Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.
For N.D.P., who came down to Earth in order to show us the path of the Good Fight
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
luke 12 : 22–27
Whoever you are holding me now in hand, Without one thing all will be useless, I give you fair warning before you attempt me further, I am not what you supposed, but far different. Who is he that would become my follower? Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections? The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive, You would have to give up all else, I alone would expect to be your sole and exclusive standard, Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting, The whole past theory of your life and all conformity to the lives around you would have to be abandon’ d, Therefore release me now before troubling yourself any further, let go your hand from my shoulders, Put me down and depart on your way.
walt whitman, Leaves of Grass
Epigraph Foreword Begin Reading Acknowledgments About the Author Other Books by Paulo Coelho Credits Cover Copyright About the Publisher iv viii 1
One of the recurrent themes in my books is the importance of paying a price for your dreams. But to what extent can our dreams be manipulated? For the past few decades, we have lived in a culture that privileged fame, money, power—and most people were led to believe that these were the real values that they were to pursue. What we don’t know is that, behind the scenes, the real manipulators remain anonymous. They understand that the most effective power is the one that nobody can notice—until it is too late, and you are trapped. The Winner Stands Alone is about this trap. In this book, three of the four main characters face this ordeal: Igor, a Russian millionaire, who believes that he can kill if he has a good reason for it—such as avoiding human suffering, or bringing back the attention of the woman he loves. Hamid, a fashion magnate, who starts with good intentions, until he gets caught up by the very system he was trying to use. Gabriela, who—like most people today—is convinced that fame is an end in and of itself, the supreme reward in a world that praises celebrity as the highest achievement in life. With these characters in mind, I wrote The Winner Stands Alone — not a thriller, but a crude portrait of where we are now.
3:17 A M
The Beretta Px4 compact pistol is slightly larger than a mobile phone, weighs around seven hundred grams, and can ﬁre ten shots. It is small, light, invisible when carried in a pocket, and its small caliber has one enormous advantage: instead of passing through the victim’s body, the bullet hits bones and smashes everything in its path. Obviously, the chances of surviving a shot of that caliber are fairly high; there are thousands of cases in which no vital artery was severed and the victim had time to react and disarm his attacker. However, if the person ﬁring the pistol is experienced enough, he can opt either for a quick death—by aiming at the point between the eyes or at the heart—or for a slower one—by placing the barrel at a certain angle close to the ribs and squeezing the...