The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Book review: The fate of the world hinges on just one person on each side

Noel Grima Sunday, 23 June 2024, 08:15 Last update: about 26 days ago

I am Pilgrim

Author: Terry Hayes

Printer: Bantam Press

Year: 2012

Pages: 703


On 11th September 2001, amid the enormous tragedy that was happening in New York, two persons were going about their own personal lives.

One, later found out to be a woman, though employed at the Twin Towers, was late going to work on that sunny morning.

When the attack happened, this woman simply disappeared. She assumed a different name, moved to a seedy hotel and meticulously planned... a murder.

At the same time a fireman was engaged in rescuing people from the burning skyscraper. Hearing that a disabled man was stranded high up in his wheelchair, the fireman battled against incredible odds and managed to save the man, seconds before the tower came down.

This is only the beginning of a taut fast-paced thriller that will leave the reader turning page after page as the plot thickens and sways this way and that.

I can only point at successive steps of this thriller:

A young woman is murdered in a run-down Manhattan hotel.

A father is publicly beheaded in the blistering sun of Saudi Arabia.

A man's eyes are stolen from his living body as he leaves a secret Syrian research laboratory.

Smouldering human remains are found in a remote village on a mountainside in the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.

All this is leading to a plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

One thread binds all these crimes and on the other hand only one man can save humanity.

That is the man only known as Pilgrim. And all the roads lead to a small harbour in Turkey amid forgotten Roman ruins

Author Terry Hayes is a former journalist and screen-writer. Born in Sussex, UK, he migrated to Australia as a child and trained as a journalist at the country's leading broadsheet. At 21 he was appointed North American correspondent, based in New York. After two years he returned to Sydney to become an investigative reporter, political correspondent and columnist.

He resigned to produce a prominent current-affairs radio programme and a short time later, with George Miller, wrote the screenplay for Road Warrior/Mad Max 2. He also co-produced and wrote Dead Calm, the film which launched Nicole Kidman's international movie career and a large number of TV movies and mini-series, two of which received international Emmy nominations. In all, he has won over 20 film or television awards.

After moving to Los Angeles, he worked as a screenwriter on major studio productions. His credits include Payback with Mel Gibson, From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, and Vertical Limit with Chris O'Donnell.

He has also done uncredited writing on a host of other movies, including Reign of Fire with Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, Cliffhanger, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Flightplan with Jodie Foster.

I am Pilgrim was his first novel. 

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