throughout. ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished listening to this after putting it down for months. Nothing unexpected, just the good old typical Ludlum book. Spies, secrets, espionage, betrayals, conspiracies etc. Just what I expected. However, I would have liked a more spectacular end to the whole conspiracy, I would have liked Parsifal to go down with a bang after all the twists and turns.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started slow for me, but the intrigue keeps you guessing until the final chapter. Cross and double cross, moles and enemies and friends are all called into question. A good cold war story. I just wish Ludlum didn't use so much description at times, as it holds up the story. ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
just ok for me. love his writing style, and characters were definitely well developed. down side: book was waaaaaay too long (700 pgs , could easily have been 350-400), and after all the buildup I found the conclusion anti-climactic.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first time reading Ludlum. It takes 2 weeks but I think it's worth. I'm not really know about spies world but I kind of like it. But I just really don't get why they pick Michael and Jenna. But Michael do a good job indeed ...more
Anthony Scott
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best book I've read... I loved it! The action was original & exceeding through the thickening plot. Real Espionage at its finest, an international spycraft novel from the point of chow from an experienced operator with one off the Realest drives I've seen in a character... ...more
Christina Knox
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
The story was interesting but there were so many unnecessary details that the book seemed to drag on too long.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, 2018
An excitingly entertaining read.
Jana Smalley
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as great as his other books-- but OK
Robert McDonald
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best that I have read so far. Lots of twists, kept me engaged the whole book.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an engaging storyline but unsatisfying conclusion.
samitha m
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found this book too long and convoluted
Mr Roy Davidson
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
637 pages
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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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