The Ghost Mass Market Paperback – Aug 19 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Displaying enviable versatility, Harris, who first achieved acclaim with his alternative history, Fatherland, and who more recently showed his mastery of the historical novel in Pompeii, hits one out of the park with this dark paranoid thriller. Former British prime minister Adam Lang (clearly modelled on Tony Blair) is up against a firm deadline to submit his memoirs to his publisher, and the project is dangerously derailed when his aide and collaborator, Michael McAra, perishes in a ferry accident off the coast of Marthas Vineyard. To salvage the book, a professional ghostwriter is hired to whip the manuscript into shape, but the unnamed writer soon finds that separating truth from fiction in Langs recollections a challenge. The stakes rise when Lang is accused of war crimes for authorizing the abduction of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, who then ended up in the CIAs merciless hands. As the new writer probes deeper, he uncovers evidence that his predecessors death may have been a homicide. Harris nicely leavens his cynical tale with gallows humor, and even readers who anticipate the plots final twist will admire the authors artistry in creating an intelligent page-turner that tackles serious issues. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Packed with seduction, power and manipulation. . . .”
“The Ghost has got the goods.”
—Stephen King --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For fear of spoiling the story one can only ask: why do democratically elected leaders take one after the other unpopular decisions? Who are they trying to please if (clearly) not the people that put them into office? Why even socialist/democratic/leftist parties once elected follow in the footsteps of the right-wing hawks they overthrew by popular demand?
As a piece of word-craft I found it not at par with HARRIS' previous work. As a novel of political possibility though I found it brilliant! It happens all the time in third world countries, why not in the central republics? After all, greed and ambitions are universal.
Natural Law, Science, and the Social Construction of Reality
I don't have too much to add to the other reviews but since I enjoyed the book so much I wanted to add my two cents worth.
Yes, it is obvious the Prime Minister is based on Tony Blair, the right wing labor man. But, for me, that was not the heart of the story, for it could have been any recent world leader who got caught up in the sphere of American foreign policy.
The British ex PM is on an island off New England in the winter where he has complete solitude. The security is also strong. The long time aide of the pm, who was writing the book, is found dead and so a new ghost writer has to be hired. This death leads to an interesting development later in the book.
We learn a lot about this writer, his girl friend, his life in London, and his pushy agent who gets him the job. The money is fantastic, and though even contemplating working for this ex pm leads to his girl breaking up with him, he flies off to the States to get to work.
The memoirs themselves are not important, but in researching background, especially in the dead man's files, interesting things come up, which contradict the story the ex pm is telling. But as a ghost writer, he knows that the details may not be important, the story that the author wants to tell is what is important.
And then the bombshell hits. A former cabinet minister and friend of the ex pm lets out very damaging information that could lead to criminal prosecution.Read more ›
1. The story involves a former British PM hiring a ghost writer to complete his memoirs by a certain day. The reader does not have to guess that the PM in question is none other than Tony Blair trying to get on the record before new revelations come to light over his sanctioning of torture of Al Qaeda prisoners. Right from the outset, the reader knows that the bases for this narrative is based on an actual historical chain of events involving real people;
2. The triggering event in the novel is the mysterious death of the PM's earlier ghostwriter. His replacement, the narrator of the story, steps in to to complete the writing do his own sluething while he quietly goes about probing for answers while guiding the lengthy memoir to its conclusion;
3. The story continues to mount in intensity as murders and disappearances pile up in conjunction with the ongoing investigation of McAra's death. It is during this time that the Hague Court charges the former PM with war crimes. This causes the ghost writer to begin questioning the evidence as to how it will all fit into his compiling of the story;
4.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book provides an unexpected access to the intimacy of a former British Prime Minister. The aloofness, the mystery and the force of power is described masterfully. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jean-Guy Rens
The Ghost is a study of the distinction between unnatural paranoia and calculated manipulation, distortions so odd as to ring true. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Eleanor Cowan
Definitely a great read. I've read other books by Robert Harris including Fatherland and Conspirarta (aka Imperium) which I also enjoyed. Read morePublished 14 months ago by drew
An extremely well written book. The plot keeps your attention right to the end but the climax is a letdown.Published 21 months ago by R. Burgess
Without any doubt, Robert Harris is presently my favourite fiction author.
His novels read as I imagine an Aston Martin drives: authentic power, ingenuity and beauty in... Read more
"The Ghost" is a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter who stumbles across many secrets while working on a project: finishing up the memoirs of Britain's former Prime Minister, Adam Lang. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2011 by ELI (Italy)