The Lawgiver

Herman Wouk. Simon and Schuster, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4516-9938-8
Moses, star of the Hebrew Bible; major figure in the New Testament and the Qur’an; played on screen by Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, and Val Kilmer; now the inspiration for both Wouk’s novel and the big-budget movie production it chronicles. At 97, Wouk (Marjorie Morningstar; The Winds of War) has created a tale that, for all its modern trappings (it’s told in e-mails, faxes, and transcripts, and relies on the movements of the very rich and the very Hollywood), is essentially old-fashioned. This is not a bad thing: after an exposition-heavy start that sets up an Australian billionaire intent on financing a film about the Lawgiver, various screenwriters, producers, actors, lawyers, and even scientists with various agendas; Hollywood wunderkind and lapsed Jew Margo Solovei, who learned Moses’s story from her rabbi father; and Wouk playing himself, the novel comes into its own as a suspenseful narrative that asks fundamental questions: is Moses still relevant? Can this movie get made? Will true love prevail? The answers will not necessarily surprise, but getting to them is a fun ride, and though the epilogue, an address from Wouk, has the feel of a vanity project, in creating a contemporary version of Marjorie Morningstar, Wouk the author has made something old, and something very old, new again. Agent: Amy Rennert. (Nov. 13)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4516-9940-1
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-1-4711-1256-0
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-1-4423-5720-4
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4711-1257-7
Paperback - 978-1-4711-1255-3
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4423-5721-1
Library Binding - 303 pages - 978-1-61173-649-6
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-4516-9939-5
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-4711-1254-6
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