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The Testament Hardcover – Feb 2 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Feb. 2 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385493800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385493802
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,061 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #439,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Troy Phelan, a 78-year-old eccentric and the 10th-richest man in America, is about to read his last will and testament, divvying up an estate worth $11 billion. Phelan's three ex-wives, their grasping spawn, a legion of lawyers, several psychiatrists, and a plethora of sound technicians wait breathlessly, all eyes glued to digital monitors as they watch the old man read his verdict. But Phelan shocks everyone with a bizarre, last-gasp attempt to redistribute the spoils, setting in motion a legal morality tale of a contested will, sin, and redemption.

Our hero, Nate O'Riley--a washed-up, alcoholic litigator with two ruined marriages in his wake and the IRS on his tail--is dispatched to the Brazilian wetlands in search of a mysterious heir named in the will. After a harrowing trip upriver to a remote settlement in the Pantanal, he encounters Rachel Lane, a pure-hearted missionary living with an indigenous tribe and carrying out "God's work." Rachel's grave dedication and kindness impress the jaded lawyer, so much that a nasty bout of dengue fever leads him to a vision that could change his life.

Back in the States, the legal proceedings drag on and Grisham has a high time with Phelan's money-hungry descendents, a regrettable bunch who squandered millions, married strippers, got druggy, and befriended the Mob. The youngest son, Ramble, is a multi-pierced, tattoo-covered malcontent with big dreams for his rock band, the Demon Monkeys. Will Nate get straight with Rachel's aid? Do the greedy heirs get theirs? What's the real legacy of a lifetime's work? The Testament is classic Grisham: a down-and-out lawyer, a lot of money, an action-packed pursuit, and the highest issues at stake. It's not just about great characters; it's about the question of what character is. --Rebekah Warren

From Publishers Weekly

A traditional gangbuster Grisham opening?in which an aged billionaire outfoxes his greedy heirs by signing a bombshell will, then jumps to his death?gives little clue how this seductive tale will develop. The novel also features the usual attorney hero and legal action, but Grisham confounds expectations by sweeping readers into adventure in the Brazilian wetlands and, more urgently, into a man's search for spiritual renewal. Nate O'Riley, 48, is a drunk. He's also a top D.C. attorney who, winding up his fourth rehab stint in 10 years, is asked by his firm to find one Rachel Lane. The illegitimate daughter to whom the firm's client, tycoon Troy Phelan, has left his entire $11 billion fortune, Rachel is a missionary-physician tending Indians somewhere in Brazil's Pantanal region. Nate's experiences there prove nightmarish, including fierce storms, a plane crash, dangerous animals, hunger and, finally, dengue fever, which nearly kills him. But as Grisham crosscuts from Brazil to D.C. and the sleazy machinations of Phelan's other children and their lawyers to negate Phelan's will, readers will wonder which is the real jungle; never has Grisham revealed so nakedly his contempt for the legal profession. What Grisham holds dear is made clear in his unforgettable portrait of Rachel, whose serenity and integrity stun Nate, while inspiring him to forsake forever his lust for booze, power and money and to turn toward God. The message (which isn't entirely new to Grisham; see The Street Lawyer) and the storytelling that conveys it aren't subtle, but Grisham's smart use of the suspense novel to explore questions of being and faith puts him squarely in the footsteps of Dickens and Graham Greene. Sincere, exciting and tinged with wonder, this novel is going to sell like an angel, and deservedly so. Agent, David Gernert. 2.8 million first printing. (On-sale date: Feb. 1)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Grisham has literally before our eyes turned into a master storyteller with his book, THE TESTAMENT. His characterizations are vivid in depth portrayals and his smooth plots go down like a shot of Jack Daniels on a hot summer afternoon. As the plot the book progresses, the characters find themselves in life-and-death situations, entangled in the legal process, and fighting against others and their own wills. Will Nate ever find Rachel? And if so, what is she like? Will she accept Troy's fortune? Will the greedy Phelan family get to it first? The Testament has a detailed and gripping plot, threading the legal world to that of our own actions and resolve. John Grisham has written another best seller, one that everyone is sure to appreciate. Not since McCrae's THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and Grisham's KING OF TORTS have I so enjoyed a book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moonlight Graham on June 21 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Grisham has written a novel with almost no sympathetic characters. There's a huge amount of money to be divided up by an eccentric billionaire...all of his relatives are greedy, almost worthless human beings. Nate, the guy sent to find one last heir, is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict...I personally didn't care who got the money, but John Grisham really seems to be obsessed with large amounts of money. Grisham's books are typically page turners, but this one was a tough one to plow through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dark Chocolate on Sept. 14 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
That book was hard to put down and, as a consequence, dishes and laundry were piling up over the weekend. I strongly recommend cleaning the house thoroughly before opening the first page.

The story is really good, and John Grisham really lets us "see" the characters of his book. The Testament was my first experience with Grisham's writing, but other books soon followed, and gave me the opportunity to discover his rich writing style and documented research.

Great book for a cocooning weekend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Arnold on June 28 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...it was a good read. I was expecting something a little more thrilling, a little more intense and exciting. But the slower pace of this book still kept my attention. Grisham has a good writing style and had no trouble getting me interested in the story, the location, the people. Parts of it were like a travel documentary, but surprisingly I found it all interesting. I was never at the edge of my seat, but never wanted to put the book down.
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Format: Audio CD
Troy Phelan, worth $11 billion, loves his business and hates his ex-wives and children. Rumored to be suffering from terminal cancer, Phelan calls the family together to sign a new will. The heirs cooperate by providing psychiatrists to observe and verify that Phelan is in his right mind. That's the apparent game plan, but Phelan has a second and more shocking one. Thus opens The Testament.

Probate law isn't very exciting, and John Grisham decides to dress it up with a cast of characters that are almost parodies of parodies, so much so that they didn't resonate with me. As a result, the "exciting" beginning bored me.

The bulk of the story eventually shifts to recovering alcoholic and drug addict, attorney Nate O'Riley, who is sent straight from rehab to Brazil to find a missing heir, Rachel Lane, who is a medical missionary to the indigenous people there. His journey is harrowing and tests his limited strength to the limits. But the journey also is a beginning of his personal redemption through receiving Salvation for the Lord, Jesus Christ. As soon as the redemption part of the story begins, the book vastly improves. Without that element, I would have rated this as a one- or two-star effort.

It's unusual for a secular writer to put a major Christian theme in a popular work of fiction. I applaud Mr. Grisham for doing so.

I enjoyed the reading by Frank Muller which added a lot of emotional depth to the book that would be missed by simply reading The Testament.

May God bless you, Mr. Grisham!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Troy Phelan, worth $11 billion, loves his business and hates his ex-wives and children. Rumored to be suffering from terminal cancer, Phelan calls the family together to sign a new will. The heirs cooperate by providing psychiatrists to observe and verify that Phelan is in his right mind. That's the apparent game plan, but Phelan has a second and more shocking one. Thus opens The Testament.

Probate law isn't very exciting, and John Grisham decides to dress it up with a cast of characters that are almost parodies of parodies, so much so that they didn't resonate with me. As a result, the "exciting" beginning bored me.

The bulk of the story eventually shifts to recovering alcoholic and drug addict, attorney Nate O'Riley, who is sent straight from rehab to Brazil to find a missing heir, Rachel Lane, who is a medical missionary to the indigenous people there. His journey is harrowing and tests his limited strength to the limits. But the journey also is a beginning of his personal redemption through receiving Salvation for the Lord, Jesus Christ. As soon as the redemption part of the story begins, the book vastly improves. Without that element, I would have rated this as a one- or two-star effort.

It's unusual for a secular writer to put a major Christian theme in a popular work of fiction. I applaud Mr. Grisham for doing so.

May God bless you, Mr. Grisham!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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