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This review is from: The Ghost (Hardcover)
The narrator of Robert Harris's new novel is a ghostwriter assigned to write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister. But all is not as it should be; the ex-PM, Adam Lang, finds himself exiled in Martha's Vinyard with a war crimes indictment hanging over him. A previous 'ghost' had died in mysterious circumstances. And what of the shadowy right wing organisations that lurk in the background?
Lang, is a thinly fictionalised version of Tony Blair, a former friend of Harris, and much has been made of this and of other real life charcaters who are meant to crop up in the book. Lang's wife Ruth is said to be Cherie (she's not) and there's meant to be a Robin Cook figure (there's not, really).
I was under the impression that this would be a novel about a former PM brooding over his legacy, but it's actually a decent - if not implausible - thriller. Some of it is far fetched, though never as ludicrous as a Dan Brown book, and it is entertaining and gripping. I read it in an evening.
There are echoes of Graham Greene at times, and the ending was reminisent of Evelyn Waugh's Handful of Dust. The implications of Britain's 'special relationship' with America are laid down in terrifying if not exagerated terms. And while too much has been made of Harris's former friendship with the Blairs, there are flashes of insight that are revealing and amusing.
Not a brilliant work of literature by any means, but a better thriller or beach novel you won't read this year.