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The Ghost

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Me he had finished I was done for”After five books set firmly in the past Robert Harris returns with a contemporary novel that brings the reader face to face with some of the biggest issues of our time the result is a gripping and genuinely thrilling re. I have read a number of Robert Harris’s books I have found him to be an excellent historical novelist According to my records I originally read this book in 2008 and it was first published in 2007 When I got this book I did not realize I had read it before because of the different title The original was named “The Ghost” this one is “The Ghostwriter” This book is entirely different from Harris’s usual writingsThis story is narrated by the man who is a professional ghostwriter He has been hired by a publishing company to complete a political memoir on a former British Prime Minister The prior ghostwriter has just died Harris has the regular story plot going but underneath he has a subtler serious discussion about political memoires truth the use or abuse of power international law and politics Also there is a on going discussion about the role of ghostwriting I found the story interesting and it did start me thinking about the topic I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is almost nine hours Roger Rees does an excellent job narrating the book Rees is a Welsh actor as well as an audiobook narrator Rees has won the Olivier and Tony Awards as well as the Obie Award

characters Þ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ´ Robert Harris

The stunning new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Fatherland; Enigma; Archangel; Pompeii and Imperium “The moment I heard how McAra died I should have walked away I can see that now I should have said ‘Rick I’m sorry this isn’t for me I don. This is a fast paced thriller centering around a ghost writer assigned to revise and complete the first draft of an autobiography prepared by his predecessor another ghost writer recently deceased The subject of this is a Tony Blair stand in a former British PM who had served American foreign policy needs with attention than he gave to the wishes of his own people The ghost is also under great time pressure from his publisher one month to fix over a hundred thousand badly written words The characters here are the sort one would expect in a political thriller not too deep but fun to watch The former PM Adam Lang has a background in theater that suits perfectly a person who seems not to be really there His brains behind the scenes wife Ruth was probably the most interesting character in the book both warm and calculating seemingly vulnerable yet dangerous What really happened to the earlier ghost writer Was his death really a suicide Will the PM be brought to the international court as a war criminal Is he guilty of the crimes of which he is accused The ghostwriter is faced with choices He can accept the assignment and make a lot of money but in doing so he will alienate his sort of girlfriend and trouble his conscience at least a little Seduction of all sorts abounds here I found it a fun engaging read a beach book not to be taken too seriously but enjoyable The author’s political bias was clear enough pro Ira war but I did not allow this to detract from the enjoyment of the read Roll your eyes and keep reading PS the film that was made of this book rocks

Robert Harris ´ 9 Summary

’t like the sound of it’ finished my drink and left But he was such a good storyteller Rick I often thought he should have been the writer and I the agent that once he’d started talking there was never any uestion I wouldn’t listen and by the ti. The Ghost has everything a great thriller needs There's the slightly too curious for his own good Everyman who stumbles onto something huge there's the geeky technical delight in details here of ghostwriting and there's the strong suspense and atmosphere of barely restrained menace There's even the obligatory and now outdated scene where the protagonist badly shaken does his research in an internet cafe and the obligatory scene where a GPS is used to retroactively follow someone If a political thriller with a lot of cynicism and a slow boil sounds good to you you will enjoy The GhostOur unnamed narrator is a long time professional ghostwriter most prominently of celebrity memoirs who is suddenly thrust into the political sphere when he's tapped to take on Adam Lang's memoirs Lang we uickly learn is the controversial former Prime Minister whose reputation in Britain has been sullied by his close relationship with America and promotion of the War on Terror; even now accusations of Lang having facilitated the CIA torture of British citizens float through the news Our protagonist has one month to make something out of the massive and almost unreadable manuscript left to him by his predecessor Lang's longtime aide who died in a suspicious accident while working on the book It would be enough to make anyone back off if the money for rushing it through to publication wasn't ridiculously goodThe ghost finds himself drawn into Lang's life his genuine charm his possible sins his psychological slipperiness that makes the task of writing in his voice so difficult Not to mention his wife Ruth brilliant and unpredictably chilly and his aidemistress Amelia witty and driven All the ghost has to do is keep his head down and write but he finds himself poking at loose ends in Lang's stories What to make of the polished anecdote that turns out to be almost completely fabricated The insistence on minimizing the entirety of his early dramatic career The private phone number of Lang's enemy scribbled on the back of a seemingly innocent picture The Ghost develops its unease as it goes along and manages the difficult trick of keeping you sure that something is going on it says something about the world that at no point is there any real doubt that Lang did in fact aid the CIA in kidnapping and torturing his own citizens in the narrator's mind or in anyone else's That's not ultimately what the suspense is really about while nonetheless winning your emotional involvement in the Langs and their lives There's an especially good scene where the ghost under pressure composes a uick statement for Lang to give to the press in the midst of the controversy finding himself almost becoming an accomplice to whatever cover up is going on He didn't mean to He just got swept up in it So did I Bleak note from the past Harris's hero has to look up what waterboarding is Sur la frontière protagonist badly shaken does his research in an internet cafe and the obligatory scene where a GPS is used to retroactively follow someone If a Palestine 47 : Un partage avorté political thriller with a lot of cynicism and a slow boil sounds good to you you will enjoy The GhostOur unnamed narrator is a long time MARIAGE DE LA PAIX professional ghostwriter most L'amour en Islam de l'enchantement à l'étouffement prominently of celebrity memoirs who is suddenly thrust into the Lawrence d'Arabie political sphere when he's tapped to take on Adam Lang's memoirs Lang we uickly learn is the controversial former Prime Minister whose reputation in Britain has been sullied by his close relationship with America and Le monde méditerranéen, 15.000 ans d'histoire promotion of the War on Terror; even now accusations of Lang having facilitated the CIA torture of British citizens float through the news Our La Tragédie de l'islam moderne protagonist has one month to make something out of the massive and almost unreadable manuscript left to him by his L'Islam expliqué en images predecessor Lang's longtime aide who died in a suspicious accident while working on the book It would be enough to make anyone back off if the money for rushing it through to Les grandes figures de l'islam publication wasn't ridiculously goodThe ghost finds himself drawn into Lang's life his genuine charm his 60 Ans de conflit israélo-arabe : Témoignages pour l'Histoire possible sins his Israël-Palestine : Une terre, du sang, des larmes psychological slipperiness that makes the task of writing in his voice so difficult Not to mention his wife Ruth brilliant and unpredictably chilly and his aidemistress Amelia witty and driven All the ghost has to do is keep his head down and write but he finds himself Opération Raisins de la colère. L'histoire secrète d'un succès diplomatique français (Sciences politiques et relations internationales) poking at loose ends in Lang's stories What to make of the Un printemps arabe polished anecdote that turns out to be almost completely fabricated The insistence on minimizing the entirety of his early dramatic career The Pour une lecture profane des conflits (POCHES ESSAIS t. 426) private L'État islamique de Mossoul (CAHIERS LIBRES) phone number of Lang's enemy scribbled on the back of a seemingly innocent Le crime occidental picture The Ghost develops its unease as it goes along and manages the difficult trick of keeping you sure that something is going on it says something about the world that at no Les Chrétiens d'Allah (TEMPUS t. 115) point is there any real doubt that Lang did in fact aid the CIA in kidnapping and torturing his own citizens in the narrator's mind or in anyone else's That's not ultimately what the suspense is really about while nonetheless winning your emotional involvement in the Langs and their lives There's an especially good scene where the ghost under L'islam pressure composes a uick statement for Lang to give to the Qu'est-ce que le salafisme ? press in the midst of the controversy finding himself almost becoming an accomplice to whatever cover up is going on He didn't mean to He just got swept up in it So did I Bleak note from the Les musulmans en France : Courants, institutions, communautés : un état des lieux past Harris's hero has to look up what waterboarding is


10 thoughts on “The Ghost

  1. says:

    This is a fast paced thriller centering around a ghost writer assigned to revise and complete the first draft of an autobiography prepared by his predecessor another ghost writer recently deceased The subject of this is a Tony Blair stand in a former British PM who had served American foreign policy needs with attention than he gave to the wishes of his own people The ghost is also under great time pressure from his publisher one month to fix over a hundred thousand badly written words The characters here are the sort one would expect in a political thriller not too deep but fun to watch The former PM Adam Lang has a background in theater that suits perfectly a person who seems not to be really there His brains behind the scenes wife Ruth was probably the most interesting character in the book both warm and calculating seemingly vulnerable yet dangerous What really happened to the earlier ghost writer? Was his death really a suicide? Will the PM be brought to the international court as a war criminal? Is he guilty of the crimes of which he is accused? The ghostwriter is faced with choices He can accept the assignment and make a lot of money but in doing so he will alienate his sort of girlfriend and trouble his conscience at least a little Seduction of all sorts abounds here I found it a fun engaging read a beach book not to be taken too seriously but enjoyable The author’s political bias was clear enough pro Ira war but I did not allow this to detract from the enjoyment of the read Roll your eyes and keep reading PS the film that was made of this book rocks


  2. says:

    Posted to The Literary Lawyerca It's All about the Finish 35 Stars This book had the misfortune of being read after Robert Harris' far superior An Officer and A Spy Regardless The Ghost is a great novel in its own right While it does not contain the fullness of what I consider to be a better novel it is compact and straight to the point It is filled with conspiracy which leaves you guessing until the end Plot summary Our main character is a Ghost or appropriately a professional ghost writer who has ghost written well received autobiographies of famous stars His fortunes are looking up when he is offered a gig to finish ghost writing the highly anticipated autobiography of the former and controversial British Prime Minister The previous ghost writer had died in an apparent suicide after spending the previous year putting together a manuscript for the book The task is seemingly straight forward He is to retire for several months to Martha's vineyard in the US interview the Prime Minister fix the poorly drafted manuscript and take home an absurd payday Nothing is as it seems as the Ghost becomes increasingly suspicious regarding the death of his predecessor While investigating the death of the first Ghost he uncovers a conspiracy that will shock the world The Good Conspiracy Nut Unite If you love a good conspiracy the Ghost will certainly deliver While I will not spoil the surprise the conspiracy is certainly one that would shock the world and would make for some tense international relations This underlying secret was the thrust of the novel and twists and stumbles will leave you guess and mistrusting every character you encounterIf you like you endings to be explosive you are in for a treat I thought I had it all figured out but my ideas were turned on their head A for a great finish The Bad One Trick Pony While I love where the story ultimately took me the story often felt like filler until the big reveal The audiobook was a relatively short 8 hours Had it been longer I would have likely lost interest in the filled and skipped to the big reveal The first three uarters lacked the tension and buildup I felt the conspiracy reuired There was some weak attempts at character building in the story but given it is really a one trick pony these attempts felt flat Can this Book Stand Alone Yes It is a stand alone novel Final Thoughts In my opinion this is not a book you would read than once Once the plot fully reveals itself there is not need to look at it again This should not be taken as a criticism I really did enjoy this novel If I had not enjoyed the reveal as much as I did I would have given this less stars Enjoy this one for the anticipation of the reveal and for a delicious helping of conspiracy Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sexviolencelanguage content of book if you are interested I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading Disclaimer I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read I am simply giving approximations When reviewing language mild obscenities are words like shit hell or damn Religious exclamations are words such as Christ or Jesus when used as profanityScale 1 Lowest 5 Highest Sex 2 There is a minor subplot involving affair The entanglements are not graphic Language There are around 26 mild obscenities 16 religious exclamations and 19 f words Violence 25 There is talk of death violence and the mistreatment of prisoners There is some mild description of waterboarding techniues Overall the elements for a background and are not graphic


  3. says:

    This one is somewhat of a departure for Robert Harris despite the main character Adam Lang being clearly a version of Tony Blair and Lang's wife being a fictional euivalent of Cherie Blair this is essentially new ground for Harris as the novel is not based on true events as such and therefore not historical fiction as per usual for HarrisWritten with Robert Harris usual flair for an intelligent thriller 'The Ghost' provides us with an intriguing and exciting story with thinly veiled nods aimed at Tony and Cherie Blair effectively social and political commentary perhaps at their expense All in all whilst being compelling in the way that all Harris novels are this isn't as strong as the majority of his novels to dateIt has also been suggested that as a former supporter of Tony Blair but subseuently disillusioned this was Harris perhaps with some kind of literarypolitical point to make with particular reference to Blair's role in the invasion of Ira? Definitely worth reading and much better than the movie adaptation although definitely not amongst Harris best novels by any means


  4. says:

    This is a fast paced engrossing thriller like one of those high production value films where everything clicks and you know you're in the hands of a real pro


  5. says:

    The Ghost has everything a great thriller needs There's the slightly too curious for his own good Everyman who stumbles onto something huge there's the geeky technical delight in details here of ghostwriting and there's the strong suspense and atmosphere of barely restrained menace There's even the obligatory and now outdated scene where the protagonist badly shaken does his research in an internet cafe and the obligatory scene where a GPS is used to retroactively follow someone If a political thriller with a lot of cynicism and a slow boil sounds good to you you will enjoy The GhostOur unnamed narrator is a long time professional ghostwriter most prominently of celebrity memoirs who is suddenly thrust into the political sphere when he's tapped to take on Adam Lang's memoirs Lang we uickly learn is the controversial former Prime Minister whose reputation in Britain has been sullied by his close relationship with America and promotion of the War on Terror; even now accusations of Lang having facilitated the CIA torture of British citizens float through the news Our protagonist has one month to make something out of the massive and almost unreadable manuscript left to him by his predecessor Lang's longtime aide who died in a suspicious accident while working on the book It would be enough to make anyone back off if the money for rushing it through to publication wasn't ridiculously goodThe ghost finds himself drawn into Lang's life his genuine charm his possible sins his psychological slipperiness that makes the task of writing in his voice so difficult Not to mention his wife Ruth brilliant and unpredictably chilly and his aidemistress Amelia witty and driven All the ghost has to do is keep his head down and write but he finds himself poking at loose ends in Lang's stories What to make of the polished anecdote that turns out to be almost completely fabricated? The insistence on minimizing the entirety of his early dramatic career? The private phone number of Lang's enemy scribbled on the back of a seemingly innocent picture? The Ghost develops its unease as it goes along and manages the difficult trick of keeping you sure that something is going on it says something about the world that at no point is there any real doubt that Lang did in fact aid the CIA in kidnapping and torturing his own citizens in the narrator's mind or in anyone else's That's not ultimately what the suspense is really about while nonetheless winning your emotional involvement in the Langs and their lives There's an especially good scene where the ghost under pressure composes a uick statement for Lang to give to the press in the midst of the controversy finding himself almost becoming an accomplice to whatever cover up is going on He didn't mean to He just got swept up in it So did I Bleak note from the past Harris's hero has to look up what waterboarding is


  6. says:

    I ordered The Ghost half halfheartedly I had watched and loved the Polanski film and thought there was no way the book could be better than the film But it turned out that the film is almost like a scene by scene adaptationcopy of this book by Robert Harris The story is interesting A ghostwriter is sent to the mysterious and fortified abode of a disgraced former British prime minister to help complete his autobiography after the previous writer turns up dead The new ghostwriter uncovers a sinister conspiracy behind the prime minister's successful career and the death of the previous ghost writer The Ghost is mostly set in Martha’s Vineyard which is the ex prime ministers temporary abode It is a book of place Harris does a great job describing the desolate beauty of Martha’s Vineyard in the off season The book is also a great political thriller I don't want to use trite expressions like allegory for the current political scenario There is no allegory here Harris hits us on the head with his interpretation of the reasons behind Britain’s entry into the Ira war Harris is a great entertainer The hyperbolic similes and metaphors were fantastic and reminded me of Graham Greene's writing In fact if Greene had been writing in the 21st century he might have created a protagonist like the ghostwriter always dependent on the next drink and keenly aware of everything that is going around him but resigned to his own fate and that of his country There are even hints of unnatural forces at work when the ghostwriter enters a car used by his predecessor and unuestioningly follows the directions of the car’s navigation system which had saved the final destination of the previous user the dead writer “ For the first time in my life I was confronted with the true meaning of the word predestination I had just passed the Victorian whaling church wearily I surrendered to fate” The journey in the car leads to the unraveling of the mystery Towards the end of the novel the ghostwriter who is the first person narrator says completing the autobiography was like working on an Ouija board rather than a keyboard The dialogs are laced with wry British humor Polanski used many of the clever and sharp dialog created by Harris in his film The plot came across as preposterous at times But who cares? You are in the hands of a master Robert Harris is like an experienced movie actor who simply turns up on the set and delivers an effortlessly brilliant performance I will be checking out of his work


  7. says:

    Entertaining thriller with a cleverly twisty plot and an engaging narrator a professional ghostwriter hired to revise the draft autobiography of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang Our ghostwriter who doesn't seem to have a name mostly pens autobiographies for aging rock stars and football players who can't string three words into a sentence He seems an unlikely choice as the voice of Britain's most famous PM since Margaret Thatcher but the publishers are getting desperate Lang's autobiography is due out in June the draft version is a mess and the original ghostwriter has just drowned by accident or suicide off the coast of Martha's Vineyard Can our ghost write an autobiography in a month? For 250000 plus bonus he's sure as heck going to try The Ghost is great fun Much of the novel is set in Massachusetts particularly Martha's Vineyard a posh island that's a favorite haunt of Clintons and Kennedys though generally not in January The PM is holed up in a secluded mansion euipped with emergency steel shutters that can come crashing down over windows to the sound of klaxons I really got the feeling for what it's like to live in the heady but claustrophobic world of the rich famous and potentially threatened whisked from corporate jet to black SUVs traveling always in motorcades ringed by secret service surrounded by sycophants chafing at the lack of privacy but always deep down needing the power Lang is clearly supposed to be Tony Blair though the real Blair seems less chastened by the Ira war disaster than does his fictional counterpart I have no idea what the Blair's marriage was is? likeLang and his wife made me think of Bill and Hillary Clinton Are any of our political elite actually human? I'm not too sure about that but Harris made them real PG Warning Profanity and a fair number of four letter words Politicians behaving badly with some fade to black sex scenes


  8. says:

    For the most part this is a story which will draw you in and keep your attention but I felt that it petered out a bit towards the end I don't know why there is any discussion amongst readers about whether any parallels can be drawn between this fictional world and real world politics The basis for the story is so blatantly obvious Adam Lang is beyond doubt a parody of Tony Blair Ruth is Cheri And so onThe story is narrated in the first person by the ghost writer who is commissioned to write the former prime minister's memoirs The name of the ghost writer is never revealed but he is a replacement for the original ghost who had been Lang's aide and who had met an unfortunate end when he fell or was pushed from a ferryThe ghost's escapade is fraught with danger His greatest problem and this is a great part of the book because it really stirred me up is that he brings a lot of that peril upon himself by his foolish actions I found myself having to exercise great self restraint as I resisted the temptation to yell at the pages of my book No Don't do that Don't go there Don't make that call Don't send that email and so on He's an intelligent man but he can be so foolishThere are a few major shocks and there are a few incidents in the book which I am sure Harris intended to be shocking but were entirely predictableAs I indicated in my introduction following the biggest twist of all towards the end of the book it fades away and the last few pages are a bit disappointing when compared to the excitement that rolls through most of the story up to that point It is easy to believe that most of the events described in The Ghost could really have happenedAll in all this was a great read I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers and I shall certainly bee reading books by Robert Harris My dilemma is whether to choose Fatherland or The Fear Index


  9. says:

    I have read a number of Robert Harris’s books I have found him to be an excellent historical novelist According to my records I originally read this book in 2008 and it was first published in 2007 When I got this book I did not realize I had read it before because of the different title The original was named “The Ghost” this one is “The Ghostwriter” This book is entirely different from Harris’s usual writingsThis story is narrated by the man who is a professional ghostwriter He has been hired by a publishing company to complete a political memoir on a former British Prime Minister The prior ghostwriter has just died Harris has the regular story plot going but underneath he has a subtler serious discussion about political memoires truth the use or abuse of power international law and politics Also there is a on going discussion about the role of ghostwriting I found the story interesting and it did start me thinking about the topic I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is almost nine hours Roger Rees does an excellent job narrating the book Rees is a Welsh actor as well as an audiobook narrator Rees has won the Olivier and Tony Awards as well as the Obie Award


  10. says:

    I supposed this was a roman a clef since Harris was –as mentioned everywhere a former friend of the Blairs It’s just a thriller with enough links with what we think is the reality of politics to feel as fact And he wields a scalpel on them with finesse and venom An ex British PM is “writing” his memoirs with the help of a former aide who is found drowned in an apparent suicide Enters a professional ghost writer the first person narrator of the novel whose name we never found out And then a series of suspicious events make him an investigator in the early life of the PM and wife and he uncovers than is good for his sanity Harris writes well his novels are entertaining and his characters engaging so the book made me a slave for two days The main character is maybe a bit naïve and the uncovering of facts through Google surfing appears as a bit too easy but the overall plot feels right Not knowing a thing about British politics I didn’t find parallels and in my mind the ex PM of The Ghost was someone composed by a lot of Hollywood males But whenever the wife was mentioned I saw Cherie Blair in my head


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