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Book Review: The Ghost by Robert Harris 04/04/2010

Posted by PinoyMan in Book Reviews.
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The Ghost by Robert Harris is another great novel from the master of the historical fiction.  Set in the present day and told in the first peson, our story began with a retelling of the mysterious death of Mike McAra, the first ghostwriter working on the memoirs of former British PM, Adam Lang.  Now enter our protagonist, who was then commissioned to complete the unfinished memoirs.  Set in Martha’s Vineyard during the winter time, the place was desolate and provided the perfect backdrop for the impending mystery.

I love the part where Adam Lang and The Ghost first started working on the memoirs.  The dialogue was crisp and I can just imagine Pierce Brosnan conversing with Ewan McGregor.  In my mind, I even read their lines with a British accent.  Some of the best parts of the novel involved conversations between the two.  Adam Lang was later revealed to be accused of collaborating with the CIA in handing over several suspected territorists for torture.  Remember, this was post-9/11 and paranoia ran high and the War on Terror was just starting to escalate.

During the course of The Ghost’s work on the memoirs he was able to stumble upon secrets that might implicate the former PM.  He then started on an investigation of his own, hunting down men who were supposedly contacted by Mike McAra and tried to uncover the mystery surrounding Adam Lang.

Finally confronting Adam again in a Gulfstream, what followed was an explosive twist and some shocking revelations that might bring out the paranoid in you.

After reading the book, I have to say that I learned so much about ghostwriting that I have a newly found respect for the trade.  I’ve also read other reviews comparing Adam Lang to Tony Blair, although not being familiar with Blair that much, I won’t be able to concur.  For fans of Robert Harris’ other books, they may be disappointed that this is not strictly a historical novel but rather a political one but still the story and the intrigue surrounding it is well worth a read.  For political thriller fans, this novel is enough to satiate their thirst for the genre.

BTW, the name of The Ghost was never revealed at all in the story.  Nice touch and in complete agreement with the ghostwriting trade.


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