A woman is murdered in a decrepit hotel near ground zero. She has been robbed of her identity and with no way to find out who she is, detective Ben Bradley calls help of a man known as Pilgrim, a former intelligence officer, who is a ghost and does not exist officially. Pilgrim is suddenly drawn in another investigation. He is hunting for a man code named Saracen. Saracen is also a ghost, no one knows his real identity and he has plans for America that are deadlier than 9/11.
I Am Pilgrim is an ambitious novel. 900 pages long (paperback edition) and yet an absorbing one. It is Frederick Forsyth at its best. You read it right. I Am Pilgrim kept me reminding of Forsyth’s best work, especially The Fourth Protocol. It has same cat and mouse chase that will keep you on the edge but on a grand scale. It is like author Terry Hayes decided to paint as big canvas as possible. The story moves to and forth in times, jumps around different parts of the world from Thailand to Russia and USA to Turkey and has many seemingly disconnected story lines. In spite of all of this, it is a taut plot that keeps moving at a breath neck speed.
Pilgrim is an interesting character. Orphaned and then brought up by a very wealthy couple, he always was a loner. He has been in the highest echelons of intelligence before 9/11 but retired soon after. Still in his thirties, he wants to return to an anonymous normal life but detective Ben Bradley tracks him down. Ben’s investigation into Pilgrim’s real identity itself is most absorbing part of the book. Immediately after this, Pilgrim is drawn in Saracen’s hunt and story line of the woman murdered in New York suddenly converges with Pilgrim’s pursuit of Saracen in Turkey.
Kudos to Terry Hayes for undertaking such a daunting work and coming up trumps. In spite of its bulk, I Am Pilgrim moved fast and kept me glued to it right from beginning. Hayes has kept some of the mysteries unresolved (murder of Pilgrim’s mother) and some partly solved (The woman’s killer is identified but not brought to justice) leaving room for I guess a sequel, one I will definitely be watching out for.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
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