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The Broker

by John Grisham

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,773101775 (3.39)43
With fourteen years left on a twenty-year sentence, notorious Washington power broker, Joel Blackman, receives a surprise pardon from a lame-duck president. He is smuggled out of the country on a military cargo plane, given a new identity, and tucked away in a small town in Italy. But Blackman has serious enemies from his past. As the CIA watches him closely, the question is not whether he will be killed, but rather who will kill him first.… (more)

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» See also 43 mentions

English (91)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Washington power broker, Joel Backman had served 6 of the 25 years he was sentenced. The guy who wanted him dead paid $1million for his pardon and transporation to a foreign country where the plan was to alert one of the many people in other countries who wanted him dead and had the means to make it happen. Backman only knew he was sprung and whisked away and he needed to escape from his keepers. Grisham may not be a great author but he still tells a great story in my book. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
"The Broker," more than anything, was a way for Grisham to expense his trip to Bologna, Italy. Out of 400 pages, there was maybe 100 of story. The rest was a tour of primarily Bologna, and endless translations of dialogue, histories of various cathedrals, and lots of food ordering.

Having said that, the story itself was pretty good.

Spoilers ahead.

The story is that of Joel Backman, a major power broker in DC, who gets pardoned by an outgoing president six years into a 14-year sentence for crimes against the state—he was trying to sell technology that could control satellites. But it was the CIA who pressured and orchestrated the pardon because they wanted to see who would come after Backman once he was freed; the Israelis, the Chinese, or the Saudis. The CIA gets him to Italy where he's to learn the language (and get lots of history lessons!) before they begin leaking where he is. After tiring of this, Backman escapes and makes his way back to the states so he can turn over the software that landed him in prison to begin with. ( )
  Jarratt | Nov 18, 2019 |
On the run, former wealthy Washington power broker finds himself in Italy with a new identity and with no control over his fate. ( )
  sleahey | Jul 28, 2019 |
This was fun - a tight little story with the main flavor (as far as I was concerned) on the process of learning a language and the experience of living in Bologna.

I like reading John Grisham's books; I feel safe, I know what I'm going to get - a reflection on power (never trite), some interesting facts (the man does his research) and I will not be trapped into reading something unbearably ugly. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
  JRCornell | Jan 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
To make a weak plot even weaker, Beckman is utterly unsympathetic.
I had a very good time with The Broker, found Backman believable and charming and interesting, got a few laughs and felt my pulse thumping as the climax approached. But there's a rather hasty aspect to the book: too many short paragraphs, too many unnecessary exclamation points, a rushed and contrived ending.
Zippy but uneventful, the book tastes like something Robert Ludlum left sitting on his stove when he died.
Readers looking for a non-stop thrill ride won't find it in The Broker. For those ready to relax and settle into an almost sensuous pace, The Broker is benissimo.
added by MikeBriggs | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Jan 12, 2005)
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In the waning hours of a presidency that was destined to arouse less interest from historians than any since perhaps that of William Henry Harrison (thirty-one days from inauguration to death), Arthur Morgan huddled in the Oval Office with his last remaining friend and pondered his final decisions.
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