My first issue is Hayes not giving Pilgrim a real name. With multiple changes of name in the book reflecting his life as a secret agent I could only think of him as Pilgrim. I thought Robert Ludlum was brilliant with creating Jason Bourne and then having him learn it was not his real name. I would have preferred Pilgrim having an actual name by which he was known through the book.
My second concern with I Am Pilgrim is likely only going to be an issue for a lawyer but it grates upon me. A motive for a murder in the book is that the wife of a young billionaire will be limited under a pre-nuptial agreement to very modest cash payments if she divorces from her husband but if he dies she will inherit his estate.
What aggravates me about the scenario is that, in real life, any wealthy man or woman who is requiring a pre-nuptial agreement from their fiancé to protect assets in a divorce is going to prepare a will that echoes the pre-nuptial agreement for his or her lawyer will advise the client must deal with the end of the marriage by death as well as by divorce.
It is completely implausible that the wealthy client would either forgot about doing a new will or did not get around to a new will. Their lawyer, most likely team of lawyers for a billionaire, will make sure a new will is not overlooked and will equally ensure they get it done at the same time as the pre-nup.
The whole story line could have been rendered far more realistic had the billionaire husband taken out substantial life insurance, possibly even double benefits in the case of accidental death, to protect the fiancé if he should die unexpectedly.
My third concern is the ending. For those readers who love Hollywood endings it will be a satisfying conclusion. To me it was the weakest part of the book.
After writing a sophisticated thriller with a wickedly clever threat to America, Hayes chose an ending that is a clone of most Hollywood thrillers.
The actions and answers of the bad guy terrorist, when confronted by Pilgrim, are not credible. The Saracen, a terrorist who is a hardened holy Islamic warrior, would not have retreated from sacrifice.
Hayes had a chance to write an ending that could either have confounded the expectations of readers by not being the traditional Hollywood conclusion or an ending that was more realistic Hollywood. While Jeffery Deaver sometimes puts too many twists at the end of his books they are real.
My fourth issue is length. I understood the British edition weighed in at almost 700 pages. The American edition is 607 pages. While I thoroughly enjoyed Pilgrim’s pursuit of Saracen I believe it would have been a better book with 150 less pages. A significant amount of information could have gone into another book with Pilgrim as the hero without weakening this book.
While I do have the concerns outlined above I have no hesitation in recommending the book.