Read Come Barbarians by Todd Babiak Online


In the south of France, a man trying to leave his past behind is caught in a shadowy web of political ambition and violence.Christopher Kruse has moved to the south of France with his wife and daughter to become a better man—to escape his past as a high-priced security agent and his guilt over old wrongs. But when death comes crashing into their newly idyllic life, the KruIn the south of France, a man trying to leave his past behind is caught in a shadowy web of political ambition and violence.Christopher Kruse has moved to the south of France with his wife and daughter to become a better man—to escape his past as a high-priced security agent and his guilt over old wrongs. But when death comes crashing into their newly idyllic life, the Kruses find themselves drawn into a web of political gamesmanship and murder. When his wife disappears, Christopher must draw on his old instincts to find her, ahead of the police and two sinister members of a Corsican crime family. As Christopher’s desperate search leads him closer to his wife, it pulls him deeper into the dangerous machinations of the most powerful leaders in the country.Come Barbarians is a gripping novel of murder, revenge and high stakes, balanced by moments of love, loyalty and loss. Todd Babiak has created a complex, magnetic character forced to confront his bleakest hour and his darkest impulses....

Title : Come Barbarians
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781554684410
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Come Barbarians Reviews

  • Brie
    2019-03-21 21:51

    Read this so some of my bookish friends and I could have an impromptu book club with the author himself. Ended up really enjoying it. The politics in the book was just enough that it wasn't over my head and still kept my attention (I am not a fan of politics!) The violent/torture scenes were well executed and pretty damn awesome (if I can say that!)

  • Lyle Appleyard
    2019-03-20 23:52

    I received a copy of this book through A Goodreads Giveaway Contest.A Canadian couple, with their young daughter, move to the South of France to rebuild their marriage. They are settling into life when the couple's daughter is hit and killed by a prominent local politician. The politician his wife are later found to be murdered. This whole situation stinks. A story involving crooked politians, crooked police and gangsters makes this a suspenseful story that will keep you guessing to the end.The main character is developed quite nicely. We feel his pain of his daughter's death. We feel his confusion about what is happening to him. We feel his frustration to getting justice. The character development makes the story easier to get into. I did like this character.The flashbacks at the beginning of the book are necessary to set the story. They help develop the character of main character in the story. They do become a little confusing in the storyline. I was never sure where the writer was. As the story developed, they became less frequent, but still helped in developing the character and the storyline.I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

  • A.J.B. Johnston
    2019-03-24 22:01

    I liked the book, though with a few reservations. I have great affection for France, as does Todd Babiak apparently. I feel he does a great job of creating the country and its complex culture (including its politics) on the page. There are some wonderful descriptions throughout the book. On the other hand, the "thriller" aspect of the novel was much less convincing. It seemed overly contrived and far-fetched, and the action scenes of violence began to get tedious as the book went on. So, I enjoyed it and recommend it, but for the way it brings France alive, not so much for its plot. I think if the author wants to write more thrillers, he should streamline the prose and come up with more convincing plot-lines.

  • LibraryCin
    2019-03-21 23:40

    3.5 starsChristopher Kruse has taken his wife and little girl to France. While there, his daughter Lily is killed and the one who presumably killed her has been murdered himself. Evelyn, Kruse's wife, has disappeared. Though Kruse himself doesn't want to believe it, the assumption is that Evelyn has killed Lily's killer. Kruse sets out to find Evelyn and to prove her innocence, but other unscrupulous men are after her (and him), as well. This book was really up and down for me. There were some real suspenseful (and gory, in some cases) moments, but there were also times I lost interest/focus. The suspenseful moments in the book were enough to bring my rating to “good”, 3.5 stars, however.

  • Steven Buechler
    2019-03-31 00:49

    Imagine if you will being in the south of France. You a living in that idyllic region and your marriage is beginning to flourish again. Your young daughter is amazing, adjusting to the new country with ease. Your wife is loving her job and introducing you to new ideas. And you have a collection of friends and neighbours that are loving and warm. But with the squeal of tires on a wet cobblestone road, all of that is lost and your find yourself in an underworld of political mayhem and murder. That is the realm that Todd Babiak sets out his protagonist in his novel Come Barbarians. my complete review

  • Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
    2019-04-14 22:45

    I was eating a granola bar when I came upon the vegetable peeler scene and considered putting it down but just kept eating it. Full review to come.

  • Shawn Birss
    2019-04-12 00:50

    After Nothing Lasts Forever, the book after which Die Hard was based, Come Barbarians is the second book I've read this year about Male Protagonist with a Very Special Set of Skills who needs to violently confront Very Bad Men because he needs to protect his family. Those familiar with this subgenre of fiction know that government conspiracies often abound. Even if not, there is a general distrust of authority, and Male Protagonist usually has to work things out almost entirely alone, policies, bureaucracy, and laws be damned.In Come Barbarians, Male Protagonist is Christopher Kruse, a Canadian abroad in France with his wife and daughter. His wife works for the populist French political party. Kruse is a freelance investigator, assassin, and security trained in the IDF Art of Krav Maga. Tragedy strikes, and Kruse must suddenly investigate, pursue, capture, and torture his way through Very Bad Men to the truth and justice, all while being chased as a suspect in a murder for which he is framed. Come Barbarians is the first in what has recently become a series of books by Edmonton writer Todd Babiak. This kind of book seems to succeed if it grips the reader to its pages from cover to cover, turning in hot breathless anticipation without a break. By this measure, Come Barbarians is certainly a success. It's an exciting, fast-paced read. Babiak's language is spare and sentences are short. Not a word is wasted. I found it easy to connect to the character, and was immersed in the story. I enjoyed this book. It is definitely the best written of this kind of fiction that I've ever encountered. Babiak brought a certain literary depth to a genre often buried in pulp. There was an artfulness to the description of the use of kitchen utensils in torture. That said, it didn't leave me with a lot at the end. This just isn't my usual genre choice. I may pick up the recently published second book in the series one day as a nice diversion. I don't expect to be seeking it out. (EDIT: The evening after finishing this book and writing this article, I attended a reading and q&a with the author. Upon hearing his reading of the first page of his follow up to this book, Son of France, I have changed my mind and now very much expect to seek out and enjoy this sequel.)I highly recommend this book to readers of violent crime and suspense thrillers. Those who aren't into this genre will likely still find something to enjoy in this competently written Canadian action novel.

  • Dave Breakenride
    2019-03-26 23:38

    I would say it's more a 3.5 than a three. Entertaining.

  • Tania Gee
    2019-04-08 22:33

    Todd Babiak is an Edmonton author who quite clearly states that if you are in Edmonton and invite him to your book club discussion on his book, he will bring wine, homemade hummus, and himself to the discussion. Thus, this review will be not just of his book, but of the experience of book clubbing with this particular author in the room.I was pretty relieved to have really liked the book; always a little tricky to talk to the author about a book of theirs you didn't like. Come Barbarians is a taut, intelligent political thriller, with Bourne-esque action scenes, and a gripping main character to lead you through the intrigue. It takes place in the early '90s in France, and Babiak has clearly done, and enjoyed, his research on the politics of that time. The novel reveals, bit by bit, many of the political issues that have led to what is currently happening in France, and gives you a greater understanding of the powder keg that modern France has the potential to be both politically and culturally. While I think this book is not meant to be a "deep" read, as someone who does revere quite a bit of the "french" way of life (the books, the food, the conversation, the education system), it did get me thinking about the kind of closed mindedness and exclusion that can come with starting to believe that one way of life is better than others.If you're not into the politics, Come Barbarians will get you with the torture and the fight scenes, which are also very well researched. Having done several years of martial arts myself, I was very appreciative of how excellent the fight scenes were. I'm the type of girl who annoys the heck out of her partner when watching Game of Thrones as these big, tense scenes are happening and I'm all, "Hey, that use of a sickle as a combat weapon was almost right. Nice going GOT!" So, of course, I just had to ask how Babiak got his fight scenes so spot on, and it turns out he is a former martial arts instructor with many years behind his belt(s) *insert pun snort here*. But still, knowing how to fight and knowing how to write a fight are two separate things, and Babiak clearly knows how to do both. Knowing how to place a reader in the physical space, and getting them to see the action clearly, is a skill that I think is highly overlooked by many authors, and I greatly appreciated the skill level shown in this book.The last heaping of praise comes for the creation of Kruse. This guy is the character you want heading up a story like this, a former bodyguard of sorts, trying to live the good life, trying to be a good man. Emotionally, he is out of place in a world of violence and politics, but physically and mentally? He's the man for the job. Yes, he's a bit of a stereotype in this genre of novel (think a younger Liam Neeson in Taken), but he is a well-developed character that you can empathize with and be entertained by.*Sidenote about the book: you'll never look at a vegetable peeler the same way again.As for the book club itself, I was a little nervous. Not only would I be conversing with the author, but I would also be meeting most of the Edmonton Book Bloggers for the first time. In new social situations, I tend to blather nervously and apologize way too much. I won't deny that there was a little awkwardness at first, but the EBB were awesome (it was so great to finally meet in person), and Babiak's expertise in storytelling was on display, both in how he told stories himself, and in how he got other people around the table to tell their stories. He also signed my book with something sweet about Greenwoods'. Oh, and the wine and hummus he brought? The wine was excellent, but in all honesty, the hummus needed more garlic.

  • Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)
    2019-04-03 21:58

    There are certain books that I generally don’t ever buy — or read, really — because I know for a fact I’m not going to like them. Usually, it’s anything to do with politics (since my eyes tend to glaze over the details) or mysteries. Sometimes I’m okay with a mystery book, but that might be because of Sherlock Holmes. Regardless of the reasons, when I saw that local author Todd Babiak was releasing a new book, I knew I had to get my butt to the release party and grab a copy. One would think that I would catch that bit about the book being a “web of political ambition and violence” in the synopsis, but I was too damn in love with that cover. Anyway, when I started reading the book I felt slightly disappointed. With myself. It was very political and I felt my eyes glazing over, BUT this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the book. I’m sure there’s a part of me that didn’t quite get the book and what Todd was trying to do, but it was still a good read. I didn’t find myself feeling forced to read it (despite the fact that I picked it up to prepare for a book club that Laura was throwing, with Todd in attendance) and I didn’t find myself completely lost in the details (key word: completely). Instead I tried to lose myself in the scenery of France, picturing Kruse as a Matt Damon figure by my side, kicking butt the whole way.I understood the search for Kruse’s daughter, and the violence (though, really, Todd? A vegetable peeler?), and I loved the setting. When we got to the discussion of the book at the book club, I realized that a lot of it went over my head. Including the year the book took place. Apparently I’m terrible with details since I just assumed that the book took place at the present date because France just wasn’t like us, wrapped up in social media and whatnot. To me, it’s a foreign place which means it’s nothing like what we see in Canada — it’s almost old fashioned in its ways. Of course, my thoughts were wrong since the book took place in the 90’s, purposely set before social media comes into play.You see? While I enjoyed the book, I can’t say that I loved it, BUT I do plan on trying out more of Todd’s work. He really is a stand up guy and quite hilarious, if I do say so myself. In my eyes, he’s done the city proud with his work and I hope that he has more great hits to come. He did mention that he’s writing the sequel to this book and I will honestly say that I don’t intend to read it, but if French politics are your bag — or if you love politics in general — you will probably love the crap out of this book. Me, on the other hand, well, I’ll probably just continue to adore that cover and the book trailer and feel confident that this just wasn’t the Todd Babiak book for me. And you know what? That’s okay. He has a few other books that look pretty darn wonderful to read that I know will be the better books for me.

  • Chris Lytle
    2019-04-16 22:55

    Todd Babiak's thriller takes the reader on an intense, violent yet touching roller coaster ride through the cities, villages, history and politics of France. Our reluctant hero, Canadian Christopher Kruse, is a man with a very atypical past who is simply trying to find a new and simpler life in Southern France for his family. Within pages he is thrown into a bizarre and twisted world that would destroy most men. There is an honest sense of realism throughout this novel, as Kruse shares nuances of the sights and aromas of his ever-changing French backdrop. To add to this, Babiak employs a steady stream of consciousness for Kruse. He shares tidbits of both our hero's recent and far past, filling in the back story, sometimes as a short paragraph and often as a simple sentence. Initially I found this style slightly off-putting and perhaps even a little confusing. However, as I acclimatized, it made me appreciate that while superficially disorganized, it is actually how we all experience life. Similarly, the intense detail was often followed by gaps in the story. You have to really pay attention and maybe even read between the lines now and then. All told this is a tale that will keep you on your toes as well as glued to the action. Note: As with any good travel-based adventure, I like to keep Goggle Earth on hand to get an easy birds eye view of the where all the action is.

  • Jody Spencer
    2019-04-12 21:55

    I have to admit that I didn't read the synopsis before reading the book. It was selected as a book as part of our Bookies book club and I just went with it because Todd is a local author.The book quickly pulled me in with catchy glimpses at the character Kruse and a tragedy that has fallen upon his family. You are only given a few details to work with and then slowly pieces of the puzzles are introduced as you learn more about Kruse, his wife, and her interest in one of political parties of France.A really good showing. It's a pretty fast read with interesting characters. I can actually picture it as a movie so I hope someone snaps this up and makes it into on.

  • Jaima
    2019-04-01 22:43

    This book is not for the squeamish. One scene in particular I whizzed through with my hand over my mouth--anxious to finish it and terrified about what might come next. The characters were interesting, complicated people and the protagonist immediately won my sympathy. I found it a little harder than usual to get my bearings at the start of the book--perhaps an intentional mirroring of the protagonist's shattered state? I would read another book about Christopher Kruse. The back cover copy compared Come Barbarians to Le Carré. I thought it was much better. To me, it was more reminiscent of The Exception, by Christian Jungersen.

  • Kelly
    2019-03-27 22:36

    First, let me point out that this is a great book from an Edmonton author. Very cool. Way different from a previous book I read by this same author, this one starts with tragedy and takes us through a whirlwind, fairly graphic, seedy look at France, politics and intrigue. Another reviewer said, and I agree, just enough politics to make it interesting but not so much that I felt bogged down or over my head. I enjoyed the people, the relationship and the emotions of the main character. Definitely worth a read!

  • Joanne
    2019-03-21 17:52

    Christopher Kruse and wife and daughter are living in France when the daughter is killed by a drunk driver. He is known as Jean-Francois, a member of the Nat'l Front. When he and another are found murdered in their home, suspicion falls on Evelyn Kruse's wife believing it to be retaliation for the death of daughter Lily.Grisly scenes of torture; political; Jean Francois was drugged before getting begind the wheel of the car.Kruse is haunted by Lily's death and desperate to find Evelyn.At times confusing.Annette, Journalist, and her daughter Anouk.Good nevertheless.

  • Ed Mckeon
    2019-04-11 21:53

    With villains as ready-made as the French National Front, Christopher Kruse, a self-proclaimed protector can't seem to keep his own family safe. As he tries to pin responsibility for a horrific murder on a likely suspect, Cruse encounters crooked gendarmes, dreadful Corsican crime bosses, ruthless politicians and complicit journalists. It's not so much a question of whether he can avenge the wrongful death, as it is whether a novice French speaker can unweave the tangled threads he finds in a complex French society.

  • Cheryl Schenk
    2019-03-29 22:35

    Come Barbarians is not for the faint of heart. The subject matter takes us places, that in our own lives we can only hope never to go.The story takes place in France, where our protagonist is thrown into this mysterious turmoil and forced to fight through his pain while he seeks answers. I could not walk away from this story even though, at times, I really wanted to. I would definitely recommend this book be added to your reading list.

  • Tracy
    2019-03-24 20:36

    Okay, I give up. I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway over a year ago. I have tbeen trying to read it since then. I haven't even gotten past the first chapter. The storyline sounds interesting but I just can't read it without wishing that I was doing anything else. By the time I was able to figure out kind of the was happening, iI already was bored of the characters. I am going to keep it around. Maybe some other time I will be able to get at it

  • Angie Fehl
    2019-03-21 20:37

    The plot had several elements that normally intrigue me -- French setting, crime family, man risking all to protect his family -- and the writing was solid as far as the author's way of describing environments and such, but something about it was just too dry and stiff for me to get really invested in the story. Took too long for anything all that interesting to happen (the torture scenes were attention-grabbing, I admit, but hella graphic, so be ready!) and by then my interest was only so-so.

  • Emily
    2019-03-21 18:50

    my review should be taken with a grain of salt; I usually don't read books like this but I was compelled seems as though the author shares traits with the main character. the book comes off as cold and calculating with a slight touch of warmth...the desire this man feels is palatable. I would not be surprised if the author chose every word carefully over the period of many years.

  • Elizabetmarshall
    2019-04-01 23:57

    Several of my friends had a difficult time "getting into" this book and said that page 50 was the spot at which they become involved in the story. I liked the slow beginning that set the stage for the story. However, I did not like this book. For some reason that I can not put my finger on, the plot left me totally cold.

  • Goodryn Anne
    2019-04-09 22:43

    So I was skeptical when I read the comparisons to le Carre and Graham Greene. But also a little worried: Graham Greene can be a bit boring. Anyway, this is both beautifully written and heartbreaking and pretty damn thrilling too. No spoilers but one of the scenes in here, involving something from your kitchen and mine, is .... unforgettable. Awesome. Sequels?

  • Danielle
    2019-04-01 23:39

    Not really a detective story. Not really sure what genre this falls in other than "bone-crunching." Overall, I would have preferred less gory violence and more story. Nevertheless, Babiak can really write. I think I will check out his works in a different genre.

  • Shawna
    2019-04-02 01:38

    What I like most about this book is that my dad might actually enjoy it too. Vaguely reminiscent of the Bourne series. Only in France. And without the spy stuff. And better writing. Very vaguely. Them again it was only about 15 years ago that I read those. Huh.

  • Ammar
    2019-04-05 20:37

    Christopher Kruse a Canadian security expert who leaves Canada to the South of France. a humane protagonist, who does mistakes and understands his limitations. Not a boring. Would recommend it to anyone who enjoys political thrillers.

  • Luise
    2019-03-26 21:00

    Well written, but gloom upon doom, interrupted by the occasional blood bath. Way too dark and violent for February!

  • Simonne
    2019-04-12 00:37

    I liked this book. Found it a little slow and plodding at times but on the whole was a good thriller.

  • Mike
    2019-04-11 22:42

    Elements of a good story but the effect is mixed. I didn't care about the characters and the author fails to generate much tension or drama.

  • Claire
    2019-03-26 18:54

    I need to find a vegetable peeler like the one the villain in this novel has.

  • Meredith
    2019-03-27 18:51

    I enjoyed this book until about three-quarters through. The ending was a bit bizarre because of alliances that were made.