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The Ghost [Paperback]

Robert Harris
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

4 Mar 2010

'The moment I heard how McAra died I should have walked away. I can see that now...'

The narrator of Robert Harris's gripping new novel is a professional ghostwriter - cynical, mercenary, and with a nice line in deadpan humour. Accustomed to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities, he jumps at the chance to ghost the memoirs of Britain's former prime minister, especially as it means flying to the American resort of Martha's Vineyard in the middle of winter and finishing the book in the seclusion of a luxurious house.

But it doesn't take him long to realise he has made a terrible mistake. His predecessor on the project died in circumstances that were distinctly suspicious, and the ex-prime minister turns out to be a man with secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him - secrets with the power to kill.

The Times has called Robert Harris 'the leading current exponent of the intelligent literary thriller'. The Ghost is his most compelling novel yet.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; Film Tie-In edition (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099525127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099525127
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Harris is the author Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost - all of which were worldwide bestsellers. His work has been translated into thirty-three languages. He was born in Nottingham in 1957 and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He worked as a reporter on the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before becoming Political Editor of the Observer in 1987, and then a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He lives near Hungerford in Berkshire with his wife and their four children.

Product Description


"A master of the intelligent thriller...The Ghost is Harris back on sparkling form" (The Times)

"Truly thrilling" (Sunday Times)

"Robert Harris's latest thriller is more than a fun read: it is a super-duper, double fun bag-sized read thanks to his masterful plotting" (Daily Telegraph)

"Harris has written a remarkable thriller... He knows how to tell a story" (Sunday Telegraph)

"The Ghost is arguably the finest novel yet to have emerged from the so-called Age of Terror... This is an important book about the major issues of our time" (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

A tie-in edition of the Sunday Times bestselling contemporary thriller, to coincide with the release of the Golden Globe award-winning film directed by Roman Polanski; starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
By Petrolhead VINE VOICE
Rarely these days does one come across a really good book that is also really well edited. "The Ghost" is just right: as in a good whodunnit there is almost nothing that is extraneous to the plot, but it is so page-turningly readable that you don't have time to put the pieces together before the last page hits you like a pick-axe. All you can do is sit dumbstruck and admire the writer's skill in taking you on such a ride.
The reviews of "The Ghost" seem to be split down the middle, with some readers sorely disappointed by Harris failing to live up to past efforts and other reviewers ecstatic at one of the best political thrillers in years. I'm firmly in the latter camp. I could hardly put it down, was riveted throughout and found the ending chilling. It's up there with John Le Carre's best, in my opinion.
But what really makes this story a masterpiece is the stylistic perfection that Harris has achieved. I cannot explain further without spoiling the book, so I will just say that this is an intelligent thriller that left me satisfied on several levels, and one of them was an appreciation for a piece of writing that really works. I do wonder if some of the disappointed reviewers didn't quite "get" the book.
I confess to having approached "The Ghost" rather warily. I'd heard that it was a thinly veiled attack on Tony Blair, who seemed a tediously easy target and in danger of becoming out of date. Also, I'd read two of Robert Harris' others (Fatherland and Archangel) and although I enjoyed them, I found the ending a tiny bit lame in both.
But "The Ghost" knocked my fears for six.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fitting epitaph for the Blair era 18 Feb 2008
By Jezza
I didn't expect to like this half as much as I did - I have long thought of Robert Harris as airport fodder. I'm sorry, I now see that was unfair.

This isn't exactly literature but it's well plotted, well paced and well written. Its fictionalisation is often wafer-thin -- even the revelatory photograph of former prime minister "Adam Lang" is very much like a well-known picture of Tony Blair during his university days.

It's curious that someone so well entrenched within mainstream journalism is prepared to write a book about CIA conspiracies against the British Labour Party - I would have thought this stuff wasn't widely believed beyond the far left. But well done to Harris for writing such a plausible thriller set in this sort of world.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing overall 17 Sep 2008
you'll have the gist of the story from the other reviews so I won't bother too much with that and give you a brief asessment of the book as a novel . Its not the most exciting read you'll ever have although it is quite atmospheric in a sort of Shipping News type of way ( althoughy just as plodding ! ) . Its quite evocative of Marthas Vineyard in winter and how rough the weather can be with its portrayal of windswept and rainy beaches and hamlets .
I though the Adam Lang character portrayal of a former British Prime Minister was quite weak and unconvincing . The character didn't quite seem to fit the role , particularly when using the word " man " at the end of a sentence !
Not a particularly gripping novel by any means but was quite easy on the eye and the plot wasn't taxing either . Which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your individual point of view . I thought the ending wasn't particularly climatic either and one was left wondering " was that it ?? " when the last page was reached .
Not a page turning blockbuster by any means but one to peacefully pass the time . And then throw away .
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost 26 Aug 2009
I thought Tony Blair believed the war in Iraq was a right and just thing. I had this notion because of the unpopularity of the invasion, the millions of protesters against it, and my belief politicians care only for their image and the votes a positive image can offer. In short: if he was willing to lose votes he must believe it was right. I didn't hold this view for long, and my support of the invasion of Iraq didn't last. But I still wondered why, if the policy was unpopular, did a voracious popularity junkie like Blair go along?

Alex Salmond of the SNP made a comment which painted Bush and Blair as a couple of cowboys with their "thumbs in the jeans" as they necked a few cold Budweisers "down on the ranch". I don't accept that sort of absurd cartoon (but one can hardly blame Salmond for making it; after all, the less relevant the politician, the more noise they make, like sulky children, throwing tantrums for attention.) But there had to be a reason for Blair's complicity, so what could it be?

Robert Harris offers his entertaining theory in The Ghost, and takes a swipe at the wispy façade of Blairism.

Adam Lang, Harris's fictional Blair, is using the house of a billionaire publisher to write the manuscript for his memoirs, and he's been using a party aide as his ghost writer until that particular fellow goes overboard into the drink while on the Martha's Vineyard ferry. His replacement, the novel's nameless narrator, flies to the US to take on the assignment.

The story is the discovery of what lay behind Blair's blind support of Bush over Iraq and Afghanistan and his head-bowed obedience to any requests from our American friends, from public support of Israel to the use of UK military bases for the CIA planes on "extraordinary rendition" flights.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Top drawer
A thoroughly entertaining read.
I cannot really find fault with this book.
How Harris came up with the story line I do not know. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Steveatki
4.0 out of 5 stars how Blair might have ended
A fantasy view of post power life for those involved in the war on terror. A chilling end to a bleak tale.
Published 1 month ago by Miss Walsh
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea, weak ending.
I enjoyed the book and the characters kept you interested but the end was a little weak and felt rushed just as it was getting interesting.
Published 1 month ago by Mr JL Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
What a great read you think you have understood what happening and another twist and turn changes your view...... Best twist of all is the end
Published 1 month ago by Stephanie
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives you food for thought
Interesting read, it could almost be a true story. Maybe it is!
Kept me hooked all the way through wondering how it would end. Very enjoyable.
Published 1 month ago by Nickb
1.0 out of 5 stars over-egging the pudding.
>>> Spoilers<<<
This is a fictional account of a British prime minister facing censure for leading his reluctant people into the illegal invasion of another country. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Phil
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Good story, interesting characters quite tense but not many surprises. However liked the contempory setting and the twist on the last page I didnt guess. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sha
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous write
Another great novel by msr Harris. A whirlwind right until the last page and then you are left guessing and reflecting. Excellent
Published 2 months ago by MRS V C PARKIN
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
20 words to describe a kindle book, it was a most enjoyable read as is every Robert Harris book. Enjoy
Published 2 months ago by MOET
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing brilliance
I had to pinch myself to remember that Adam Lang was not actually Blair. So real is the depiction of the politician we all know so well that in creating Lang I am left somewhat... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony J. Armstrong
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