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The Parsifal Mosaic

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  6,885 Ratings  ·  157 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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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 a
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.
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
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
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
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.
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!
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.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, mystery-suspense
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.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, 2018
An excitingly entertaining read.
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.
CFc Nafees
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 build-up 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. I l ...more
Christian, Kelanth, Scala
Il mosaico di Parsifal, in originale "The Parsifal Mosaic", è un romanzo di spionaggio scritto nel 1982 da Robert Ludlum. Sembra che Ron Howard è stato contattato dalla Universal per dirigere l'adattamento cinematografico di questo libro. Il mosaico di Parsifal è il romanzo di Ludlum che si concentrata interamente sulla guerra fredda , e sulla possibilità di una guerra nucleare . Altri romanzi come "Il circolo Matarese" e "Aquitania" usano la guerra fredda come sfondo, ma non si basano su di ess ...more
Stuart Dequincy
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't have time to write a full review and do this fine novel justice. I intend to return to this review and write one worthy of this brilliantly complex spy thriller which I believe qualifies as some of the authors finest work. That's right I said finest and this definitely qualifies for top three status amongst the authors impressive body of work. I first this in jail in 1992, I proceeded to read most of the authors back catologue and although they were all very good this, the Holcroft Coven ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Parsifal Mosaic followed the Bourne Identity and is one of his greatest works! Parsifal was originally an Opera by Wagner, Parsifal being a wandering youth in Spain who safeguarded the spear that pierced the side of Christ. It certainly took Robert Ludlum time to develop his craft. His earlier works were absurd, illogical, and disjointed. The Parsifal Mosaic was an international thriller. In both the Parsifal Mosaic and the Bourne Identity Ludlum has developed character depth and logical flo ...more
Tim Healy
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this first when I was in High School...maybe 16 years old. I read almost all of Ludlum's library while I was in High School. My mother liked them, so they were always around. This was one that made a strong impression on me at the time.

Some of Ludlum's work has not held up terribly well. It is too deeply rooted in a geopolitical climate that no longer exists. I put The Bourne Identity in that column. This one holds up better. While it does live in the Cold War era of Soviet-US-China relat
Josh McClellan
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a big time Ludlum fan, I walk into any Ludlum book with high expectations. I think this is a good book, but it was bit of a roller coaster for me in ways that other Ludlum novels weren't. At moments I was confused and a little frustrated, and at others I was captivated. By the end, overall, I was impressed with the scope and the detail of the story.

The story is layered and complex, more so than any of his other stories I have read. It felt confusing and convoluted at times in the midst of it,
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Now, this was my first book of Ludlum that introduced to me all possible intricacies that can exist in the world of espionage.

The fact that Ludlum remained king of espionage thrillers was mainly due to the fact of tragic loving reminsces that the protogonist experiences. The emotional struggle of Havelock for the lost love takes second seat when he faces the dilemma – the living conundrum of his mentor Anton Matthias' mental state.

International dealings, God knows whether they happen the way L
Nov 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, intrigue
Good book. Really a 3.5 for me.
Lots of action with twisty-turny plot. I found it difficult to get into, but was into it by page 200 - yes, at 200 you're only just beginning and it continues to page 684, but was an enjoyable read and I found myself wondering what was happening when I wasn't reading it.

(For a summary of the book read the publisher's blurb.)

Enjoyed the characters, specially the bad guy Arthur Pierce. The whole scenario of Russian agents integrated into American society from birth
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I started with this when I was in high school, as a sophomore I think. It was very likely during the summer vacation, before I turned 13? The most memorable part that stuck was the arrival of the Apache. That's it. I didn't even understand the context of this story when I was reading it then. I wasn't that mature enough to completely know the why's of their actions and where the hell are they going to. I do remember though the romance part--that's one why I somehow understood, but more in a rati ...more
Julius Gewarges
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Havelock, a U.S. spy with a tortured past, finally finds some happiness with a fellow spy, Jenna Karas aka Jenna Karasova. Unfortunately, he discovers that Jenna is a double agent, and watches her die for her betrayal. Preparing to abandon his agent-life and retire to become a teacher, he catches a glimpse of Jenna, alive, at a chance meeting in Europe. The chase is on, as he tries to track down Jenna and figure out why she's alive, and who was deceiving who.
Loved the book a lot and enjo
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Great read, lots of excitement and suspense. Michael Havelock's world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava. He watched as his partner and lover, Jenna Karas, double agent, was efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There was nothing left for him but to quit the game, Get out. Until, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock saw his Jenna-alive. From then on, he was marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins, racing around the globe after his beauti ...more
Joel Margolese
Re-read this after about 25 years. Yikes! It's still a page turner, but I had forgotten how complicated it was. At one point, the characters spent 10 pages explaining the plot to themselves! And then they did it again. perhaps Ludlum felt that it got more complex then he had anticipated. It also took me a while to realize that the Secretary-of-State character with a God complex could perhaps be modeled after Henry Kissenger. At first I thought it was interesting, almost quaint to go back and see ...more
Jim Bowen
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Too long, more complicated than need be, too wordy, etc. etc. About 1/4 of the way into this story I found myself speed reading, and wishing that I could read faster. Of the 600 pages, at least 200 are not needed. I admit a like/hate relationship to Ludlum's novels, but this one was too drawn out. I'm giving it a three, but just barely.......I look at my books to read and see five more resting there, several thick one's to boot, and almost dread picking the next one up......maybe 6 months or so ...more
Ok This was the VERY FIRST Ludlum novel for me , followed closely by The Bourne Identity. These were given to me by my sister Helen who thought that my Lord of the Rings period was due for an ending and I need to expand out of Tolkien and novels like Watership Down.

Fantastic international intrigue with great characters and fast paced action.
I learned the flashlight on the end of a cord swing trick from this book to trick people to forested locations. Worked several times in my life. Woot.

This is
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Took me 3 attempts to finish this book. Have enjoyed q a few of Ludlum's books.
Found this one draggy. Have been told this is one of the great espionage books.
Perhaps, the concept of a Soviet in super deep cover, being raised as an American, living, studying and working in the USA was mind-boggling at the time this book was released.
Perhaps. Perhaps.
Found the pace too slow. Too wordy. Unnecessary details.
Found myself looking forward to the end. the book. I refused to quit.
I much prefer Fred
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my favorite Ludlum book (to date), probably because the love story made it very personal and less spy-detailed (sorry, folks if that's what you prefer). I do not seek out the "love-story" angle in my books, but I find that this often just adds a more emphatic note for me to connect with the long as the author doesn't run it into the ground with sappy detail; just the human nature of relationships that are so very vital to keeping people like Ludlum's characters real and connect ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Unlike most other Robert Ludlum novels, this one is somewhat tedious!
Its about a Secretary of State is brought under tremendous mental pressure and his mind is cracked by Russians to make him sign treaties with Russia and China the disclosure of which could result in an all out nuclear war which could annihilate Earth!
The hero manages to find the original copy of the treaty eventually along with its authors. The pace of the novel is fast but tiresome to read.
I think Vince Flynn usually depicts t
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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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