The Ghost

Robert Harris, Author
Robert Harris, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (335p) ISBN 978-1416551812
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-09-179625-9
Compact Disc - 9 pages - 978-0-7435-6962-0
Hardcover - 468 pages - 978-1-4056-1983-7
Hardcover - 468 pages - 978-1-4056-1982-0
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The Ghost Robert Harris . Simon & Schuster , $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1416551812

Displaying enviable versatility, Harris, who first achieved acclaim with his alternative history, Fatherland , and who more recently showed his mastery of the historical novel in Pompeii , hits one out of the park with this dark paranoid thriller. Former British prime minister Adam Lang (clearly modeled on Tony Blair) is up against a firm deadline to submit his memoirs to his publisher, and the project is dangerously derailed when his aide and collaborator, Michael McAra, perishes in a ferry accident off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. To salvage the book, a professional ghostwriter is hired to whip the manuscript into shape, but the unnamed writer soon finds that separating truth from fiction in Lang's recollections a challenge. The stakes rise when Lang is accused of war crimes for authorizing the abduction of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, who then ended up in the CIA's merciless hands. As the new writer probes deeper, he uncovers evidence that his predecessor's death may have been a homicide. Harris nicely leavens his cynical tale with gallows humor, and even readers who anticipate the plot's final twist will admire the author's artistry in creating an intelligent page-turner that tackles serious issues. (Oct.)

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