Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Ghost

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The Ghost

by Robert Harris

The Ghost by Robert Harris
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2007, 335 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2008, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa A. Goldstein

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Beyond the Book

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Did you know?

  • 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 politically.

  • 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 unofficial biographies will have come and gone, including the 600 page Blair Unbound by Anthony Seldon (Nov 2007 in the UK, April 2008 in the USA), which follows Seldon's earlier 700 page tome, Blair.

  • According to an interview with The Guardian, the central idea of The Ghost came to Robert Harris years ago but he couldn't make it work until the summer of 2006 and Israel's war in Lebanon. As Harris says in his interview, "Coming on top of the crazy decision to attack Iraq, it just seemed the ultimate example of a complete collapse of independent British foreign policy... Without getting into the whole detail of the issue, we should at least have been a bit more even-handed about the whole thing. And I think that that did Blair terrible damage. At that point I think he was doomed, really." Harris was so angry about the situation that he wrote the novel in five months. For more about the War in Lebanon see the sidebar for De Niro's Game).

Coming Soon: Conspiracy (possible Conspirata) in which Harris continues the story of Ancient Rome and Marcus Cicero, started in Imperium - no official publication date as yet, but slated for 2009.

This article was originally published in November 2007, and has been updated for the August 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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