By the Rivers of Babylon

By the Rivers of Babylon

Book - 1998
Average Rating:
3
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Baker & Taylor
When their jet is forced down by Palestinian terrorists, a small group of Israeli officials on a Concorde peace mission must struggle in the desert against overwhelming emotional, military, and strategic odds

Publisher: Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1998
ISBN: 9780786215607
0786215607
Characteristics: 732 p. (large print) ; 23 cm

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PolyWogg
Sep 03, 2017

PLOT OR PREMISE:
Peace in the Middle East is almost assured and two concordes fly to New York with delegates for final negotiations. Terrorists try to derail the peace conference by planting bombs on board and taking the passengers hostage. After one plane is destroyed, killing all on board, the second plane is forced to land near Babylon. At the last minute, the hostages manage to escape to the top of a small hill from which they attempt to defend against the terrorists through several days of sorties, knowing that the military probably doesn't know where they are and therefore can't swoop in and rescue them.
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WHAT I LIKED:
Long before there was Clancy, there was DeMille. This book takes the international realm and stands it on its ear -- there is (excruciating) details of the relations between the characters on both sides of the peace conference who are forced to work together to fight the terrorists. In addition, the battle tactics are first-rate, the writing is almost perfect, and the story is superb as the "hostages" fight in small groups with every weapon they have -- gas bombs from the plane's fuel tanks, sounds from a war movie blasted over speakers to simulate larger weaponry, etc.
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There are a LOT of characters at the start of this book and it is hard to keep track of them all. Up until the end, there are too many small sub-plots -- some are good, and necessary to flesh out the experience, but not all of them. There are fewer characters by the end though and it helps speed up the plotting. However, the ending is a little over-the-top, resembling a scene from a Die Hard movie more than keeping with the slightly more realistic tone of the rest of the book. As well, there is a meeting between the hostage-leaders and the terrorist-leader that is absolutely surreal. The likelihood of both parties treating it like a military battle with truces, etc., is virtually nil but it was at least interesting to read.
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media.

BOTTOM-LINE:
DeMille is the master of the game

s
stan_jetton
Sep 07, 2016

I read this book in early 1979. Did'nt know much about terrorism, just the skyjackings of the 70's. Still trying to figure this out. However, Demille was not familiar to me or really to most readers, but I decided to give him a try. I'm glad I did. Whatever his subject is, Demille is an exceptional writer who will entertain and educate and also make you laugh out loud.

r
rahmmie
Feb 21, 2016

Very good book and very entertaining. One of the better ones I've read by DeMille so far. I can see how this book would have been a best seller when it originally came out

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