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The Ghost by Robert Harris

The Ghost (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Robert Harris

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1,835743,798 (3.55)1 / 72
Title:The Ghost
Authors:Robert Harris
Info:Hutchinson (2007), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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 (67)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (1)  Dutch (1)  All (74)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
I like Robert Harris and have read several of his books, many of which have an historical grounding. As this was promoted as being different, I avoided it, but one day started up the audiobook and I was hooked. The premise is quite interesting. A ghost writer, never identified by name, has been hired to complete a famous ex-prime minister’s memoirs after the apparent suicide of the former “ghost.” There’s a very short deadline, and he’s dismayed to see the 600 pages left by his predecessor are virtually unreadable, boring in the extreme.

Then things get a bit complicated as Adam Lang, the subject of the memoir and supposed author, is indicted by the International Criminal Court for having permitted and encouraged the rendition and torture of suspects following the 9/11 attacks. I suppose it’s the height of irony that the country that created the Nuremberg courts, trials and executions, the United States, has withdrawn from participation in the ICC, along with the Sudan (its president was indicted) and Israel, although being one of the signatories. That it is perhaps afraid of subjecting its leaders to international sanctions for committing war crimes puts the U.S. in good company with countries like China, Iraq and North Korea. I suspect it’s because Congress fears possible indictment of GW Bush for his complicity in the treatment and torture of prisoners. In any case, the indictment of Lange (Tony Blair, anyone?) makes the memoirs, already sought after, hot property, indeed.

Terrorism has been a real boon to those in power providing a rationale for obtaining more control over their “subjects,” while providing them with more mechanisms, in the name of security, of course, to remove themselves even further from the electorate in bomb/gas-proof limousines, guards, etc. That is a sub-theme of the book that has a host of relevant meanings for the word “ghost.” (Note that the book has been reissued under the title “Ghost Writer’ which loses much of the impact of the double meanings.)

Some interesting discussion on the relationship between truth, memoirs, ghost writers, and politics. I found it hard to put down, listening while walking the dog, sorting stamps, cleaning, etc. My only complaint was the ending , the justification for which seemed thin. Good read, nevertheless. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2016 |
Another great book from Robert Harris. Corruption, murder, politics, allegations of war crimes and a hastily brought in ghost writer hired to complete the manuscript of a British ex-Prime Minister make the basis of this tale.

Everything seems to be going well until, albeit a little odd until he finds some of the old, dead, writers belongings which raise questions to which answers are not so easily found - Plenty of intrigue and page turning mystery to keep the reader interested - it certainly kept my attention finishing it in one afternoon to evening.

Would recommend. Fatherland is probably still my favourite Harris book though. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Jul 30, 2016 |
This is clearly a shadow version of Tony Blair after his ouster, apart from the ending. It was made into a movie in 2010 with Pierce Brosnan which I did see at the time. ( )
  cfk | Jul 23, 2016 |
I don't read many thrillers, and frankly I didn't know there was such a thing as a "British thriller," but you can blame Nick Hornby for this. It was gripping, and well-plotted - as these things go, anyway - and kept me interested throughout. It comes off a tiny bit whiny, at least to this American, but then we again we made The Patriot so we probably had it coming. ( )
  thoughtbox | May 27, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book with its not very subtle satire of Blair. The plot is slightly far fetched but as usual Robert Harris keeps you reading along ( )
  jbennett | May 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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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,
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -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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