> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  12 May 2016

 

I Am Pilgrim book club notes

Reading group discussion points for I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Australian author Terry Hayes brushed shoulders with the likes of Dan Brown and JK Rowling when his book, I Am Pilgrim, debuted at #4 on the UK Sunday Times list in August 2013. Take a look at our reading group questions and get the conversation started at your next book club meeting.
 

Reading Group Questions

  • Pilgrim, perhaps the best intelligence agent in the world, has lived under scores of aliases. Scott Murdoch is the name he goes by in the real world, although that his not his real identity either. The man he chases is called the Saracen and he, too, has lived and travelled under an assumed name. Both men, in a way, are ghosts. They are also loners, trained as doctors, driven by their past, committed to their mission and ruthless in their pursuit of it. To what extent are they - the hero and anti-hero - the two sides of the same coin?
  • Woven through the book is a Zen story which Pilgrim was told by a Buddhist monk. ‘If you want to be free, all you have to do is let go.’ Is this the major theme of the novel? Is this really Scott Murdoch's pilgrimage?
  • There are two major threads to the novel - a murder investigation and the hunt for a terrorist planning a catastrophic attack on the West. Were they both necessary to show Pilgrim's skill and character?
  • Ben Bradley was introduced as part of the murder investigation - how necessary was this New York homicide detective to defeating the Saracen?
  • As a child the Saracen comes within moments of witnessing the public beheading of his father. When Pilgrim was very young he was in the apartment in Detroit when his mother was murdered. Both men are deeply wounded. Do you think it is true that the 'child becomes the man'? In what measure are their future characters and actions determined by these events?
  • At the heart of the novel is a moral question - is it permissible to do evil in order that good may result? Among other things, he has ordered extra-judicial killings on Santorini, he has killed a man in Red Square, organized for a banker's daughter to be held hostage, and visited a terrible act upon a child with Down syndrome. Has Pilgrim betrayed the values of his own country - of the Western ideals of justice and humanity - in order to protect them?
  • A great deal of the plot deals with Islamic fundamentalism. It also uses many Muslim countries as locations as the clock ticks down and the chase becomes ever more urgent. Do you think the novel's portrayal of Islam and life in Muslim countries is fair?

I Am Pilgrim Terry Hayes

When your past comes calling, it’s time to disappear . . .

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Book clubs
Fragile Monsters book club notes

Sweep your book club off to Malaysia with this spellbinding novel of war and family betrayal.

Book clubs
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot book club notes

A tale of extraordinary friendship and a lifetime of stories to share with your book club pals.

Book clubs
Thursday Murder Club book club notes

A classic whodunit for the most perceptive reading groups.

Book clubs
A Promised Land book club notes

Settle in for a memorable reading group discussion, with Barack Obama’s long-awaited memoirs: A Promised Land.

Book clubs
The Champagne War book club notes

Sweep your book club off to the sun-kissed vineyards of rural France.

Book clubs
The Silence of Snow book club conversation starters

Eileen Merriman, author of The Silence of Snow, has provided some background information on her latest book along with some discussion points for your book club meeting! 

Book clubs
The Tally Stick book club conversation starters

Carl Nixon shares some discussion points and questions for his new book The Tally Stick in this book club guide.

Book clubs
Shakti book club conversation starters

Rajorshi Chakraborti shares discussion points, ideas and questions for his new book Shakti in this book club guide. Special powers are gifted, but there is a Faustian price to pay in this epic novel, packed with laughter, darkness, pain, dreams, superpowers, love and light.

Book clubs
Scented - book club guide

Laurence Fearnley shares her process for writing Scented along with discussion points, ideas and questions for your next book club meeting. 

Book clubs
Caging Skies - book club guide

Christine Leunens shares discussion points, ideas and questions for her book Caging Skies in this book club guide. Caging Skies is a gripping, atmospheric novel about obsession and love.

Book clubs
The Secrets We Kept book club notes

Two female spies, a banned masterpiece, a book that changed history... The Secrets We Kept is perfect for book club.

Book clubs
Moonlight Sonata - book club guide

Eileen Merriman shares discussion points, ideas and questions for Moonlight Sonata - Book Club Guide. Moonlight Sonata is Eileen Merriman's first adult book, it is a bitter-sweet novel of forbidden love and family secrets. Some secrets should never be told... will the truth be revealed? 

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes