From the bestselling author of Fatherland and Imperium comes The Ghost, an extraordinarily auspicious thriller of power, politics, corruption, and murder. Dashing, captivating Adam Lang was Britain's longest serving -- and most controversial -- prime minister of the last half century, whose career ended in tatters after he sided with America in an unpopular war on terror. Now, after stepping down in disgrace, Lang is hiding out in wintry Martha's Vineyard to finish his much sought-after, potentially explosive memoir, for which he accepted one of history's largest cash advances. But the project runs aground when his ghostwriter suddenly and mysteriously disappears and later washes up, dead, on the island's deserted shore.
Enter our hero -- Lang's new ghostwriter -- cynical, mercenary, and quick with a line of deadpan humor. Accustomed to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities, he jumps at the chance to be the new ghost of Adam Lang's memoirs, especially as it means a big payday. At once he flies to Lang's remote location in America to finish the book in the seclusion of a luxurious estate, but it doesn't take him long to realize he has made a fatal error in judgment.
The state of affairs is grim enough when the ghost begins to unearth the bone-chilling circumstances of his predecessor's death. And before long, he discovers that the ex-prime minister is not just a charismatic politician who made a few mistakes. He's a dark, tortured man with haunting secrets in his past -- secrets with the power to alter world politics. Secrets with the power to kill.
Robert Harris is known the world over as a master of his trade. The Ghost is yet another signature, brilliant tour de force that will compel, captivate, and excite readers to the very last shocking page.
The story, set in the modern age of terrorism, is slow-paced, yet learning along with the narrator piques our interest, and Harris's simple yet engaging prose marked with occasional wry humor keeps things moving along. Still, it's not until the final third of the book that the pace really picks up. There are only a couple of major plot twists, and they're almost predictable for those of us who are paying close attention. (Reviewed by Lisa A. Goldstein).
The New York Times - Jonathan Freedland
The plot is unfussy and perhaps too linear for those thriller readers fond of pyrotechnics, but it unfolds with clarity and panache—and with a classy twist on the very last page. Unusually for the genre, the novel is also nicely lubricated with humor.
The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson
Harris has managed to write a superior entertainment that is also an angry portrait of today's political reality.
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.
The Times - Rod Liddle
This, then, is the plot of the ghost’s thriller. Who was it controlling our husk of a prime minister; who persuaded him that it was a good idea to serve American interests at the expense of our own and receive – as the waspish former foreign secretary points out – nothing whatsoever in return, ever? Harris handles it all with some elan and subtlety, if you’re a fan of the genre.
Scotland on Sunday
Harris has such renown as a thriller writer it can be easy to forget his earlier life at the heart of the political establishment. He is a friend of Peter Mandelson and a former political editor of the Observer who was an enthusiast for Blair's New Labour project as it came together to sweep away a generation of Conservative rule in 1997. Ten years on, Harris writes with all the venom of a disappointed lover .... The Ghost allows Harris to take his revenge, to give people he hates their comeuppance.
Daily Telegraph - Nicholas Blincoe
Robert Harris's latest thriller is more than a fun read: it is a super-duper, double fun bag-sized read thanks to his masterful plotting. No, not the story of a ghostwriter caught within the machinations of politician-spies, although Harris handles the espionage element very well ..... The larger question, though, is: does the novel work? It is absolutely splendid fun in its peculiar and deviously intertextual way. The bed-hopping aside, Cherie Blair feels especially well captured (even if one wonders quite why Harris dislikes her so much).
The Guardian - Colin Greenland
While the novel owes its existence, its composition in, apparently, five white-hot months, to Harris's anger at Blair and his administration, the fierce heart of the plot - the great revelation, and the crucial twist in the tail of it - are an imaginative impertinence, an accusation no one could make or take literally. The Ghost is, finally, not about Blair; though it remains an indictment of everything he did and stood for. It's also, and most vitally, intelligent, perceptive and enormous fun.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Beverly, California The Ghost by Robert Harris I was stunned to see this book's rating. It is one of the best books I have read in months. The writing is deceptively simple and deft....similar to Graham Greene's style.
The "Ghost" is an English ghostwriter of "has-been" celebrity... Read More
Mirroring Adam Lang,
Tony Blair stepped down as
Prime Minister of the UK in
June 2007. One of the
hallmarks of his decade-long
term was his close
relationship with the United
States. His decision to ally
with the U.S. to fight
terrorism cost him
In 2007, Blair sold his
memoir for an advance of £5
million (~$10m). In The
Ghost, Adam Lang is
given $10 million. Talk
about a case of life
imitating art! Blair's book
was bought by Random House
(Alfred A. Knopf in the
United States and Canada,
and Hutchinson in Britain)
and won't be
published for a few years,
by which time a slew of
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...