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The Matarese Circle

(Matarese Dynasty #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  40,246 ratings  ·  376 reviews
The Matarese killers will take over the world within two years... The No.1 bestseller from 'the world's most read writer' [GQ]
Hardcover, 601 pages
Published March 14th 1979 by Penguin Adult Hc/Tr
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Bobby Underwood
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some spy novels get better and more relevant with age, and Robert Ludlum's fabulous The Matarese Circle falls into that category. What it lacks in literary aspirations it more than makes up for in sheer excitement and fun.

Written decades ago, the story-line of Matarese Circle seems almost prophetic despite it being dated, the world finally catching up to the plot. A spy thriller this wildly entertaining isn't supposed to give you such pause afterward, as you look around the globe, yet it does. R
Jan 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It turns out that the band of murderous criminals running the US isn't the Republican Party after all, but a different band of murderous criminals. I think a hot woman takes her clothes off at some point.

Sorry. I know I shouldn't drop all these spoilers, but sometimes I can't help myself.
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read for me. I read this book when I was in high school when it was a new, current best seller. It's the book that made me a Ludlum fan. It's like an old friend, and I'm looking forward to spending time with it.

I"m finally done--it's an intricate plot and it took me a while to read. This is about as good as Soviet-Era spy fiction got; you have two "master spies"--action hero types, initially duking it out but then combining forces to combat an evil (the Matarese) that causes them to
Anshuman Padhee
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my favorite novelist.his novels were fast paced and suspenseful and the action was second to none.critics accused ludlum that his characters were paper thin in content and he relied on action a lot.i would say the critics should pay attention to the matatrese circle and the bourne series.the characters of these novels were memorable and had depth in them.
the matarese circle is fast paced and sets the tone from the first chapter.the suspense and action is top and the characters of the 2 protagoni
Adam Nelson
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had previously read The Bourne Identity, and while it was diverting enough, I wasn't in love with it. I felt the same about the movies. The problem was that I didn't feel there was a whole lot at stake, that there was much I should care about. It was just a very intelligently plotted thriller about a man who has no idea who he is, why he's so deftly skilled, or why he's being targeted. The Matarese Circle was quite a different experience. In the early going, I felt very much for the characters ...more
Sydney Mugerwa
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To cut a long story short, one could simply say, “This is Ludlum, what else would you expect?” if such a statement doesn’t capture the sheer brilliance of the man, I don’t know what can.
The Matarese Circle is an old book, written many years before I was born actually but regardless: One would think it a recent publication. As it was decades ago, America-Russia relations are as frosty as ever. To read a book that chooses not to capitalize on this age-old enmity but rather has characters from bot
Asghar Abbas
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Okay, this was an emotional book and a tad bit sentimental. So good. Sure, Ludlum was an emotional writer. Half the time, I didn't know what he was ranting about. But his theories were fun.

Now, this sort of thing is more relevant than ever, the way shape of sounds is right now. What's happening is not right.

This world, we don't need villains, let alone heroes.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A famous book, but not one which particularly appealed to me. The genre is James Bond, but unfortunately without the panache. The two heroes, respectively America's and Russia's top spies/espionage specialists, are sworn enemies to the death, but still see fit to team up to save the world (Mr. Ludlum doesn't do things by halves). That's right, the whole world is about to be subjugated by a shadowy threat which the Russian agent just happens to stumble upon. What's worse, they have to accomplish ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-5-stars
That was a terrific book back then (1979/1980 or 1981).
I should re-read it to see if it will have the same impact.
I was very young but I remember very well how impressed I was with the story line and with the writing (although i read the version translated into Portuguese). I couldn’t stop talking about it. So my 5 stars is based on that memory.
Ben Coes
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thriller I ever read. Made me want to be a writer. Great book.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm getting close to having all the Ludlum books done and even though I really, really enjoy them it makes me sad knowing there will be no new ones.
Shom Biswas
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-before-2012
Why does one read thrillers?

The apparent answer is rather simple. The edge-of-your-seat thrill-a-minute ride is a departure from the ennui of everyday living. Most of us live still lives. Most of us do not actively seek out the extreme thrills in real life; the mundane is boring but comforting. Thrillers allow us to nonetheless enjoy the excitement vicariously through the exploits of our protagonists. Sure, it’s transient, but often, it’s the shot of adrenaline the reader needs.

The best thriller
Vikalp Trivedi
'The Matarese Circle' written by Robert Ludlum is a thrilling spy adventure of Beowolf Agate and The Serpent. Two men who were once the greatest assets their respective agencies had but now are their greatest liabilities. To be added more importantly that Beowolf Agate and The Serpent are sworn enemies. These two legendary spies, past assets and current liabilities and sworn enemies have to stop The Shepherd Boy and his flock from their dream of dominating the  world and ultimately making the en ...more
Melanie White
Two cold war spies and bitter enemies, both the best at what they do, Brandon Scofield from the United States and Vasili Taleniekov from the KGB, must set aside their differences and work together to stop a group of killers, known only as The Materese, from taking over the world.
Now, what you'll get: an intricate cat-and-mouse game between Talienkov and Scofieldlots, lots of globe hopping as the story takes you to Scandinavia, Russia, France, Italy, the US, and Corsica, a love story between S
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are ever planning on becoming a Ludlum fan, then read this book and be dazzled. This is the best follow-up book after his Bourne masterpieces. The interaction between Brandon Scofield, CIA operative and Vasili Taleniekov of the KGB is the best I have ever read so far. Their mutual hatred which turns to respect is unprecedented. I was never really present during the so called Cold War, but this book transcends you to those spy world days. The title was actually inspired by a steak house in ...more
David Jay
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
written six years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, nobody does the Cold War better than Ludlum. In this one, (not sure how I never read this before) a group of powerful and ruthless killers is close to completing their plans to take over the world. There is one CIA operative and one KGB operative, sworn enemies, who have to use their combined talents to defeat the Matarese. This is a page turner from start to finish and if you are stuck at home, I warn you that you might not get anything else ...more
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Robert Ludlum, has the same general scenario in all books, an estranged spy fighting some international corporation. Not bad, entertaining if you haven't read too many of his books. Moderately fast, fairly easy read
Jimmy Sawczuk
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-thrillers
Really good plot, typical Ludlum atmosphere, but man, the dialogue is hard to get through sometimes. Every character seems to revert into this Perd Hapley mode when talking to other characters: "I have three things to say to you and the first of those three things is this..."
This is like James Bond, only better.
Alex Gherzo
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas Kelvin
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A novel full of suspense that you don't want to put it down.
Two enemies both on a personal and professional level combine to bring down this Circle. Big people in all the world powers as well as influential families are members. And now the leader eyes the most powerful position in the world. True names withheld, how will they be unmasked?
Will Brandon and Taleniekov stop them before its too late? Get this masterpiece and unmask the people behind the scenes.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bojan by: 12
Matareški KrugBrilliant written,full of plots,government behind a government,secret Agents.There is so much at stake that keeps your eyes on reading more and more.The Best Thriller and book I have ever read.
An Amazing story !
Garrett Peterson
I have read and loved most of Ludlum books, this one left me wanting though. The connections between characters is always detached in his writing, that works normally for him, but in this case it left the story also feeling distant and not compelling to me. Worth the read, but not the classic that his other books were IMHO.
Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic spy tale: nonstop fun with no literary elegance.
Paul Lyons
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
It's tough to write about a book when you have strong, yet mixed feelings about it. There is a part of you that wants to expound on the good, and ignore the bad. Then, there's that other part of you that just wants to talk about the bad. With Robert Ludlum's 1979 complex, 600-page thriller "The Matarese Circle," I found myself swaying from one position to another, with no clear winner at the end. However, the cost of such as a position has not been forgotten.

In simpler terms, it took me a few hu
Lay Duaso
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was my first Ludlum book and I guess I now understand why his books have been made into several blockbuster thrillers. I've found "The Matarese Circle" to be a fun, solid read for a book that is obviously a product of its own politically charged time. Conspiracies, Cold War unease, brute violence and betrayals abound--but so do redemption and hope. It was easy for me to get swept along by Ludlum's breakneck pace and pulsating action scenes, despite the lack of cool gadgets and the easy cont ...more
Zach Franz
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best escapist thrillers I've ever read. I say 'escapist' because novels by the likes of John Le Carre and Alan Furst can also be considered thrillers, but are more of the thinking variety; they don't feature the globe-trotting action and suspense you'll find here. "The Matarese Circle" is the first Ludlum book I've read. The author does a great job of providing the kind of realistic detail and knowing prose I love, but also keeps the plot moving. His greatest drawback is mostly due to ...more
Sebastien St Vil
I was given this book by my dad whom had read it more than a decade ago; the french edition which was nonetheless spectacular. It starts in Russia but there will be no borders as you will be taken for a joy ride across most of Europe to America. As a spy book, the meticulous aspects it possesses are brilliant but essential (Settings and Plot). The very way that Ludlum uses his mastery of suspense is astonishing. I was given this book on a Monday but had already finished it by Weekend. I felt so ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Tuthill
A decent espionage story, though the themes seem both tried and tired. Many others have expounded upon the Russian vs United States during the Cold War and have done just as good if not better.

The espionage tactics are entertaining but fairly rote. Ludlum does good work but this certainly isn't the Borne trilogy.
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A new member of the five star club :-) 3 33 Feb 19, 2013 03:57PM  
A Fictional Masterpiece 3 23 Jul 30, 2012 10:57AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Matarese Dynasty (2 books)
  • The Matarese Countdown (Matarese #2)

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