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The Destroyers

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  133 reviews
Arriving on the Greek island of Patmos broke and humiliated, Ian Bledsoe is fleeing the emotional and financial fallout from his father’s death. His childhood friend Charlie—rich, exuberant, and basking in the success of his new venture on the island—could be his last hope.

At first Patmos appears to be a dream—long sun-soaked days on Charlie’s yacht and the reappearance of
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by Harper
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in an exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own:).

Beginning: very good
4 stars

Middle: still good but goes between slow and steady paced... stuf does happen but takes the time getting there (not all of that a bad thing)
3.5- 4 stars at times

Ending: Lead up to it good, the ending itself written well but a bit abrupt.
3 stars

Twists and Turns: very well done, didn't anticipate most of them and one I thought I knew was turned on its head. 4.5
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author appears to be infatuated by his own prose as this book was far too long. The resolution of the story came out of nowhere. Given the book's length, the author should have had plenty of opportunity to lead you to it. It was deeply frustrating to read nearly 500 pages without a satisfying ending.
switterbug (Betsey)
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was a big fan of Bollen’s LIGHTNING PEOPLE, a literary thriller-ish novel that touched on themes of identity, existential angst, friendship, love, class, and living on the edge, set in Manhattan. This time, Bollen changes the setting, but many of the themes reappear. THE DESTROYERS takes place on the Greek island of Patmos, an ancient Christian pilgrimage site where the Book of Revelations was supposedly written in the Cave of the Apocalypse. Interestingly, religion in this novel is more of a ...more

Christopher Bollen is a proof of reincarnation for me.
Long live F. Scott Fitzgerald!

What an EXTREMELY talented author! What a luck to come across his books! What a pleasure to devour his exceptional prose!

Orient, his second book, blew me away.
His third book The Destroyers put his name on the VERY TOP of my AUTO-BUY-AUTHORS. This author is a REASON why I love reading so much.

Steve Tripp
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
I'm afraid I can't support the rave reviews this book got over the summer... which is why I read it. The plot is generally interesting and well constructed though the end is rather bizarre and abrupt .. what puts a nail in the my "reader coffin" is the utterly bloated descriptive prose that the author used frequently without purpose. There were times when I would rather stick pins in my eyes than keep reading. Most of the descriptive passages did nothing to move the story along or bring colour ...more
Gila Gila
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A relatively lightweight thriller for such a hefty novel – 485 pages. I went on through to the end but skim-read so many paragraphs that I probably cut the book down a hundred pages or so, which really should have been somebody else’s job. I didn’t dislike The Destroyers, but I couldn’t bring myself to care about it. After a clever, too brief set-up, we move on to familiarity: the reliable plot-bait of a Desperately Poor Friend landing in the Wealthy Criminal Family’s lair, vivid couch travel ...more
Elizabeth  Daniel
Aug 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is described as literary fiction and a thriller. It's got an interesting plot and the beginning draws you in but then the story gets tedious and stale. I did not enjoy this book and it seemed like it would take FOREVER to get anywhere with the plot. I wanted to learn so many details about the characters, details that would make me like them and invest in their stories but no, never happened. What surprises me the most is that this particular novel is one of the best reviewed summer ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Two school friends meet again many years on the island of Patmos, Greece. One is from a wealthy Cypriot family, the other has been disinherited by his rich father at home in England. One helps the other, but which one helps who? A thriller with twists and turns in the plot, while the novel shows life on the islands for tourists and residents alike.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a real roller coaster ride. The setting, characters and plot were all exceptionally executed and although it was a lengthy book I did not get bored with the descriptions or detail. There were so many questions posed about the opportunities life presents and the choices we make - all influenced by money and love/loyalty.
I was only going to give this 2 stars because while I was actually reading this book, I found it ok but nothing stunning. I didn't really like any of the characters and it places I almost gave up. But after I finished reading and started thinking about the way the book was written and how some of the imagery worked, I decided I liked it better because it was clever. There were places where the plot hummed along and by the end I did like the main character (Ian) a bit more.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is waaaaaayyyy too long. Strong start leads to tedious middle section. Wanted to give up many times. Unlikeable characters.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
quite disappointing standard "power, rich people doing bad stuff" novel - had higher hopes after some interesting reviews and it starts quite interesting, but it quickly peters out and I flipped through the pages more from a sense of "let it be over" than anything else
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has an amazing beginning with writing and action that breathlessly pull in the reader. Unfortunately, the vast middle of the book cannot hold up that level of excellence and the narrative changes. The book becomes far less engaging and far more work. The ending is good and almost makes up for the rough middle section. If the beginning hadn't been so good, this book would just be average. If the middle were removed, this would be close to an excellent book. I know that's strange to say. ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
The blurb states 'Charlie suddenly disappears'. 'Suddenly' means after 200 simile-filled pages, and bon mots such as 'she took a bite of champagne'. Don't.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
One of those books where every character is somewhat despicable, but not enough to be truly interesting.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book had a few things going against it.

First, it was incredibly boring. Spoiler alert: nothing happens. Well, virtually nothing. By the time anything happened, I was too bored to care.

Second, I loathed every, single character. Sometimes, despicable characters make for entertaining reading, even if ALL of the characters are awful, but these characters weren't terrible enough to be interesting--just horrible people in a fairly dull way. I am not sure which character I hated the most, but
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychological
Here's the thing: I didn't not like this book.

In fact, I was definitely hooked at the beginning. A man at the end of his rope, Ian Bledsoe, ends up on a Greek island to reunite with his childhood best friend, Charlie. But as more and more events transpire, Ian thinks Charlie may have invited him there to play their childhood game, Destroyers--only this time, it's not pretend.

It's a fascinating premise. But my problem was how long it took to play out. Bollen has a wonderful writing style, but I
Russ Trautwig
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great read by Bollen. I enjoyed this even more than Orient. A much better exploration of his antagonist and the hero, perhaps a bit too lucky with some of his discoveries, was a great character. The strongest part of the story for me, similar to Orient, was his cast of secondary characters, many of whom I enjoyed more than the stars of the book. This would make a great movie as well because in addition to a compelling story line, the setting is magnificent. Another recommendation.
Kim Thomas
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Occasionally a little hard to get a handle on, but it came together in the end. A recommendation from the NYT book review, I felt maybe it wasn't quite that brilliant.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved loved . The writing style was exquisite, I am so looking forward to other books by this author

It certainly makes you realize nothing is never what it seems. I highly recommend this book, it kept me entertained.
Heard Bollen on The Lit Up Show, and I was like YES! Can't wait to dive into this summer read, has all the ingredients I love--beautiful locale (Greek Island) + wealthy people behaving badly + murder/some kind of talented Mr. Ripley shananigans
Jeff Swystun
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This book hit a few of the 'must-read books of the summer' lists. Its description intrigued so I gave it a go. It is a fairly long read for fiction so it took me three weeks to finish. For the first third of the book I was telling everyone and anyone to pick it up. I was extremely entertained by the writing (the entire Prologue is stunning) and blown away by one event in the plot that takes place early on. I read it in the Kindle app on my iPad and soon found myself highlighting tons of lines ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
“The Destroyers” of the title is a reference to the childhood game played by narrator Ian and his friend Charlie, in which they vied for ever more ingenious way of extricating themselves from violent attacks by assassins in black balaclavas. Charlie seems to have carried this lust for risk combined with a sense of immunity into adult life, an ominous recipe for disaster as he tries to establish a business of his own, separate from the construction empire of his ruthless Greek-Cypriot father.

May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What a brilliant start to a story! The odd thing was that the beginning felt like a different style completely from the rest of the book, the beginning feels like an action thriller, the rest of the book is far more thoughtful and slow moving up until the end, which again moves briskly and concisely to a rattlingly good conclusion.

Ian is down on his luck. He has been involved in an episode in his previous employment where his good intentions ended up getting him into all kinds of trouble in the
Sarah Beth
I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins.

After his father's death leaves him destitute, Ian Bledsoe calls upon his wealthy childhood friend Charlie to bail him out of his financial straits. Charlie invites Ian to the Greek island of Patmos to assist him with his business. At first, the island escape seems like the perfect solution to his problems: a beautiful setting, the unexpected appearance of a girlfriend from his past, and the offer of a job from Charlie to
Charlie Smith
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked this up because Garth Greenwell who wrote one of my favorite books ever, What Belongs to You, blurbed it. Too, I had read the author's earlier novel, Orient, and found it to be more good than bad, and the kind of book about which I found myself saying, "I can't wait until this writer's second or third book." The Destroyers was also more good than bad, but the things that bothered me about Orient, also bothered me about this. I appreciated that the trendy word "thrum" which seems to be ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves literary thrillers
Ian Bledsoe, red-haired and ‘a professional big heart’, has been discredited and disinherited, so leaves the U S to make a last ditch attempt at starting over on the holiday island of Patmos. Charlie, his childhood friend, runs a business letting out luxury yachts and, very soon takes Ian on as his ‘Number 2’. Ian thinks his luck has turned: he’s got a job on an idyllic Greek island, he’s mixing with the rich and beautiful and he meets an old girlfriend. But no one is quite as care-free or ...more
Carolynn Jaye
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of intrigue. I started reading it, getting drawn in by Mr. Bollen's writing style. His descriptive passages, and vocabulary was eloquently delightful. So much of this book was poetry in prose. Then you pile on layers of character development. Then you add a dash of mystery, and all of the resolution of a brilliant whodunit novel and you are left in a satisfied state of bliss. This is the first book I've read that I actually passed on as a recommendation to a book club. This book ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up as a recommended "beach read." Rarely made it to the beach due to an injury; however, did spend an enjoyable time reading this book. In the vein of Hitchcock and Highsmith, keeps the suspense up until the end. High rating for this one.
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
There was a lot going on this book, and at times it was fairly disjointed. The ending definitely saved it, but it took so long to get there, that even with great ending you're wondering why you're still reading it.
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Christopher Bollen is a writer who lives in New York City. He regularly writes about art, literature, and culture. His first novel, Lightning People, was published in 2011. His second novel, Orient, was published by Harper in May 2015. He is currently the Editor at Large at Interview Magazine.
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“And the fear is not to discover one day that the world has no meaning, but that, in fact, it does. Every decision counted. Against your better judgment, all of it mattered, the steps and choices, the pauses and delays. That’s the real fear: the answerable life.” 0 likes
“Charlie was still at the age where cheating seemed more an emblem of a dazzling personal life rather than a moral failing. He gave, as he always did, the conflicting impression of maturity and irresponsibility beneath an out-of-season tan.” 0 likes
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