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The Ghost Writer [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert Harris
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.12 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Mass Market Paperback, March 23 2010 CDN $9.12  
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Book Description

March 23 2010
The role of a ghostwriter is to make his client look good, not to uncover the truth. But what happens when the client is a major political figure, and the truth could change the course of history?

Adam Lang, the controversial former prime minister of Britain, is writing his memoirs. But his first ghostwriter dies under shocking circumstances, and his replacement—whose experience lies in portraying aging rock stars and film idols—knows little about Lang’s inner circle. Flown to join Lang in a secure house on the remote shores of Martha’s Vineyard in the depths of winter, cut off from everyone and everything he knows, he comes to realize he should never have taken the job.

It’s not just his predecessor’s mysterious death that haunts him, but Adam Lang himself. Deep in Lang’s past are buried shocking secrets . . . secrets with the power to alter world politics . . . secrets with the power to kill.

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Product Description

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 Martha’s 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 Lang’s 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 CIA’s merciless hands. As the new writer probes deeper, he uncovers evidence that his predecessor’s death may have been a homicide. 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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Packed with seduction, power and manipulation. . . .”
—USA Today

“The Ghost has got the goods.”
—Stephen King

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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
the former PM and his entourage, his political adventures and disasters, and so on and so forth. But the way Harris narrates his story is enticing and thrilling, issuing suspense right and left with a skilled hand: the ambience is right, the dialogue fits, the main characters tally, the spinning is familiar and the cynicism is sharp. I enjoyed the book in a single reading, and I think I'll go back to it with more attention to detail, since it seems to me this is a super parody of Blair and his retinue, and of the publishing world from which the author extracts true images surely derived from real experience. Also, if you missed reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates, go and read it. I'm reading it at a rapid pace because it's so addictive. There is something about his books that bring you in and get you hooked. and I'm loving this one. Highly Recommend!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INVOKING THE GHOST OF LABOR WASTED July 15 2008
After a number of historic-fiction masterpieces, ROBERT HARRIS came back with a novel that, although a work of fiction, cuts too close to the bone for comfort. In a thinly veiled reference to the Prime Ministry of Tony Blair, a number of troublesome issues are raised.

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.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Beware! July 9 2009
By Bernie Koenig TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Art Matters: The Art of Knowledge/The Knowledge of Art
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes as much sense as read life Dec 5 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ghost has multiple meanings in this story to the point of becoming obvious and overdone. Nevertheless, Mr. Harris provides an excellent read that never becomes obvious or over-written. Ghost is a reference to the occupation of the main character, a ghost-writer hired to complete the work of another ghost-writer who had been ghosting a memoir of the ex-Prime Minister of Britain, Adam Lang just retired after leading his country into a losing war in a mid-east country with, the United States and, like Tony Blair, no one knows his motivation. And so, may I introduce Robert Harris whose novel provides an explanation that makes more sense than real life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Be Known! March 22 2010
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In "The Ghost" the popular writer, Robert Harris, takes his reader through a suspenseful and chilling tale of political intrigue, international war crimes, shady characters, conspiracy plots and moments of raw courage. This novel has some appealing features that recommend it as a good solid read for those of us who need to see the geopolitical problems of this world in a different light. Here are ten aspects of this blockbuster story that might catch your eye in this work that achieves a nice balance of fact and fiction, real and the unreal, and innocence and betrayal:
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;
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