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Publisher's Summary

Returning to Tokyo in 1982 after a decade of mercenary work in the Philippines, a young John Rain learns that the killing business is now controlled by Victor, a half-Russian, half-Japanese sociopath who has ruthlessly eliminated all potential challengers. Victor gives Rain a choice: kill a government minister or die a grisly death. But the best route to the minister is through his gorgeous Italian wife, Maria, a route that puts Rain on a collision course not only with Victor but with the shadowy forces behind the Russian's rise to dominance - and the longings of Rain's own conflicted heart.

It's a battle between kingpin and newcomer, master and apprentice, a zero-sum contest that can only end with one man dead and the other the world's foremost assassin.

©2017 Barry Eisler (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A great book but a bit too romance heavy.

Eisler continues the John rain series with John this time facing off against Victor.

I've read all 9 Rain Novels and love them all and I would say Victor is an exceptional enemy, one of the best Rain has faced. This book is good and stands well with the series, but is faulted heavily by the absolute non-stop romance sub-plot (that probably has twice the page count as the actual main plot).

When the enemy is as well written and mysterious as Victor, it should have really being a cat & mouse chase throughout the book. Instead it's likely the most romance heavy of all the Rain novels.

Rain's popular because of the grit, spy craft and twits - I hope the series slows down on the romance and continues to be what is should be, a spy novel.

Overall it's still a great book and I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys the rain Novels, but I really hope Barry slows down on the romance.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

What happened

This was a really poor storyline compared to other novels in this series. Disappointing read.

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  • shelley
  • 28-06-2017

Welcome back John Rain!

Oh Thank You Barry Eisler! I've been hoping that John Rain would make an appearance at some point and that the author hadn't given him up. Since he has been writing some other really good stand alone books I was curious if Rain had been retired.
Anyway back to this book. Basically this book is about John Rain being set up. He's given a difficult assignment of killing a politician by an unbalanced Russian ex spetznaz who is being used by an ex CIA honcho working the wrong side now. The plan is to have Rain complete the job based on intelligence provided by them and they will kill him afterward.
It's very interesting to listen to his introspective examination of his situation and his calculations of how he he will counterattack and his anxiety over whether he can pull it off. This being a much younger John Rain, he has not yet honed his skills to the lethal weapon he will become.
I think Eisler does a fantastic job narrating his own books.
This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-2017

Eisler is the Best Narrator for hosting Books

Eisler's pronunciation of Japanese (maybe with a hint of American accent) is certainly a plus. It's nice to have Rain as. "player" again instead of wanting to quit all of the time. It gives the books that take place later in time more depth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • crazybatcow
  • 16-04-2018

Have I mentioned I love Eisler?

Okay, I actually search for and buy every book Eisler releases. I particularly like the John Rain series... every one of them. This was no exception. It is a prequel and shows us a John Rain near the start of his career/learning curve.

The drawback to a prequel is that we lose the suspense of knowing if Rain will 'survive'. But the advantage of it is learning more about him and his character/skills development. And, of course, Eisler has just the right mix of suspense and vigilantism so we do want to see it through to the end to make sure the bad guys got what they deserved.

There is no graphic violence or detailed sex. I think there might have been a handful of swear words, but... maybe not, it was pretty unobtrusive if so. The narration is very good. Eisler has taken to narrating his own books and each one of them is actually better narrated that the one before.

As usual, I will buy any new Rain book, or any book by Eisler, as soon as it is released. (oh, FYI, his Livia Lone is also very good)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JC
  • 04-04-2018

Definitely Zero Sum

My oh my, how clever John Rain continues to be. This was an excellent novel and the antagonist was beyond wonderful. Why Barry Eisler has not yet made John Rain into a motion picture, I’ll never know. I highly recommend this book to all! Enjoy!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Josh Alford
  • 12-02-2018

A decent prequel to the John Rain saga.

Enjoyable as always but not as near the excitement of some of the others in this series. A must for Rain fans but definitely not Eislers best.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Carver
  • 17-11-2017

Another solid Rain saga

Glad to have Rain back! Story was intriguing. I have only two small complaints. First, Rain seems a bit untouchable as a main character for me. He never gets hurt or seemingly close to injury which is a bit unbelievable. Second, while I like the narrator, his Italian accent was atrocious. But I enjoyed the book immensely and will listen to the next installment. Oh, last thing...one of the things I LOVE about the author is his use of the language. I always learn five or six words I have never heard with each new book!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nick C.
  • 13-11-2017

Starting to sprinkle...

Zero Sum contains a great perspective shift at this point in the John Rain series. Mr. Eisler injects the story with his unique talent to provide the conscience behind the killer. This look into Rain-san's past is loaded with a great villain, an intriguing love-interest, and plenty of insight into the psyche of a very complex man. This series is a personal favorite of mine and I recommend starting at the beginning and enjoying them in order. Eisler is a tremendous narrator as well - given his career and apparent unending skill set, I'm starting to wonder if he might be Batman. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jack
  • 01-11-2017

A great glimpse back

I've enjoyed the entire series of Rain books and this glimpse into his earlier days was very enjoyable and entertaining. As usual, the narrative by the author was excellent. His pronunciation of the names and places in the story is always very informative and really adds to the experience. He also is best suited for knowing exactly what he is wanting to impart with Rain. Glad to see this addition to the series.

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  • Michael Connolly
  • 25-10-2017

Another great John Rain book!

Another great John Rain book! Read and or listened to them all. Look forward to another.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe
  • 22-09-2017

Another Great Rain Story

All the elements, familiar characters, new characters, Tokyo backdrop and story that moves right along.

Mr Eisler is getting better at his already good narration by stretching his characterizations with some fun accents

Looking forward to the next Livia Lone story but hope Mr Eisler can keep fleshing out the Rain saga

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-2017

Brilliant

Once again a fantastic story, and amazing audio. Barry has an amazing voice and his stories are gripping

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • H. M. Markham
  • 16-07-2017

Great book filling in interesting background.

Barry Eisler has now established himself as best narrator of his own audiobooks. Story some interesting background about how Rain developed as the go to man for lethal dark ops.