Libby's Reviews > Empire of Lies

Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan
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's review
Sep 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: to-read
Read in September, 2010

I have read numerous books by Andrew Klavan and enjoyed them. He is a masterful mystery/thriller writer who not only tells a good yarn but creates characters who undergo transforming journeys.

EMPIRE OF LIES was another home run. But it's not for the faint of heart. Mr. Klavan is blunt and outspoken, through his narrator, about what he believes is the truth in the war against terror. If you don't want to read a story where the protagonist unabashedly identifies islamofascists as the criminals, this isn't for you.

In fact, when I first started reading the book, I wondered if it was for me. Not that I disagreed with Mr. Klavan's point of view, mind you. It's just that he was so explicit with it, and I prefer more subtlety. The farther I got into the book, though, I realized the subtlety was there, and he had merely been laying the foundation for what turned out to be a dense, rich story about man's capacity for good and evil, exploring whether the ends does justify the means, and how difficult it is -- especially in an age of information everywhere -- to recognize and speak the truth.

Jason Harrow, the protagonist, stumbles upon a terrorist plot when he encounters, on a trip home to NYC, a teen who may or may not be his progeny. As he tries to sort through what he thinks is the truth, he must confront his own paranoia and past bad behavior that comes to haunt him vividly through the rest of the story. He wrestles with his own demons and doubts while trying to save his new-found daughter and the as-yet-unidentified targets of the terrorist plot.

Along the way, he's helped -- though not obviously, at first -- by a William Shatner-like character whose ridiculous persona ends up masking a laser-sharp vision of the truth.

The book has the feel of a sci-fi story at times, and one review pegs its setting as "the near future," which made sense to me.

While some readers might find Mr. Klavan's in-your-face political style not to their liking, the story works as a straightforward thriller told by a sometimes unreliable narrator.

Highly recommended.

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