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The Testament

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  79,691 Ratings  ·  2,006 Reviews
Troy Phelan, a 78-year-old eccentric and the 10th-richest man in America, is about to read his last will and testament, divvying up an estate worth $11 billion. Phelan's three ex-wives, their grasping spawn, a legion of lawyers, several psychiatrists, and a plethora of sound technicians wait breathlessly, all eyes glued to digital monitors as they watch the old man read hi ...more
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 435 pages
Published February 2nd 1999 by Doubleday (first published 1999)
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36th out of 265 books — 135 voters
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416th out of 1,903 books — 2,263 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 29, 2007 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I learned from this book:

1) Everyone should have a fully executed will.
2) A poorly written Will is bad estate planning.
3) If you have lots of money and hate your family, make them think you are giving them $11 billion and then swap the Will that gives them nothing, and then jump off a building plunging to your death so that they can't do anything but settle with the estate.

This is my first Grisham book. And many more to come, I am sure!
Mar 08, 2008 sarafem rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An overly preachy and hastily written Grisham novel with his typical battle of big money versus the good of heart. I am always drawn to Grisham for a good rainy day read and the premise sounded pretty good, but from page one this one is a waste of time. Too many characters bogged the story down and it dragged on and on, especially when Grisham started getting preachy. By the end of the book, it felt like Grisham had tired of the story himself, and just threw something together to be done with it ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Quentin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books I have ever read. Grisham does a great job of blending the law genre and the adventure genre. Nate O' Reilly, the main character is a lawyer fresh out of rehab, for the fourth time. Nate travels to South America to find out more about Rachel Lane, mysterious illegitimate heir to Troy Phelan's 11 billion dollar will. Out of Troy's 3 marriages, dozen's of children, Rachel Lane gets it all. Nate travels to Corùmba, Brazil in hopes to find Rachel Lane, a missio
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Testament, John Grisham
عنوان: وصیتنامه؛ نویسنده: جان گریشام؛ مترجم: بهرام افراسیابی ؛ تهران، مجتمع انتشاراتی ایران، 1378، در 437 ص؛ شاب: 9646273165؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م
شروع داستان: من مالک این بنای بلند شیشه ای هستم که اینک در آن نشستهام؛ نود و هفت درصد از شرکت خانه سازی که در زیر پایم است؛ به همراه زمینهای پیرامون آن به وسعت نیم مایل در نیم مایل و کارکنانی که در آن جا مشغول کارند؛ همه در حیطه اختیار من هستند. دو سال پیش وصیت نامه ای نوشتم و همه دارایی خود را به آخری
Mar 22, 2016 Mahlon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Testament is an above average effort, but I wouldn't put it among Grisham's best. The subject is probate, which Grisham seems to enjoy and always does well. This time an eccentric billionaire Troy Phelan(One of my favorite Grisham characters ever) jumps out of a window to his death, after writing a new will, leaving his $11 Billion estate in limbo.

Despite being fully engaged by the story, there are a few things I didn't like about the book. I found the main character Nate O'reilly completely
I'm going to write a review. I'm going to do it. Why? Personal reasons.
first of all, I feel like John Grisham tries too hard to make this book seem action packed and suspenseful, when really, it's very predictable, cliche and slow moving. You always know what's coming. I found myself only reading one chapter, then putting it down. Then coming back hours later, reading another chapter maybe two, then putting it down again, etc. It didn't hold much interest. The only reason I read it so fa
Mar 04, 2016 Venkatesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a shining light of what is really important in life. We all struggle in some ways. You just need to stay focused on what is really important
Jane Stewart
Feb 01, 2012 Jane Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-fiction
Not much suspense, but a good story with unique and interesting characters.

Eccentric billionaire leaves all his money to an illegitimate child Rachel no one knew about. His six grandchildren are greedy idiots who hire attorneys to contest the will. Josh is executor of the will. He needs someone to go to the jungles of Brazil to find Rachel who is working with tribes as a Christian missionary. Josh asks Nate to go. Nate was a high-powered litigator who has been in rehab several times
Apr 27, 2007 Charissa added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I learned it's more important to forget the materialism of this world and be self-less for Christ like the heroine of this book was, than to get caught up in making a name for myself in my short time on earth. I forget the amount of family fortune she'd inherited, but she was so lost in her love for Christ that she was oblivious to the inheritance itself until a lawyer tracked her down from U.S to the Amazon to tell her/award her the inheritance. Her other-worldness was in stark contrast to the ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Carie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had I not purchased this book I wouldn’t have finished it. The allure of reading about eleven billion-dollar estate was quickly tarnished by the slow, repetitive, boring adventures of a recovering alcoholic who while on a search for the missing illegitimate heir has a religious awakening. There were no twists and turns or unexpected events that I have I come to expect in John Grisham novels.
Jenny Maloney
Feb 14, 2008 Jenny Maloney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read
I'm impressed that I made it through to the end. At first it seemed like a cool idea...guy goes down to jungle and comes out a changed man. Instead it's more about finding God within a malaria-fevered haze. Grisham entering his 'very-preachy' stage.
Nov 11, 2008 Shana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 1st-quarter

I am reading The Testament, by John Grisham.It's about a man named Nate who is put in charge of finding the illigitament daughter of a billionaire.She's a missionary to a remote jungle and is, as far as he knows, unreachable.So he sets out on a journey with vivid characters and challenging situations.Jevy the body guard and Milton the pilot befriend him and try to help him on his journey.I love this book.I can't stop reading because Grisham describes Nate's trials with such color and emoti
Joan Colby
I prefer Grisham’s hero as a rascally conniver, rather than as a reformed drunk who has found Jesus. Nate, in The Testament, is the latter so the story lacks the edge that glosses many of Grisham’s novels with a saving caustic humor. The sections describing the interior of Brazil and Nate’s journey to find the missing heiress, missionary Rachel, moves like a slow and somewhat boring travelogue, despite the addition of storms, alligators and dengue fever. Grisham’s books often serve me as diversi ...more
Michael Shiu
Apr 05, 2014 Michael Shiu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an enjoyable and entertaining read, but unsatisfying for me in the end...

Don't read further if you are concerned about spoilers...

The book started out with the multi-billionaire Troy Phelan (and written in the first person). I found the beginning of the book engaging... It was interesting to see what was going on in Troy's mind as he thought about his life, his money and his family... It was a bit jarring when he jumped to his death... Now what? The first person perspective of Troy
James Korsmo
Feb 29, 2016 James Korsmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though different from many of his other books, I think The Testament goes down as one of my Grisham favorites. Troy Phelan, a self-made billionaire, jumps to a spectacular death after signing a will leaving his fortune to an unknown daughter, Rachel Lane, and spurning his six other children by three failed marriages, all of whom are circling like vultures waiting for their lucky day to finally arrive. The wrinkle is that Rachel is a missionary in a remote part of Brazil, and is totally out of to ...more
Todd Russell
Aug 29, 2013 Todd Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, novel, legal
Tenth in publishing order, THE TESTAMENT, shows an author with no sign of wear and tear.

Some guys don't like admitting they cry, but I don't care if others think I'm a wimp for this book making my eyes water. My oh my, it was good! I think it's a tie for me with A Time to Kill, both are brilliantly executed stories. I'm getting ahead of myself. Stay with me, this one cooks.

It starts in first person narrative with crotchety rich old guy, Troy Phelan, describing it detail just how desperately he w
Shane Mcparland
It was okay, a lot of the characters are cliches. No "whore with a heart of gold", but close enough. My first Grisham novel and I'm disappointed.

I felt it was a pedestal for Grisham to push his views out to people that largely already agree with him. I'm going to guess a largely conservative crowd. I found it annoying how he idealized christianity over the tribal religion. And how he idealized the missionary at all. She really was a cliche of the dedicated missionary, the matriarch and virtue o
Jan 19, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly entertaining novel from John Grisham - while still sticking to his legal routes, this novel takes place primarily in Africa, as a troubled partner from a DC firm tries to execute the last will and testament of a cruel yet brilliant business man who intentionally left out his extensive crazy family from his inheritance. A quick, enjoyable read that will leave you wondering what you would have done in the position of both the dying business man and the spiritual doctor living an imm ...more
This was the first John Grisham book I've ever read. Prior to discussing it as a book club choice, I had the idea in my head that he wrote horror books. I was delightfully surprised that the genre was a legal thriller, not horror, as that would be low on the list of book choices for me. Reflecting on the book, I experienced multiple emotions towards or against the characters.

Some points I pondered after finishing the book:

*Through the first few chapters, I couldn't tell if there was going to be
Iuliana Manea
Mar 15, 2014 Iuliana Manea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm trying to read more books from the same author and The Testament was the next on my Grisham list.
It's quite nice and as the book went along I wanted a happy ending. Didn't quite get what I expected, but still was a nice read.
A very wealthy man, with a self-made fortune, leaves all his money to a kid born out of marriage. She does not want the money, as she found God and is happy with her life as a Christian missionary among the indians from Brazil. But the book isn't about the money, but ab
Nov 19, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't imagine how I ever missed reading Grisham's The Testament. Like most of his stories, one is taken on a first rate journey. I was as always, swept away in the the fast moving adventure. If you've not experienced reading this one, do so. You won't be disappointed.
Jul 17, 2014 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Refreshing read.

A billionaire, Tom Phelan, who has not been the best dad in the world, has made poor choices in wives, and has children who are totally worthless, has decided to stage the signing of his last will and testament. He has some surprises up his sleeve, and as he leaves the world he leaves a mess for his law firm to clean up.

Nate, a lawyer in rehab, has been chosen to find Tom's missing daughter named Rachel. A child no one new existed. This child is now in h
Brief summary: One of the richest men in the world writes his idiot descendents out of his will and leaves everything to Rachel, an illegitimate daughter no one knew about, a missionary somewhere in South America. Mainly, the book is about the emotional journey of Nate the Lawyer, fresh from rehab, who has to search for Rachel in the jungle. While Nate rides a slow boat through a swamp, the idiot descendents and their lawyers run about in a frenzy to contest the will.
Why I liked this book:
1. It
Feb 09, 2009 Endah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Troy Phelan, orang nomor sepuluh paling kaya di Amerika Serikat, melompat dari lantai empat belas gedung kantornya di kawasan McLean Virginia. Ia bunuh diri. Tanpa ampun tubuh tuanya yang renta terhempas di lantai batu. Ia mati dalam genangan darahnya. sendiri Kematian yang tragis.

Sebelumnya, lima menit yang lalu, ia baru saja bertemu seluruh anggota keluarganya yang terdiri dari : tiga orang mantan istri dan enam orang putra putri beserta para pengacara mereka, membicarakan masalah warisan seb
Aug 09, 2008 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just posted this as a 4 star and was immediately challenged! let me preface this by saying unless I want to warn you not to bother reading a truly terrible book, I only list books that I consider well written and/or so engaging and/or so popular that you should probably read them as a cultural reference. That said, I read a number of books that I don't list, because even though they are not especially well written, I read them because they are entertaining, they are my beach books, those guil ...more
Jun 27, 2009 JBradford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Testament, by John Grisham
Grisham is always good, and he has a marvelous way of weaving an intricate plot. This one begins when an aging, irascible multibillionaire, Troy Phelan, decides to bedevil his three ex-wives and six children one last time; he sets up a situation whereby he will be examined by psychiatrists selected by them to establish that he is of sound mind, after which he publically and on camera signs the attorney-created will that gives them each a billion or so … and then, as
Tracy Darity
Feb 08, 2011 Tracy Darity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever watch a game show like Who Wants to be a Millionaire and the contestant gets to the last question and a big smile covers their face because the answer is something they have just read or heard? Well, while in the process of reading The Testament I dreamed I was that contestant and the question centered around the Pantanol, situated in Corumba, Brazil…but I digress.

The Testament was typical John Grisham. It was enjoyable, informative, and entertaining. Troy Phelan is an aging billionaire wit
Jun 18, 2009 Marky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been an adventure for me. From the start, being in the mind of Troy Phelan, an old man whose death is just hours away. He was a billionaire who was writing his last testament. His entire family was in his estate waiting for the will, expecting to become millionaires. What they didn't know was that they weren't getting a cent from the will. Troy leaves his entire estate to an unknown daughter named Rachael lane. Then he jumps off the building. In my opinion, Troy did the right thin ...more
Natallie Kulu
Jul 16, 2012 Natallie Kulu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
such a remarkable story about three different people, who have different values and aspirations. Troy Phelan is a self made billionaire, one of the richest men in the united states married three times with 6 spoilt children who have no care of their fathers wellbeing except his fortune. Troy is however old, eccentric, his stories are whimsical and he is bound to a wheelchair looking for a way to die . Nate O'Riley is a high washington litigator who has been in rehab for four times. Emerging out ...more
Jr Bacdayan
The Testament's first five chapters is so full of impact. Those five chapters are dazzling pieces of story telling that may be Grisham's best start, even better than The Client's. Sadly, the rest of the book fades in comparison. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not saying the rest of the book isn't good, it's just not that brilliant like those five are. To quote from USA Today's Larry King "The Testament has the best first 50 pages for pure storytelling impact that I have ever read." The rest of th ...more
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
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“If you're gonna be stupid you gotta be tough.” 147 likes
“Shame was an emotion he had abandoned years earlier. Addicts know no shame. You disgrace yourself so many times you become immune to it.” 81 likes
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