The Sigma Protocol

Version: Abridged
Author: Robert Ludlum
Narrator: Paul Michael
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published In: November 2001
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 6 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

American investment banker Ben Hartman arrives in Zurich for a ski holiday, the first time he's been back to Switzerland since his twin brother died there in a tragic accident four years earlier. But his arrival in Zurich triggers something far more sinister than his brother's fate. When Ben chances upon Jimmy Cavanaugh, an old college friend, Cavanaugh promptly pulls out a gun and tries to kill him. In a matter of minutes, several innocent bystanders are dead - as well as Cavanaugh - and Ben has barely managed to survive. Plunged into an unspeakable nightmare, Hartman suddenly finds himself on the run.
Department of Justice field agent Anna Navarro is being stalked around the world by a relentless killer, managing to survive the killer's attacks only by a combination of luck, skill and her own quick wits. These attacks are somehow related to her current assignment: investigating the sudden - and seemingly unrelated - deaths of a number of very old men throughout the world. The only thing that connects them is a file in the CIA archives, over a half-century old, marked with the same puzzling code word: SIGMA. But someone or something is always seemingly one step ahead of her, the survivors are rapidly dwindling, and her own life is in ever increasing danger.
Brought together by accident, Ben and Anna soon realize that their only hope of survival lies with each other. Together they race to uncover the diabolical secrets long hidden behind the code word, Sigma. Secrets that threaten everything they think they know about themselves, everything they believed true about their friends and families, and everything they were ever taught about history itself. For behind Sigma lies a vastdeception that is finally coming to fruition and the fate and future of the world is in their hands.

Reviews (6)

The Sigma Protocol

Written by Marshel - Murrysville on July 24th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Fast paced, maybe too fast due to the abridged version. Very plausible plot and character development. I drive 4 hours home every weekend. This book made the trip fly by. The narration was done very well.

The Sigma Protocol

Written by Teresa San Antonio on June 19th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I liked this Ludlum book. The plot was fast moving and believeable and the narration well done.

Sigma Protocol

Written by Biolife Technologies on February 10th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I like intrigue and fast moving books. This is one of those. I like the writer and have many more of his books on my list.

A true thriller

Written by George Lewis from Helena, AL on May 6th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Another great thriller by Robert Ludlum. Would often idle the car just to hear what happens next.

Abridged version hard to follow

Written by Anonymous on March 2nd, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I normally like Robert Ludlum novels; however, I think this novel was ruined by the abridgement.

The Sigma Protocol

Written by Anonymous from Colorado Springs, CO on November 28th, 2004

  • Book Rating: 5/5

My husband and I really enjoyed listening to this CD on the way to work and back. What a great movie this would make! Highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys these spy/adventure type books (like we do).

Author Details

Author Details

Ludlum, Robert

Robert Ludlum was born in New York City. His father, George Hartford Ludlum, was a businessman; he died in 1934. Ludlum grew up in New Jersey. He was educated privately and at the Chesire Academy, Connecticut. Before acting in the comedy Junior Miss on Broadway at sixteen, Ludlum had already appeared in school theatricals - his first ambition, however, was to be a quaterback in football. During World War II Ludlum tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. The attempt failed and Ludlum served as an infantryma in 1945- 47 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was was posted to the South Pacific, where he wrote a manuscript of some two hundred pages of his impressions. After studies at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Ludlum received his B.A. in 1951. In the same year he married the actress Mary Ryducha; they had three children.

In the 1950s Ludlum worked as a stage and television actor. He was in 200 television dramas, among them The Kraft Television Theatre, Studio One, and Robert Montgomery Presents. Usually he was casted as a lawyer or a killer. In The Strong Are Lonely by Fritz Hichwalder (1952) Ludlum played a soldier, he was Spartacus in The Gladiator (1954), and D'Estivel in Saint Joan by G.B. Shaw (1956). In 1957 he became a producer at the North Jersey Playhouse, Fort Lee, New Jersey and in 1960 he opened the Playhouse-on-the-Mall in Paramus.

After producing 300 stage productions for New York and regional theatre, Ludlum wrote his first novel, The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), a tale about Nazis and international financiers. However, he had been a long time "a closet writer," as he once said. The book was published after ten rejection slips, but it became an immediate best-seller. The idea for the story came from an old article in the Illustrated London News, in which a photograph showed a German pushing a wheelbarrow full of inflation banknotes, and another picture showed members of the Nazi Party. Ludlum's next thriller, The Osterman Weekend (1973), was later made into a film, which was directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1983. In the story a television news executive, John Tanner, is recruited by CIA to reveal a ring of Soviet agents, who are perhaps his close friends. Tanner became the prototype of Ludlum's male protagonist, who is more lucky and resourceful than the villains ever could guess - and who finds it hard to trust anyone.

From the mid-1970s, Ludlum was a full-time writer. From Leonia, New Jersey, the Ludlums moved to Long Island, where they bought a two-hundred-year-old clapboard farmhouse. In Florida they had a second home. Ludlum also traveled widely to collect background material for his novels. Paris become his favorite city.

The Bourne Identity (1980) started a series of novels, in which an American counter-assassin and his nearly superhuman opponent, Carlos, confront in different parts of the world. The character of Carlos was partly based on the Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who in real life was captured in 1994 in Sudan. Carlos the Jackal has been linked to the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and other acts of terrorism. He is serving a life sentence in a French prison. In The Bourne Identity the protagonist is found half-dead and without memory of who he is. It gradually turns out that he is David Webb, a young Far East scholar. Webb has got a new identity from CIA as Jason Bourne to kill Carlos, another assassin, but is betrayed by the officials. The Bourne Supremacy brought on the stage Bourne's sadistic doppelganger, who has started to execute people in Hong Kong. In the third novel, The Bourne Ultimatum, the showdown between Carlos and Bourne was set in Russia. "The Bourne Supremacy may be Mr. Ludlum's most overwrought, speciously motivated, spuriously complicated story to date. It's difficult to tell whether he's writing worse or it's just getting easier to spot his tricks. And yet - shameful to admit - one keeps reading. Is it the violence of the action? The adolescence of the fantasy? The maddening convolutions of the plot? Whatever, the effect is like dessert after certain rich meals. It's too much. One shouldn't. One doesn't really feel like it. ''Oh, my God,'' one gasps, contemplating the enormity of it. And promptly devours the entire concoction." (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in The New York Times, March 6, 1986) The fourth novel in the series, The Bourne Legacy (2004), was written by Eric Van Lustbader (b. 1946), who has blended in his earlier works ninja mysticism, eroticism, exotic locations, and government corruption.

In Ludlum's novels multinational right-wing intrigues were often born from economic reasons. He also drew parallels between the Nazis and modern day fanatics striving for power. "When the chaos becomes intolerable, it would be their excuse to march in military units and assume the controls, initially with martial law,'' speculates one of Ludlum's characters in The Aquitaine Progression (1984). In The Matarese Circle (1979) CIA and KGB join their forces, like United States and the Soviet Union during World War II, to fight against a circle of terrorists plotting against superpowers. The Matarese dynasty returned again in The Matarese Countdown (1997), in which its members have infiltrated the CIA and try to establish a new world economic order.

Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder (Trevayne and The Cry of the Halidon) and Michael Shepherd (The Road to Gandolpho) - the latter was written in humorist style. - Ludlum died of a heart attack on March 12, 2001, in Naples, Florida. The Prometheus Deception (2000) was his most prophetic novel. In the story a series of terrorist attacks are used in an international conspiracy to restrict civil rights and to increase electronic surveillance for security reasons. The purpose is good - to protect détente and stop wars and crimes. The protagonist is Nicholas Bryson, a deep-cover agent, who trusts his instincts while his opponents act mechanically, according to their great plan. Bryson has worked years for a shadowy organization called the Directorate. Everybody lies to him, and Ludlum makes it clear to his readers, that they should not believe generally accepted "truths", world leaders or UN Secretary-General. And again the agent, surrounded by enemies, is fighting himself out of all kinds of corners - he escapes from a ship, a French château full of security men, and a Chinese store house. Bryson has much reasons to suspect the intentions of governmental organizations, CIA, FBI, and others, and shout in his anger: "The goddamn GRU, the Russians--that's all in the past. Maybe you Cold War cowboys at Langley haven't yet heard the news--the war's over!" The Tristan Betrayal (2003) appeared with the note: "Since his death, the Estate of Robert Ludlum has worked with a careful selected author and editor to prepare and edit this work for publication."