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The Ghost

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3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,696 Ratings  ·  935 Reviews
Britain's former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project - a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his distinguished new client ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2007)
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Tim "The Enchanter"
Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca

It's All about the Finish - 3.5 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 more appropriately, a profess
...more
Lance Greenfield
Apr 29, 2015 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 on.

The story is narrated in the first person by the ghost writer who is commissioned to
...more
Dennis D.
To me, a good thriller can be like a colonic...something breezy and unsubstantial to flush the system out, especially if one has just finished something bloated and ponderous (I'm talking about YOU, Tree of Smoke)!

"The Ghost" is a good thriller. A recently retired-from-office British Prime Minister hires a ghost-writer (duh- because the story is written in the first person, I never noticed that the name of the narrator/protagonist is never supplied) to help him write his memoirs. Our hero is the
...more
Susy
Aug 01, 2008 Susy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sean Peters
Another first read author for me, I guess Robert Harris most well known book, as well as a film, I think realised in the USA as The Ghost Writer.

Britain's former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghost writer is sent out to rescue the project - a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his dist
...more
will
Mar 27, 2008 will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


The Ghost by Robert Harris.

A roller-coaster of a book - and not in a good way.

I like Robert Harris books and I loved his last one - Imperium. I loved it so much that I was really looking forward to the next in the series (neil h. informed me that it was part of a trilogy). Therefore I was a little meh about the fact he had taken time out to write The Ghost. Damn writers and their need to write a story instead of the one I wanted to read! However, there was branch of Borders shutting down t'other
...more
Marian
May 07, 2015 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Ghost, an extraordinarily auspicious thriller of power, politics, corruption, and murder. Dashing, captivating Adam Lang was Britain's longest serving -- and most controversial -- prime minister of the last half century, whose career ended in tatters after he sided with America in an unpopular war on terror. Now, after stepping down in disgrace, Lang is hiding out in wintry Martha's Vineyard to finish his much sought-after, potentially explosive memoir, for which he accepted one of history's ...more
The Behrg
Oct 08, 2015 The Behrg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Ghost," or "The Ghost Writer" is a political thriller that dives into a ghost writer's journey in penning the autobiography of former prime minister Adam Lang. Along the way there are conspiracies, murders, and a lot of uncovering of the truth. I found this read pretty engrossing while not quite "thrilling." Loved the way Harris revealed Lang's past and present, with the constant underlying question of who this man really is. The supporting characters were each fully realized and the "ghost ...more
James Schubring
Jul 25, 2011 James Schubring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ghost by Robert Harris is the first book about a writer that I can remember getting excited to read, glad to trumpet, and eager to put on my 'must read again' list.

It's tough to write a novel about a writer. Most of writing is, unfortunately, solitary and tedious. Write a line, hate it, delete it, rewrite it. A lot of bad literary fiction treats the writerly life, as stumped writers write about what they know: writing badly. This novel is about a ghostwriter who specializes in doing fast mem
...more
Mike Kimera
Apr 01, 2010 Mike Kimera rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
"The Ghost" is well written. The comments on writing and what it means to be a ghost writer resonate as truthful. The metaphors are a little fanciful sometimes but fit well into the text.

Unfortunately, the book disappoints for four reasons:

The central premise of the book - the mystery which I will not share here - is clever and cleverly managed but, in many ways, the secret this British PM who went to war with Iraq is hiding is much less shocking than the behaviour of actual British Prime Minis
...more
MD
Feb 16, 2009 MD rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is a topical thriller with a British Prime Minister politically based on Tony Blair (I have no idea about the personal stuff). At the beginning of his career he was nearly as popular as Obama. At the end, he was reviled as a puppet of the US. He is writing his memoirs, and naturally everyone wants to know the truth about the War on Terror--except, of course, those who don't want their secrets revealed. As thrillers go, this one is fairly low-key--more psychological than action. I really lik ...more
Susan Johnson
Oct 25, 2014 Susan Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I had Pierce Brosnan firmly in my mind as I read this, it was still an interesting read and kept my attention. The story involves a professional ghost writer who is brought in to finish the "autobiography" of a former British Prime Minister. The former ghost writer recently died and there is a publishing deadline looming.

There is an investigation of some of the former leader's activities and the action becomes fast paced and dangerous. The players seem to fit the stereotypical roles
...more
Jacquelynn Luben
Sep 16, 2011 Jacquelynn Luben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With serendipitous timing, my book circle read ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris, this month. Serendipitous, because the main character of the book is someone engaged to be the ghost writer of the ex-Prime Minister of the UK, who resembles to a certain extent our own ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair. In the novel, he is accused of crimes relating to extraordinary rendition, which, of course, has been in the news again quite recently. In addition, we have just observed the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the ...more
Michael
Jul 21, 2012 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I purchased this paperback somewhat accidentally. It was a quick impulsive purchase enticed by a thinking error that Robert Harris was the author of the Hannibal series and now was writing British political thrillers! Silly me.

I have tried over the past two years to read and listen to this novel but could never quite get much of anywhere with it. That is until recently. Somehow, maybe it was because I had nothing else to read, i allowed myself to become hooked onto the audiobook. Exactly one wee
...more
Johan Radzi
Jul 19, 2012 Johan Radzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghostwriter atau Penulis Hantu adalah penulis yang menulis dibelakang tadbir. Mereka biasanya menulis autobiografi, novel, artikel, dan seumpama bukan untuk menerima sebarang kredit, tetapi hanya sekadar penulis dan tidak lebih dari itu. Adalah kebiasaan bagi mereka untuk diupah oleh selebriti dan Ahli Politik untuk "membantu" mereka dalam menyiapkan memoir.

Disini, seorang narrator yang tidak bernama, atau aku lebih gemar memanggilnya disini sebagai "Penulis Hantu" telah ditugaskan untuk menulis
...more
Jennie
Dec 23, 2011 Jennie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Call me crazy, but I like my thrillers to be...thrilling?

This book started off interestingly enough, with a great first line and a premise with potential: ghost writer called in to finish writing an ex-Prime Minister's memoirs after the first writer dies suddenly.

That's where the "interesting" ends, unfortunately. Instead of a taut thriller, Harris gives us 400-odd pages of "Martha's Vineyard is cold and wet in February, and I'm gonna have all the characters call the narrator 'man' and 'you' bec
...more
Grace Tjan
SPOILER WARNING


Decently written, if somewhat predictable in its conclusion. Adam Lang is an ex British PM whose policies were so pro-US that he must have been a CIA puppet --- and yes, it turns out to be literally true (DUH!). And the said handler is no other than the former first lady herself (GASP!), who was recruited before she even met him. Somehow, Lang has been married to her for more than a quarter of a century without ever finding out about it (HMM, REALLY!?). Apparently the CIA is so mu
...more
Kathleen Dixon
A successful ghost-writer is suddenly asked to complete the ex-British Prime Minister's memoirs. Against his better judgement he says yes, and finds himself in Martha's Vineyard in the winter, among a group of highly stressed people (the ex-PM, his wife, a PA, some secretaries, the security team) who are having to deal with fall-out from the collusion with the US in the "War on Terror" and torture of prisoners.

Our ghost-writer notices a few strange things, but bumbles along notwithstanding, unti
...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
An enjoyable thriller. I decided to read The Ghost after seeing the film and finding out it was based on a book by Robert Harris (I loved Fatherland).

I'm glad I watched the film first as the book is packed with many more details (as is almost always the case) and was actually quite surprised that the ending is so different. The book in itself is an entertaining read and Harris is a great story-teller. The plot is fast-paced, the characters interesting (not as two-dimensional as they are in the
...more
Sam Reaves
Don't invite Tony Blair and Robert Harris to the same party. A lot of people in the U.K. will never forgive the former prime minister for taking Britain into Iraq at George Bush's bidding; Harris was so incensed he wrote this indignant roman à clef, which doesn't take much of a clef to figure out. A former British prime minister, an extremely thinly disguised Blair ("Adam Lang") is holed up at a billionaire pal's house on Martha's Vineyard, supervising the production of his memoirs. The staffer ...more
Nick Marsh
Apr 02, 2014 Nick Marsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First a confession – I love everything Robert Harris has written, although it has to be said that some of his novels are fantastic whilst others are merely ‘very good.’
His niche is to completely research a dramatic sequence from history, from the story of Cicero, in Imperium and Lustrum, through to Adam Lang, in The Ghost. Once research is done, he sews fact and fiction in such a close weave that in the end it almost doesn’t matter if we know what is fiction and what is not – everything seems to
...more
Moataz Muhammad
May 29, 2015 Moataz Muhammad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a Ghost Writer, it gives you many incites about numerous measures, but it carries much more dangers, especially when you are good at it.

I guess that is what that book tried to say.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book altogether, especially after watching the movie and appreciating the flow of the story.
Stephen
"I know the Internet is the stuff a paranoiac's dreams are made of. I know it parcels up everything -- Lee Harvey Oswald, Princess Diana, Opus Dei, AL Qaeda, Israel, M16, crop circles -- and with pretty blue ribbons of hyperlinks it ties them all into a single grand conspiracy. But I also know the wisdom of the old saying that a paranoiac is simply a person in full possession of the facts..."

With those words, a ghostwriter's struggle to find his client's voice begins to grow into a mystery thril
...more
Fan De Bauer
Leer un thriller cuando uno ya sabe el final es como ver un truco de magia cuando uno sabe que el mago simplemente oculta la carta bajo la manga y no la hizo desaparecer. No tiene emoción ni suspenso.

Y quizá por eso El poder en la sombra no me pareció la gran cosa. Vi la adaptación cinematográfica de Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer, más de una vez y la novela no se diferencia mucho de lo que se vio en pantalla. Hay que decirlo, es una muy buena adaptación.

Pero volviendo a la novela, la trama gi
...more
Kara
Oct 17, 2009 Kara rated it really liked it
Who says you have to be famous to write autobiographies? Not "the ghost", our narrator, a ghostwriter to the stars who tries to remain sane as his life spirals out of control and into the heady waters of political intrigue and conspiracy while "ghosting" the memoirs of the recently retired Labour prime minister. The similarities between Adam Lang (retired fictional prime minister) and Tony Blair (retired factual prime minister) are uncanny, despite the disclaimer at the front of the book. Althou ...more
Georg
Sep 14, 2010 Georg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, crime
Mike McAra, the ghost-writer of the British Prime Minister’s biography dies in America and the narrator, a successful ghost-writer himself, is assigned to finish the dead man’s task. He reveals – no surprise here – an international conspiracy and intrigue and in the end he has to run for his own life before he saves the world. A good plot, some surprises, some soft sex, some political background, in short: solid entertainment. If you like political thrillers you would give four stars, if you add ...more
Arun Divakar
My infatuation with political thrillers and the so-called conspiracies in high places began with Robert Ludlum's Bourne Trilogy which i read when i was practically jobless around 5 years ago. This was followed by a frenzy of such books from Ludlum to Forsyth to Brad Thor and one fine day as I was reading a Gerald Seymour book, I finally looked up and said "WTF".Just like a switch thrown off, i stopped reading the political thriller. Recently I found Robert Harris and his book "Fatherland" which ...more
Sue Uden
Aug 07, 2011 Sue Uden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a Readers Group choice and not one I would ever have chosen personally. But, not for the first time, I am pleased to have been steered in a different direction. I loved the writing style and was pleased not to have to go back over old ground to work out who was who, as I have found with previously read political novels. I was sufficiently gripped to keep me reading for good long stretches, in other words long enough to neglect other chores. I did find that I was making comparisons betwe ...more
Will Byrnes
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 more 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 wor ...more
Sam Quixote
Sep 19, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ghost writer is hired to help a former Prime Minister with his memoirs while he is holed up in America. The ex-Prime Minister's administration brought the UK into an unpopular "war against terror" to support the US and the Minister now stands accused of war crimes against terror suspects. Sound familiar? Except as the ghost writer goes deeper into the Minister's path he finds out murkier secrets along with a decades old conspiracy and that his predecessor died in mysterious circumstances...

I
...more
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ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his ...more
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“Of all human activities, writing is the one for which it is easiest to find excuses not to begin – the desk’s too big, the desk’s too small, there’s too much noise, there’s too much quiet, it’s too hot, too cold, too early, too late. I had learned over the years to ignore them all, and simply to start.” 48 likes
“A book unwritten is a delightful universe of infinite possibilities. Set down one word, however, and it immediately becomes earthbound. Set down one sentence and it’s halfway to being just like every other bloody book that’s ever been written.” 14 likes
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