Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The [proper noun] [impressive-sounding noun(s)]

Title: The Gemini Contenders
Author: Robert Ludlum
Bookmark: a bookmark

Having read a lot of Ludlum's later stuff, I think I can safely say that if I had started with his earlier stuff, I wouldn't have bothered reading more. Or maybe, like my friend Spider's disappointment upon rediscovering Knight Rider, it's more that what I loved when I was much younger just isn't that good when viewed with an older eye.

Gemini Contenders seems to be about an Italian industrial magnate, Ludlum's most unlikely hero ever. His father helped a secretive sect of Greek monks to hide a vault somewhere in the mountains. We come to find out that the vault contains ancient scrolls and parchments that are some sort of Big Damn Deal which could shake apart modern religions and set countries against each other. Years later, in the dawn of the Second World War, Junior arrives to a family gathering late, but just in time to witness everyone get slaughtered by Nazi troops.

Then the Brits give him some military and tactical training so he can mess with the German war machine by covertly mismanaging every factory they control, and there's some weird subplot with orchestrating his marriage to control him somehow, but that's never adequately explained. the whole time he's trying to do his job and mess up the Nazi scourge, there are other parties, all convinced that he knows the location of the vault, trying to get the information from him. Oh, and he gets tortured almost to death once or twice.

The Geminis mentioned in the title? They don't even show up until the books about two-thirds over. And they don't contend over anything for several chapters. Junior has twin sons that end up both going after the vault for very different reasons.

The whole thing is preposterous, convoluted, and way the hell over-the-top. Even for Ludlum.

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posted by reyn at 1:43 PM


Blogger Elizabeth said...

"'s more that what I loved when I was much younger just isn't that good when viewed with an older eye."

Ah, but isn't it wonderful when a book you read when younger improves with age? I'm sorry Ludlum disappointed you, but I hope you'll discover other authors who do become more meaningful as time goes by.

10/07/2011 9:31 PM  

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