> Skip to content

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

Pilgrim was the codename for a world class and legendary secret agent. The adopted son of a wealthy New York family, he was once head of a secret internal affairs force for US intelligence and held the title ‘Rider of the Blue’. He wrote the definitive book on forensic investigation before disappearing into an anonymous retirement, taking the secrets of the Rider of the Blue with him.

A murder in New York: the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features have been ripped from her face, her teeth are missing, her fingerprints gone. The rooms has been sprayed with DNA-eradictaing spray. Someone has seemingly committed the perfect crime using the techniques outlined in Pilgrim’s book.

A terrorist, known only as The Arab, was radicalised when, as a young boy, he witnessed the beheading of his father in a public square in Saudi Arabia. He has dedicated his life to destroying the special relationship between the Kingdom and the United States. He learnt his trade fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, and now from hiding in Germany plots a terrible act of mass murder.

When NYPD detective Ben Bradley tracks down Pilgrim, neither man can imagine the terrifying journey they are about to begin, as what begins as an unusual and challenging murder investigation leads them into a direct collision course with the dark forces of jihadist terrorism.


The best thriller I've read in ten years... An astonishing piece of work

Linwood Barclay

THRILLER OF THE WEEK. Delivers thrills and spills...A full tilt mix of Homeland, The Wire and The Bourne Ultimatum

Mail on Sunday

I Am Pilgrim is a 21st century thriller: a high concept plot, but with finely drawn protagonists. The plot twists and turns like a python in a sack. The style is visceral, gritty and cinematic...A satisfying and ambitious book, written with skill and verve

Adam LeBor, The Times

Rendition yourself into a pulsating thriller that never lets up as it carries the hero and the reader on an ever more desperate race between time and an all too plausible disaster for the world we live in. Great nail-biting stuff!

Robert Goddard

The narrative is thrilling: the tension tightens with action...It's a murder mystery, an illuminating account of contemporary international politics and a study of an unusual man......An excellent thriller which as a first novel is really remarkable

Literary Review

I Am Pilgrim takes the modern spy novel and pushes it screaming and kicking into the twentieth-first century. With a stunning sense of plot, beautifully detailed writing, huge ambition and even huger talent, Hayes has produced one of the most memorable novels of recent times. This is a frightening, pulse-pounding journey into the future of terrorism and the brave new world we’ve been ushered into. Amazingly assured and complex, this is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read

Stav Sherez

Clever and compulsive - the best thriller in years

Deidre O'Brien, Sunday Mirror

Terry Hayes' I AM PILGRIM delivers smart, compelling and wildly inventive storytelling, told on an ambitious scale with total command. A masterful novel and a terrific read

Chris Ewan

Massive in many senses, but none more so than its ability to exert a vice-like grip on the reader....Destined to be spy thriller of the year

Irish Independent

As relevant as today's headlines. A scary trip through the shadowy world of international espionage. Just hope that Pilgrim is on our side. Terrific. No, on second thoughts, better than terrific

Mark Timlin

THRILLER OF THE MONTH - If the gizmos and bad guys of James Bond and Jason Bourne are a guilty pleasure, you'll love I Am Pilgrim

Good Housekeeping

Fast-paced, slick and full of suspense...It will be the only thriller you need to read this year

Yorkshire Post

A rollicking, yet thoughtful spy thriller which looks set to become a summer blockbuster... [I Am Pilgrim] has plenty of action, but at its heart the drama is cerebral and rich in character, a battle of wills and intellect which is more George Smiley than Jason Bourne

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller

[Terry Hayes’] debut novel has been hyped as "the only thriller you need to read this year", and for once that isn't nonsense. I Am Pilgrim makes moussaka of its rivals

John O’Connell, Guardian

I Am Pilgrim is going to be big

Simon Mayo

I Am Pilgrim is a satisfying and ambitious book, written with skill and verve

The Times

Worthy of the hype ****

Sunday Mirror

I Am Pilgrim is a fresh new take on the genre...and it’s one you won’t regret picking up

David Baldacci

[I Am Pilgrim] has been a fantastic read: a big, solid, chunky, fast-paced, rip-roaring thriller, the love child of a manic union between Jack Reacher and James Bond.


Mr. Hayes’s globe-trotting book has more kicks, twists and winks than anything of its dusty genre has provided in a long time. You will be happily surprised to find a new thriller franchise with brains to match its brawn

Janet Maslin, New York Times

Written in a heart-stopping pace, this literary thriller lands somewhere between Homeland and Breaking Bad and then transports you to a different level. It is part spy novel, part psychological thriller. Twists and turns. Emotionally complex characters. Relevant geopolitical issues.

Monica Lewinsky, Wall Street Journal

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 1, 2014


    912 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    July 18, 2013

    Transworld Digital

    704 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ
Book Clubs
I Am Pilgrim Book Club Notes

Reading group discussion points for I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Also by Terry Hayes