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The Ghost by Robert Harris
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The Ghost (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Robert Harris

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1,612674,509 (3.52)1 / 51
Member:adpaton
Title:The Ghost
Authors:Robert Harris
Info:Hutchinson (2007), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Authors, Politicians, Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Martha's Vineyard, 21st Century, Crime, Murder, Ghost Writers, Thriller, CIA, Britain

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The Ghost by Robert Harris (2007)

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English (60)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
A pageturner who got away with it, but nothing more ( )
  henrikll | Aug 8, 2014 |
(Note: I'm using the true ranking system here--I gave it 2 stars because it was OK. Not great, not terrible--OK.)

This is the story of a man who's recruited to "finish" the memoirs of the former British Prime Minister after the previous ghostwriter has died under mysterious circumstances. Needless to say, he gets way more than he bargained for...

There are only a few cases in which the movie is at least as good as the book. In this case, the movie was better. I understand why the author never specifies the name or gives any description of the writer (ghost, get it?), but it gives the narrative a detached quality despite being written in first person. In addition, the political intrigue is not well rendered--it's cliched cloak-and-dagger, and it would have benefited from some fleshing out of the simplistic plot. For example, it would have been nice to see a couple examples of the villain in action or communicating with coconspirators. (Being vague so as to avoid spoilers.)

If you're looking for a complex, far-flung Ludlumesque caper, this isn't it. But it's a perfectly fine airplane book. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
I love the page turning quality of this book. Some of the plot unfolds as expected and just as you are getting comfortable with the ride, you take an unexpected turn.(I love the use of the SatNav to take the character on his journey).

Although the film does come close to the book, I felt the ending of the book was better. I didn't see the ending, although I was quite certain where we were going - in the end I was wrong.

Robert Harris was asked if he had had any difficult with getting the legal team at the publishers to agree to the text, at the Oxford Literary Festival - he said that know he could and would be successfully sued if any politician took it to court, however he didn't think that would happen - it didn't.

Lovely flowing prose. ( )
1 vote C.R.Harris | Jan 14, 2014 |
Retired Prime Minister of Britain's writing assistant to his memoire/autobiography washes up dead on the shores of Martha's Vineyard - he is replaced by a non political ghost writer. Secrets unfold and the accidental drowning now appears more like foul play. The Race is on to discover who had something big enough to hide that murder was the answer? Amidst a front page political scandal, the ghost tries to unravel the truth. ( )
  booklovers2 | Sep 17, 2013 |
I enjoyed Harris's first novel, Fatherland, and adored his second, Enigma; I can't quite work out why it's taken me so long to read another. Whatever, the wait was worth it.

Our nameless protagonist/narrator is called in as ghostwriter for the memoirs of a recently retired British Prime Minister who is Not Tony Bliar: you know he's Not Tony Bliar because his name is Adam Lang. However, this PM is widely loathed in the UK, not least because he was craven poodle to a war-criminal US Administration that invaded a Middle Eastern country for corrupt reasons; bells might be ringing, no? Because the Brits have come to hate his guts, Adam Lang and his wife Ruth (who is Not Cherie), plus entourage, are holed up in Martha's Vineyard. Our hero flies across to join them and prepares to do his stuff; but then he stumbles across the notes and documentation used by his predecessor in the job, who was mysteriously drowned. There are conniptions galore and lots of wonderfully catty observations from our narrator until it becomes evident to all that Adam Lang was a CIA plant, the most successful of all such moles placed into the UK political structure by the shady organization. It's a great conspiracy theory, but, evident or not, is it in fact the final truth? Our narrator discovers that, no, it isn't . . .

Gotta confess I found the conspiracy theory pretty convincing.

This is a spiffy book at every level: it functions well as a page-turning thriller, you bet; and it's a wonderfully biting, often laugh-out-loud funny piece of social/political satire. ( )
1 vote JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
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I am not I: thou art not he or she: they are not they.

Evelyn Waugh, "Brideshead Revisited"
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Voor Gill
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The moment I heard how McAra died, I should have walked away.
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Ik ben niet ik;jij bent niet hij of zij; zij zijn niet zij. (Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead revisited)
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Book description
Adam Lang has been Britain’s longest serving—and most controversial—prime minister of the last half century. And now that he’s left office, he’s accepted one of history’s largest cash advances to compose a tell-all (or at least, tell-some) memoir of his life and years of power.

As pressure mounts for Lang to complete this magnum opus, he hires a professional ghostwriter to finish the book. As he sets to work, the ghostwriter discovers many more secrets than Lang intends to reveal, secrets with the power to alter world politics - secrets with the power to kill.

Tense, gripping, and savvy, The Ghost Writer puts forth all the author’s long-term know-how about high stakes politics, journalism, and governmental deception. Set in America, on Martha’s Vineyard,
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099527499, Paperback)

Britain's former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project - a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his distinguished new client has secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him - secrets with the power to kill. Robert Harris is once again at his gripping best with the most controversial new thriller of the decade.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Dashing, captivating Adam Lang was Britain's longest serving - and most controversial - prime minister of the last half century, whose career ended in tatters after he sided with America in an unpopular war on terror. Now, after stepping down in disgrace, Lang is hiding out in wintry Martha's Vineyard to finish his much sought-after, potentially explosive memoir, for which he accepted one of history's largest cash advances. But the project runs aground when his ghostwriter suddenly and mysteriously disappears and later washes up, dead, on the island's deserted shore.""Enter our hero - Lang's new ghostwriter - cynical, mercenary, and quick with a line of deadpan humor. Accustomed to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities, he jumps at the chance to be the new ghost of Adam Lang's memoirs, especially as it means a big payday. At once he flies to Lang's remote location in America to finish the book in the seclusion of a luxurious estate, but it doesn't take him long to realize he has made a fatal error in judgment. The state of affairs is grim enough when the ghost begins to unearth the bone-chilling circumstances of his predecessor's death. And before long, he discovers that the ex-prime minister is not just a charismatic politician who made a few mistakes. He's a dark, tortured man with haunting secrets in his past - secrets with the power to alter world politics. Secrets with the power to kill."--BOOK JACKET.General Adult. Having served as Great Britains longest-enduring prime minister, Adam Lang accepts a large cash advance to write a tell-all memoir of his life and controversial political career, an effort for which he hires a ghostwriter who uncovers dangerous secrets about the former leaders term. 250,000 first printing.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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