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by David Baldacci

Witnessing a murder with ties to a prestigious businessman's club, homeless conspiracy theorist Harry Stone steals a crucial piece of evidence from the scene and is subsequently pursued by a dangerous member of the club and a secret service agent who slowly uncovers the truth. 850,000 first printing.
Download The Camel Club epub
ISBN: 0446577383
ISBN13: 978-0446577380
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: David Baldacci
Language: English
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (October 25, 2005)
Pages: 448 pages
ePUB size: 1260 kb
FB2 size: 1826 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 935
Other Formats: azw lrf rtf lit

I am on the second book in the Camel series now because I truly enjoyed this book. I am also a writer (of business novels) and a former professor of English. This book scores on all levels. The four members of the Camel Club are unique and fascinating. The villains are almost as fascinating. The story moves quickly (but at a pace that allows the reader to savor all of the twists and characters). Baldacci has done quite a bit of research. I really enjoyed learning about the Islamic prayers, the yoga practices, and the background of "Hail to the Chief." The depth of these "lessons" is enough to keep one intrigued. He is great at making one see and understand both heroes and villains. The plot, though slightly outrageous, is still well within the bounds of exciting fiction. He's a prolific writer, so I plan to be entertained by him for the foreseeable future..
My Mother gave me her old Amos Decker books recently, and I enjoyed them so much I looked for another of Baldacci series to read. Based on some reader's recommendations, I found The Camel Club series, filled with really great characters and riveting, page-turner plots. I happily zoomed through all five of the Camel Club books and the novella in two weeks. These characters develop, evolve, disappear and re-appear in the course of the series, becoming more interesting with each new plot. That is not always the case with a series, but the Camel Club is special.
I wish Baldacci had written more with this crew; I'll miss them. Highly recommended.
The Camel Club started very slow for me. I had issues keeping all the characters straight. There were so many! I did enjoy the last half of the book once I was clear on who was who. By the end, I was reaching out for the second book.

The Camel Club begins with the apparent suicide of a government agent but this is far from the truth. Four men are witness to this "suicide". The four men are conspiracy theorists who seek the truth behind the conspiracies. They called themselves the Camel Club.

Oliver Stone, Milton Farb, Caleb Shaw, and Reuben Rhodes have been meeting in secrecy for many years. Unluckily, their last meeting place makes them a witness to this crime. Their lives will be in grave danger and if found, they might not live the week and perish at the hands of some very powerful people.

As the story progresses, we get to discover who Oliver Stone is and his past ties to the USA government. We also meet Agent Alex Ford who's a secret service agent who has had a good honest career. When Alex starts digging into the murder, he's demoted to White House protection detail. Unbeknownst to Alex, the stability of the USA is about to be challenged. Alex and the Camel Club are the only hope to prevent war.

The last part of the book is action-packed. The pages flew fast in a race to know the outcome. I couldn't wait for all the pieces to fall together.

My favorite character was Oliver Stone. A close second was Alex Ford. I was left wanting to learn more about the other three remaining Camel Club members. They all seem to have a very interesting past.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs
This was an excellent read packed with political and social intrigue. Some of the story line is so pertinent to today's issues and political climate in Washington DC it was a bit unnerving. If to are someone to thinks political manipulation and BIG BROTHER is a reality, then you will find this novel a lot of fun to read. In any case, you will find yourself questioning some of these things you read in the news or hear on the talk shows or watch on TV. The ending is not disappointing...classic misdirection by Mr Baldacci!
As the opening chapter of a series, David Baldacci's The Camel Club did exactly what a good first chapter should do while still surpassing my expectations. It introduces a myriad of characters and a compelling concept that will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end while also providing an authentic real-world scenario that makes the reader contemplate issues that plague humanity to this day. It's so effective in its execution that it may actually rival science-fiction novels in its ability to make the reader question our world and those who run it.

The central issue of scrutiny which Baldacci comments upon focuses on the mutual hypocrisies involving the United States government's War on Terror, and the holy war jihad used to justify the violent actions of Islamic terrorists. As a disclaimer, please take note that Baldacci does not pull any punches here. While the story and characters are fictional, the events that he references from the past and present are real and add a great deal of motivation for the characters, as well as personal moral contemplation for the reader. I'll admit, as a reader I often found it difficult to read The Camel Club at times, not due to any form of literary difficulty, but due to the book forcing me to open my eyes to a far greater picture with no black and white lines. Baldacci isn't taking sides in the matter, after all he has written some very patriotic books in the past. Rather, he's merely demonstrating just how twisted our world truly is and how superficial barriers created through differences on race, language, ideologies and religion can create these significant rifts between different nations and people. It's one thing to craft a compelling thriller set in modern day reality, considering the fact that most readers (myself included) are often seeking escapism from the bore which is every-day life. Yet it's another achievement entirely too deeply galvanize the reader while providing such effective social commentary that truly moves them into deep contemplation. It's a dichotomy that I haven't seen realized so effectively since reading Orson Scott Card's magnum opus Ender's Game, which is an acknowledgement I don't say lightly.

A stark difference from the Baldacci books I've read in the past is that The Camel Club places emphasis on a larger cast of characters as opposed to Baldacci's usual format featuring a single protagonist paired with a smaller cast of supporting characters. I initially had some skepticism to this change in direction, yet Baldacci pulled through by illustrating an excellent cast of characters that included several memorable standouts. The leader of the Camel Club, Oliver Stone is a character wrapped in such a great deal of mystery that you can't help but obsess over his true identity. His unkempt exterior and primitive living arrangement serve as a mask for his astute intellect and set of skills that come as a surprise to even his closest colleagues. The secret service agent Alex Ford demonstrates how doing one's duty to one's country isn't always as simply as it sounds when government bureaucrats and convoluted jurisdiction are constantly interfering with the greater good. I also enjoyed the romance that sparked between him and another character that I won't spoil; it gave the book some extra emotional investment, which is something authors of other technothrillers often struggle with effectively illustrating. The final character I'd like to highlight is one of the antagonists of the book Carter Gray, who to my surprise rose above the stereotypical government bureaucrat/politician archetype of looking to make a career for himself through less than honorable means. He's an impressive morally grey character that helps build upon the aforementioned moral center of the book's social-political commentary. His character essentially carries two burdening questions: how far would you go to protect what you love and when does it cross the ethical line and become something far more sinister? Which leads to an even direr question: can this line even be identified if you're put into this position of responsibility and power? He's a great antagonist to the book who never believes he's anything other than a hero doing what is necessary for the safety of his country and his fellow countrymen. The moral dilemmas that surround his character are extremely thought-provoking and a poignant reminder that doing the right thing isn't always a simple choice between right and wrong. I definitely hope to see Gray return in a sequel.

The last third of the book also needs special attention because of just how enthralling it is. Without spoiling anything, I'll say that what the book is building up as the climax actually serves as the catalyst for cataclysmic events that give the book a far greater sense of scale than you'd initially believe. It's common practice for a book or movie's synopsis to glorify the plot and make it seem far more epic than it can possibly hope to become. Yet in the case of The Camel Club, it actually succeeds and lives up to what it advertises. It concludes with an absolutely phenomenal climax that is equal parts emotional as it is action-packed. Needless to say I was hooked for the finale as the characters seemingly went through hell and the cryptic plot came full circle.

However, the book does have a few minor detriments. The first being that there are moments where the narrative begins to drag, due largely to extended periods of time where emphasis is being placed on minor characters instead of the protagonists. Fortunately, the book is able to overcome this demerit mostly unscathed since the plot is so enthralling. The other issue is that some of the characters feel a tad underdeveloped, particularly Milton and Caleb. They're both likable characters with interesting personalities, yet they don't have the same level of depth or purpose within the story as Oliver and Alex. I hope to see Baldacci develop them more in later installments.

The Camel Club is easily one of my favorite Baldacci novels and the start of a promising series that I plan on revisiting. The majority of characters are very memorable, the plot is exciting and emotional, and the manner in which it portrays its social-political commentary by showcasing the sins of both sides is worthy of envy. It's a book that gives the reader exactly what it advertises and then gives even more. Baldacci has once again proven himself to be the king among the modern technothriller novelists.