The Matarese Circle

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The Matarese Circle
Ludlum - The Matarese Circle Coverart.png
The Matarese Circle first edition cover.
Author Robert Ludlum
Country United States
Language English
Series The Matarese Dynasty
Genre Spy novel
Publisher Richard Marek
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 601 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0-399-90043-8
OCLC 4685151
LC Class PZ4.L9455 Mas PS3562.U26
Followed by The Matarese Countdown

The Matarese Circle (1979) is a novel by Robert Ludlum.


US Intelligence agent Brandon Scofield and Soviet KGB agent Vasili Taleniekov make their way through the obstacles and ravages of a cabal known as the Matarese. They find out that the Matarese has infiltrated the highest ranks of the society. They break the Matarese riddle and when they are on the verge of defeating the powerful conspiracy, Taleniekov and Antonia, a young and energetic woman whose love Scofield has sought, are kidnapped by the Matarese.

Fueled by the anger regarding the recent developments, Scofield decides to go after the Matarese himself and finds out that the consigliere of the Matarese include the next would-be President himself.

Scofield drives out the Matarese head, called as the Shepherd Boy and deals with him to let go Taleniekov and Antonia and he will in turn give in all the evidence that the Senator who was in line for the Presidency, was the son of the Shepherd Boy himself.

But nothing goes as Scofield planned and he finds out that the entire community of the heads America and Russia are members of the Matarese council, excluding the Presidents of the two countries.

Scofield kills everyone in the Matarese council and goes to the place where Antonia and Taleniekov are kidnapped. But Taleniekov denies all offers of running away and tells Scofield to run away with Antonia while he will take care of the rest as he cannot bear existence in a form where he cannot talk or move freely.

Taleniekov sacrifices himself by burning down the entire Matarese estate and Scofield runs away with Antonia. In the end, all is well and Scofield retires from his dangerous line of work to be a captain in his own ship with his wife, Antonia.

The story is followed by a 1997 sequel, The Matarese Countdown.

Real life references[edit]

In an introduction to the novel, Ludlum writes that he based the conspiracy on the Trilateral Commission.

The "Shepherd Boy" assassin character is based on Juan March Ordinas.

The title appears to have been inspired by a popular, now-gone steak restaurant named (Rocco) Matarese's Circle in Newington, Connecticut, about 10 miles from Wesleyan University, Ludlum's alma mater. The restaurant was in business when the novel was written and for many years before.[1]


  • Brandon Scofield — an intelligence officer who is Taleniekov's enemy but who ends up helping him in their efforts to find the truth
  • Vasili Taleniekov — the Soviet KGB agent who stumbles upon the web of political intrigue and public deceit that revolves around an elite group known only as the 'Matarese.'

Film adaptation[edit]

MGM and Relativity Media picked up the rights to Ludlum's novel for $3 million in 2008.[2] Writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas were signed to write the script, Denzel Washington was attached to star as Scofield and Tom Cruise was in negotiations to star as Taleniekov.[3]

The film adaptation, originally scheduled to be released in 2013, was derailed when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. Director David Cronenberg stated that he did not think the project would be resurrected [4]


  1. ^ for a historical reference to the restaurant.
  2. ^ Fleming, Michael (2008-04-04). "MGM spends big for Ludlum book". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  3. ^ "Tom Cruise & Denzel Washington To Face Off In Spy Thriller". Access Hollywood. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  4. ^ "Why The Matarese Circle Closed". IGN. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2014-05-2902.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)