Terry Hayes

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Terry Hayes (born 8 October 1951) is an English-born Australian screenwriter, producer and author.


I Am Pilgrim (2013)[edit]

All page numbers are from the trade paperback American first edition, published by Emily Bestler Books in November 2014, ISBN 978-1-4391-7773-0, 18th printing
Italics as in the book. Bold face added for emphasis.
  • I know this woman. We all do—the type anyway. You see them in the huge new Prada store in Milan, queuing outside the clubs in Soho, sipping skinny lattes in the hot cafés on the Avenue Montaigne—young women who mistake People magazine for news and a Japanese symbol on their backs as a sign of rebellion.
    • Part 1, Chapter 1 (p. 5)
  • Not everybody knows this—or cares probably—but the first law of forensic science is Locard’s Exchange Principle, and it says “Every contact between a perpetrator and a crime scene leaves a trace.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 6)
  • I’ve always been pretty much on the outside of any side you can find.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 9)
  • The killer had obviously grasped one important concept, a thing that eludes most people who decide on her line of work—nobody’s ever been arrested for a murder; they have only ever been arrested for not planning it properly.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 13)
  • Set amid rolling acres of lavender, the complex of seven luxurious homes, swimming pools and lavish stables was surrounded by a twelve-foot wall patrolled by what we believed to be Albanians armed with Skorpion machine pistols. This was strange, given that the family was in the wholesale florist business. Maybe flower theft was a bigger problem in northern Greece than most people realized.
    • Chapter 9 (pp. 34-35)
  • He came toward me and I realized I was being given the singular honor denied to so many dictators and mass murderers—I was going to be thrown out of a Swiss bank.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 38)
  • I have heard people say love is weak, but they’re wrong—love is strong. In nearly everyone it trumps all other things—patriotism and ambition, religion and upbringing. And of every kind of love—the epic and the small, the noble and the base—the one that a parent has for their child is the greatest of them all. That was the lesson I learned that day, and I’ll be forever grateful I did—some years later, deep in the ruins called the Theater of Death, it salvaged everything.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 39)
  • Edmund Burke said the problem with war is that it usually consumes the very things that you’re fighting for—justice, decency, humanity—and I couldn’t help but think of how many times I had violated our nation’s deepest values in order to protect them.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 49)
  • I had got up in the morning and, by the time I was ready for bed it was a different planet—the world doesn’t change in front of your eyes; it changes behind your back.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 53)
  • Crime intelligence reports from any police force in Europe would tell you that half of Albania was involved in the murder-for-hire business.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 60)
  • We will never know exactly what the zoologist was accused of or what defense he offered because Saudi judicial proceedings, conducted in secret, aren’t concerned with time consuming niceties like witnesses, lawyers, juries, or even evidence. The system relies entirely on signed confessions obtained by the police. It’s strange how methods of torture are one of the few things that cross all racial, religious, and cultural boundaries—poor militia in Rwanda who worship ghosts use pretty much the same methods as rich Catholics supervising state security in Columbia. As a result, the Muslim cops who took the zoologist into a cell in a Jeddah prison had nothing new to offer—just a heavy-duty truck battery with special clips for the genitals and nipples.
    • Part 2, Chapter 1 (p. 73)
  • Despite its huge wealth, vast oil reserves, and love of high-tech American ornaments, nothing really works in Saudi Arabia.
    • Chapter 3 (p. 83)
  • With each step his desperation grew—maybe every scrap of gossip he had heard, every assumption he had made added up to nothing more than a grand delusion. Like a fool, he had believed what he wanted to believe—
    • Chapter 19 (p. 155)
  • If only—but it has been my unfortunate experience that you can’t rely on divine intervention and that fate favors the bad as often as the good.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 160)
  • By this stage I had switched my patronage to AA—as Tolstoy might have said, drug addicts are all alike whereas every alcoholic is crazy in his own way. This led to far more interesting meetings and I had decided that if you were going to spend your life on the wagon, you might as well be entertained.
    • Chapter 24 (p. 171)
  • I mean, there’s no better alibi than being dead, is there?
    • Chapter 26 (p. 181)
  • Several guards and retainers exchanged a glance—Gaza was not somewhere to be taken lightly; it was probably the only place in the world that made Afghanistan look safe.
    • Chapter 32 (p. 206)
  • The Saracen approached them and lifted the woman’s robe in order to examine her more closely. Underneath, he saw that her cotton shirt was crumpled and ripped and her jeans had lost the buttons at the fly. He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to her on the trip—the outlaws who abducted her might have been devout Muslims but they were also men. Her tattered shirt barely covered her belly, and the Saracen, being a doctor, guessed from the sight of it that she was about four months pregnant. A different man—a less religious and a more humane man—might have been affected by it. But not the Saracen—the prisoners weren’t people to him, they were a gift from God.
    • Chapter 34 (pp. 208-209)
  • Apart from opium poppies and hemp plants, kidnappings for ransom had become about the only growth industry in Afghanistan.
    • Chapter 34 (p. 210)
  • In the Army, as in life, sometimes you had to create a crisis in order to get people’s attention.
    • Chapter 40 (p. 230)
  • The effectiveness of any operation is in inverse proportion to the number of people used.
    • Chapter 49 (pp. 252-253)
  • We’ve got one huge advantage—people believe what they see in databases. They’ve never learned the most important rule of cyberspace—computers don’t lie but liars can compute.
    • Chapter 51 (p. 255)
  • “A few years after the bonfire of the mob came for him and his family. Like he said, it’s always the same—they start out burning books and end up burning people. Out of his parents and five kids, he was the only survivor.
    “He passed through three camps in five years—all of them death camps, including Auschwitz. Because it was such a miracle he had survived, I asked him what he had learned.
    “He laughed. ‘Nothing you call original,’ he said. Death’s terrible, suffering’s worse, as usual the assholes made up the majority—on both sides of the wire.
    “Then he thought for a moment. There was one thing the experience had taught him. He said he’d learned that when millions of people, a whole political system, countless numbers of citizens who believed in God, said they were going to kill you—just listen to them.”
    Whisperer turned and looked at me. “So that’s what you meant, huh? You’ve been listening to the Muslim fundamentalists?”
    “Yes,” I replied. “I’ve heard bombs going off in our embassies, mobs screaming for blood, mullahs issuing death decrees, so-called leaders yelling for jihad. They’ve been burning books, Dave—the temperature of hate in parts of the Islamic world has gone out to Pluto. And I’ve been listening to them.”
    “And you don’t think we have—the people in Washington?” He said it without anger. I was at one time a leading intelligence agent and I think he genuinely wanted to know.
    “Maybe in your heads. Not in your gut.”
    • Part 3, Chapter 5 (p. 274)
  • Heavily armed men in uniform were everywhere, but there was nothing you could call genuine security: as usual, too many guns, not enough intelligence.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 293)
  • The old Nobel Laureate in Virginia had been right when he had asked if the greatest industrial nation in history actually produced goods and machinery anymore. Millions of jobs, along with most of the country’s manufacturing base, had been exported over the decades and a great deal of the nation’s safety disappeared with them.
    • Chapter 31 (p. 354)
  • I had been to Jeddah on my previous trip, so I knew it well enough. As somebody once said, there was only one thing to recommend it—say you wanted to commit suicide and couldn’t quite find the courage, two days in Jeddah would do the trick.
    • Part 4, Chapter 5 (p. 479)
  • I had read about it, of course, but I had never actually seen the machinery of a totalitarian state in full flight. For anyone who values privacy and freedom it’s a terrifying thing to behold.
    • Chapter 5 (p. 480)
  • “Twenty-five years ago he was executed.”
    It shocked me. “Executed?” I said. “For what?”
    The director scanned a couple of documents and found the one he was looking for. “The usual—corruption on earth.”
    “I’m sorry, but what exactly does ‘corruption on earth’ mean?”
    He laughed. “Pretty much whatever we want.” Nearly all of his team found it funny too. “In this case,” he continued, “it meant that he criticize the royal family and advocated its removal.”
    • Chapter 5 (p. 481)
  • DNA doesn’t lie.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 484)
  • Like the old virologist had said—sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 493)
  • “Not all death warrants are signed by judges or governors,” I explained. “This one was a prenup agreement.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 520)
  • I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty;
    I woke, and found that life was duty.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 538)
  • I went to open the front passenger’s door. It was locked and she indicated the rear seat. Apparently it was okay for a Muslim woman to lead a man to his death but not to share the front seat with him.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 538)
  • I wandered past the stacks of drying wood, thinking about how many great skills the world had lost, how many things of value had passed without any of us even noticing. The old men with their chisels and handsaws would have once been the most highly paid members of their community and what had we put in their place? Financial engineers and young currency traders.
    • Chapter 50 (p. 600)
  • “Then what happened?” I asked.
    “The Russian stopped calling, more important, the bills weren’t paid—I guess he either went broke or another oligarch had him killed.”
    Probably the latter, I thought. That was the way most business disputes were settled in Russia.
    • Chapter 50 (p. 601)

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