Adam Lang was Britain's longest serving prime minister of the last half century. Retiring to Martha's Vinyard to write his memoirs, his ghostwriter suddenly and mysteriously washes up, dead. Enter our hero -- Lang's new ghostwriter; and it doesn't take him long to realize he has made a fatal error in judgment, as he begins to unearth the circumstances of his predecessor's death.
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.
Of all the advantages that ghosting offers, one of the
greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet
people of interest.
THE MOMENT I HEARD how McAra died, I should have walked away. I can see that now. I should have said, "Rick, I'm sorry, this isn't for me, I don't like the sound of it," finished my drink, and left. But he was such a good storyteller, Rick -- I often thought he should have been the writer and I the literary agent -- that once he'd started talking there was never any question I wouldn't listen, and by the time he had finished, I was hooked.
The story, as Rick told it to me over lunch that day, went like this: McAra had caught the last ferry from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to Martha's Vineyard two Sundays earlier. I worked out afterward it must have been January the twelfth. It was touch-and-go whether the ferry would sail at all. A gale had been blowing since midafternoon and the last few crossings had...
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).
Full Review (387 words).
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