- Casete de audio
- Editor: Brilliance Audio Lib Edn; Edición: Unabridged (14 de julio de 2008)
- Colección: Weiss and Bishop
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1423312880
- ISBN-13: 978-1423312888
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Empire of Lies (Weiss and Bishop) (Inglés)
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A man of deep religious faith and principle, Jason Harrow's stable family life is threatened when his past comes back to haunt him in the person of a former lover who wants him to find her missing daughter, sending him on a quest back to New York City and into the heart of a murderous conspiracy that makes him the target of terrorists and authorities alike. Simultaneous.
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The story is gripping, sad, hilariously funny and thought provoking. It's also more evidently plausible now than it seemed when the book came out in 2008.
It ends on joy, and on the peace of renewed purpose. (I won't tell you how, but think of Demeter's joy seeing her daughter emerging alive from the earth; or think of The Prodigal Son.) If you've ever waited with a kid going through a hard time, and felt the relief of knowing he's (she's) come out of it, read this book. Keep tissues handy.
The story reminds us we're given infinitely more reason to be grateful than we deserve.
If you notice patterns in the events of the day, wondering why no one else has identified the same, then gotten lightheaded from the spin as your thoughts are swept away by the pivoting of intellectually dishonest media and weak-willed response from our nation’s leaders, you will enjoy this book.
If you are a hard left wonk, you will not.
On that note, Klavan may be a bit guilty of preaching to the converted here; he might have gotten a few more in the mushy middle or even liberals to accept his thesis with the removal of an early screed. (I don’t know if fiction can create converts, exactly, but the Left has certainly cornered the market on indoctrination, so Klavan’s attempt is welcome and overdue.)
You may realize I haven’t spent any time on the plot yet. The revelation is that Empire of Lies could be described as a “typical” thriller. I mean to say, its skin could be hung on the bones of a leftist or apolitical thriller. The fact that it is told from a right-wing perspective makes it feel fresh and new. Conservative-leaning thrillers aren’t exactly unicorns – they do exist. I just wasn’t completely aware they could be quite this good, relevant and ballsy. While I enjoy the thrillers of Brad Thor, for example, he’s simply not as gifted a writer. Klavan is the real deal, a stylist who can compete – nay, defeat – parallel efforts from the ideological left. When he describes the push of a crowd or the intensity of a fight, you can feel the room spinning as your eyes scan ever more quickly across and down the pages. But he’s equally effective in the quiet moments describing a calm campus vista or a girl sitting on a swing.
The plot involves a happily married, born-again man with a dark past and a daughter he didn’t know he had. She falls in with a bad crowd and witnesses a murder. The reasons for the murder go much higher than simple street crime, and along the way Klavan skewers thinly disguised caricatures of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. He also gives ample time to a character clearly meant to be Shatner; this portrayal is not flattering, yet he achieves some measure of redemption. The whole thing all pays off in a propulsive, dizzying climax, the location of which you’ll probably guess early on, but which I will not reveal here.
Now, the elephant in the room: Klavan is a Christian writer who delves into content and subject matter that would not pass muster on the shelves in Christian bookstores. In Empire of Lies, he weaves passages of beautifully Biblical content, followed by dark and detailed recollections of a sinful man who still struggles with – even casually gives in to – temptation. Klavan is arguably being honest with that portrayal, but I will admit a bit of disappointment at each swear word the hero utters and each randy thought he entertains. Such a portrayal may also be valid, but gives ammo to all that say Christians are hypocrites who judge others but don’t hold themselves to the same standard, which could be seen as weakening Klavan’s overall stance in this book. Still, I don’t care too much for overly sanitized thrillers because they so rarely thrill, something Klavan’s novel does in spades … so I will *forgive* him. (Pay attention to the foreword – with its theme of withholding judgment, and the epilogue, with its themes of confession, penance, punishment, and redemption not as The World gives – for more insight toward Klavan’s intent.)
Besides, it’s not complete right-wing rant. Klavan does an admirable job (the skill is admirable, not necessarily the intent) of leavening the character’s growing certainty he has uncovered a jihadist plot with his own creeping paranoia that he could be merely a mentally diseased zealot. Because the story is told in first person, the reader isn’t ever certain until very near the end, which results in the page-turningest book I’ve read in years. The protagonist is relatable, the villains are complex, side characters are rendered in shades of gray – Klavan is no pedantic slouch.
Klavan’s true accomplishment is to reveal the hypocrisy of those who preach against America’s founding values while benefiting from its freedom to do so, and to reveal it in a book that entertains from beginning to end. He shows the double standard of media coverage toward those who might deign to think America is or has ever been right. And he calls out those who are willfully blind to the intellectualization of evil in the name of tolerance – that’s the Empire of Lies. When I read the eponymous section, it was the only time I really put the book down – and only for a moment – to have my Charlie-Brown-at-the-Psychiatrist moment and shout “That’s it!”
If Empire of Lies doesn’t get banned and mass-burned in the next 8-12 years, it could become the “1984” of the post-9/11 generation.
This story is very engaging, in the sense that we have a recognizable male narrator who presents his point of view clearly and honestly, and who falls, via a series of steps anyone might take, into a dire situation. Because of that it was an easier and faster read than most books I tackle.
The early pages brought to mind the kind of books my dad enjoyed for light reading, back in the days when I was just beginning to pay attention. One of those even started out the same way--with the main character being summoned by phone to come to the aid of a woman he'd known years earlier. Perhaps there's something formulaic in that. Much later in the story there's another very stereotypical scene. So be it. I kept reading out of sheer fascination.
You aren't likely to find a more thrilling scene than the one in which our hero is attacked in his home by four crazed intruders. And that's not even the climax.
The perverse lecture by the celebrity college professor and the behavior of media people reminded me of Ari Mendelson's Bias Incident: The World's Most Politically Incorrect Novel. I want to think figures like that are caricatures, but probably the only reason they seem unrealistic to me is that I shield myself from such voices most of the time. Unfortunately, I encounter them whenever I inadvertently follow a link into The Washington Post or its ilk, and Klavan's depiction has them dead to rights.
If there's a part I didn't particularly like, it was the main character's interaction with the cops. In stories like this the police are often unreliable at best, so we could say that's part of the genre. Still, these cops are downright creepy. But also quite possibly realistic, as far as I know.
The conclusion is surprisingly touching, and just right. With this book, Klavan has gone onto my short list of favorite living authors.