Summary and book reviews of Eclipse by Richard North Patterson

Eclipse
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 560 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

The spellbinding story of an American lawyer who takes on a nearly impossible case—the defense of an African freedom fighter against his corrupt government’s charge of murder

Damon Pierce’s life has just reached a defining moment: a gifted California lawyer, he’s being divorced by his wife and his work often seems soulless. Then he receives a frantic e-mail from Marissa Brand Okari—a woman he loved years ago—and decides to risk everything to respond to her plea for help.

Marissa’s husband, Bobby Okari, is the charismatic leader of a freedom movement in the volatile west African nation of Luandia, which is being torn apart by the world’s craving for its vast supply of oil. Bobby’s outspoken opposition to the exploitation of his homeland by PetroGlobal—a giant American oil company with close ties to Luandia’s brutal government—has enraged General Savior Karama, the country’s autocratic ruler. After Bobby leads a protest rally during a full eclipse of the sun, everyone in his home village is massacred by government troops. And now Bobby has been arrested and charged with the murder of three PetroGlobal workers. Still drawn to Marissa, Pierce agrees to defend Bobby, hoping to save both Bobby and Marissa from almost certain death.  But the lethal politics of Luandia may cost Pierce his life instead.

Culminating in a dramatic show trial and a desperate race against time, Eclipse combines a thrilling narrative with a vivid look at the human cost of the global lust for oil. Here is Richard North Patterson at his compelling best, confirming his place as our most provocative author of popular fiction.

PROLOGUE
The Devil’s Light

In a West African village, Marissa Brand Okari watched her husband prepare to risk his life for the act of speaking out.

It was night. Hundreds of villagers, old and young, gathered in the center of town, their faces illuminated less by moonlight than by the huge orange flame that spewed out of the vertical stem thrusting from an oil pipeline. Torchlike, the stem backlit the line of palms behind the village, its thick residue of smoke blackening the air, its roar a constant ominous presence. Every day in the life of any villager under thirty, this terrible eruption - the flaring of gas from the oil extracted by PetroGlobal Luandia from beneath the deep- red clay - had never ceased, its searing, poisonous heat denuding trees, killing birds and animals, and turning the rainfall to acid, which corroded the roofs that sheltered the people’s thatched homes.

The "devil’s light," Bobby Okari called it. Now his people, the Asari, bore him on their ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Simplicity is something to which Patterson never succumbs, even though at times it might feel a blessing. But in the cosmos of Eclipse there are almost more strata of complex desire, motivation and intention than it is possible to track. And each desire, motivation and intention eclipses something else until no character is able to see things plainly. It is what sets a Richard North Patterson thriller apart from its competitors on bookstore shelves and keeps him hitting the New York Times bestseller list.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Full Review Members Only (732 words).

Media Reviews

Washington Post

He brings his knowledge to the book with a sense of urgency far beyond the plot at hand, depicting complex legal issues and the larger geopolitical situation with authority and clarity.

Kirkus Reviews

A satisfying fable that pits a hero who deeply believes in the rule of law against a violent, lawless regime that holds all the cards.

Library Journal

Patterson once again brings a timely, controversial subject - America's dependence on foreign oil - to the forefront in this troubling yet engrossing read. Highly recommended.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Patterson has exerted all his considerable skill in creating a nightmare atmosphere that will cling to readers long after the last page is turned.

Reader Reviews

Maren

Compelling, Intelligent, Informative--Excellent
Always a Richard North Patterson fan, I never-the-less reached a new level of respect--and yes, awe--for the author after reading this powerful and disturbing novel about an African freedom fighter, Bobby Okari, caught between the corrupt forces of ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Ken Saro-Wiwa

In his acknowledgments, Richard North Patterson confirms that Eclipse is loosely based on the life and death of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995.

Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995) was born Kenule Benson Tsaro-Wiwa in Bori, Rivers State (a coastal state in the south of Nigeria, map).  He was the son of Jim Beesom Wiwa, a businessman and community chief of the Ogoni people, an ethnic minority whose homelands have been targeted for oil extraction since the 1950s.  The Ogoni are one of the many indigenous people of the Niger Delta region. Their 404-square-mile homeland, known as Ogoniland, is located in Rivers State on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea and is home to about half a ...

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