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Robert Ludlum’s The Holcroft Covenant: Is it worth the long read?

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As many of my regular readers and podcast audience members may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Audible which allows me to purchase audiobooks at a discounted price and listen to them wherever I am.

This month I decided to use one of the two audiobook credits I receive monthly to get the audiobook version of The Holcroft Covenant  by Robert Ludlum. The book was originally published in 1978, and was later made into a movie 1985. The story follows Noel Holcroft, a young architect who finds out that his biological father was a German S.S. commander that grew a conscience about the horrors of The Holocaust before the war ended. Noel finds out that his father left him a $7 billion fund which is to be distributed amongst the survivors of The Holocaust . Holcroft is also warned that a remnant sect of Nazi sympathizers and their offspring will try and prevent him from obtaining the money and will instead use it to start “The Fourth Reich”.

The premise and general idea of this plot is excellent in of itself. However, the actual execution of the story itself is problematic.

I’m just going to cut to the chase and say that this books biggest problem is it’s length. The audiobook itself is around 22 hours long and a physical copy is close to 900 pages long. I generally have no problem reading a long book if the story doesn’t drag on, but in this case it’s a huge problem.

Ludlum feels the need to describe even the most minute details ranging from scenery to each of the characters thoughts and feelings at that exact moment. The problem is that many of these details don’t actually contribute to the advancement of the story itself and just feel like filler for blank pages. There were also some pretty explicit sex scenes in the book which added nothing to the story or character development. I’m not a prude by any means but if you’re going to have sex scenes in a book please spend more time showing us the physical relationship between two characters and less time describing breasts in an almost pornographic sense.

My other big problem with this book is the ending. I’m not going to give anything away other than the fact that the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I felt really let down after all this buildup. It seems like Ludlum was trying to set up a sequel and therefore left the ending “unfinished”. By the end of the book I had more questions than answers.

So the question remains: is this book worth reading? I’m never going to flat out say No. This book does have its moments but be prepared for a long and somewhat tedious read. This is not a book you’ll be able to finish in one weekend realistically. I had to give this a 5/10 rating. It comes awfully close to being excellent but it’s length just gets in the way.

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