The Ghost
Robert Harris
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Buy *The Ghost* by Robert Harris online

The Ghost
Robert Harris
Pocket Star
448 pages
August 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Most notable about The Ghost is the quality of Robert Harris's writing. I've read a lot of books recently and, within a few pages of starting this one, it became clear that he has a huge skill in narrative and description. It's interesting to see how he changes the sorts of books he writes, going from Enigma, set in World War II, to Pompeii, set in the time of Ancient Rome, to The Ghost, a modern-day political story. A ghostwriter finds he's taken on more than he expected in assisting with the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang. Lang's previous ghostwriter died as an apparent suicide but as the new ghostwriter (who is never named) settles into the house with Lang and his entourage on Martha's Vineyard. He starts uncovering some strange evidence, and it begins to look as if his own life isn't entirely safe.

Adam Lang bears a marked similarity to Tony Blair, and some of the issues in the book (UK collusion with the USA's extraordinary rendition and the war on terror) are still very significant. Less politics infuse the book than I expected, but there were some interesting insights into the work of a ghostwriter, and the setting in Martha's Vineyard is well-researched.

There are still a few unanswered questions by the end of the book, and in some ways the end is a slight letdown. The story isn't at the standard of Enigma or Pompeii, but it's still a much better read than most thrillers, and Harris's facility with language is great to read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2009

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