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The Broker

A book by John Grisham.

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One of his better works of late...

  • Jun 1, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
It used to be that I really looked forward to a new Grisham novel. Action-packed legal thriller, life and death situations, etc. But then after a few books, the writing seemed to get somewhat uneven and I didn't quite know what I'd get each time I started a new one. John Grisham's latest, The Broker, ended up being one of his better ones of late. I really enjoyed it.

Joel Backman, aka The Broker, was a high-powered player in the Washington scene until he took the fall for a espionage and conspiracy charge involving spy satellites and software that the U. S. didn't know existed. Six years into a 20 year sentence, he's offered a full pardon and whisked off to Italy to start a new life off the beaten path. But all is not as it appears. In reality, the CIA has set up the pardons so that they can notify four other governments who are involved in the satellite situation. Based on who goes after Backman and kills him, they'll be able to tell who the satellites belong to. The story revolves around Backman's adjustment to learning the language and culture of the country, and then his attempts to stay alive and escape those who want him dead.

As mentioned in the open, I found this to be one of his better efforts. The story was interesting, and there was enough mystery involved so as to keep you guessing as to exactly what was going to happen next. It was also fascinating to see how someone can go from a life of power and money clear down to prison and then work on acquiring street smarts in order to just stay alive. I felt the ending left quite a bit up in the air and somewhat unresolved, but not so much that it soured the entire story for me. Basically, it was an entertaining read that contained some enjoyable hours of escape.

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More The Broker reviews
review by . October 02, 2010
With technology stolen from two US defense contractors, a cutting edge satellite surveillance system dubbed Neptune was secretly built and launched under the very nose of the CIA and the rest of the world's elite spy communities - Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, England and China. Nobody even knew of the system's top secret existence (let alone who was operating it) until two brilliant Pakistani computer wizards unwittingly hacked into the system and parlayed that illicit entry into an astonishing …
Quick Tip by . October 02, 2010
More than just an enjoyable spy vs spy thriller with the legal sub-text for which Grisham is so well known. As difficult as this might be to believe, it is also a charming romance and a well done travelogue on the city of Bologna. This odd juxtaposition of styles may not work for everybody but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Quick Tip by . September 30, 2010
A powerful thriller that says a great deal about the power and misuse of power in the CIA combined, as difficult as this might be to believe, with a rather charming travelogue of the city of Bologna! Go figure!
review by . September 15, 2008
The Broker
1. Choose a European country for your next vacation. Pick a nice little town with a rich history, nice people and great food.     2. Throw a dart at the country map, with your eyes open, as many times as it takes to hit the aforementioned town.     3. Buy a Michelin Guide and use it as material for 90% of the book you're going to write.     4. Go and see for yourself if the guide is accurate - take your time, avoid the mistake of eating …
review by . April 01, 2005
Fast-paced, intriguing thriller that is hard to put down!! At the center of the tale is of course a wayward lawyer; in this case, it's Joel Backman--a Washington lobbyist whose greed for power, money and women is legendary. Backman gets his hands on a computer software written by a few brilliant young men that is able to control spy satellites that are orbiting the earth--satellites whose existence to this point had been completely unknown. When Backman decides to represent his clients in their …
review by . February 22, 2005
I've found John Grisham to be uneven. Sometimes he is a fun read; sometimes I just give up and move on.     In "The Broker," Grisham is near the top of his form.     In a tale filled with sleazy characters, Joel Backman is no better or worse than the President of the United States who, at the urging of his corrupt advisor, pardons Backman. Backman is a guest of the government, sitting in solitary with years to run on his sentence. Suddenly he is offered a …
review by . January 17, 2005
Joel Backman, ex-lobbyist and Washington power broker doing time in a Federal prison is pardoned after only six years of a twenty-year sentence by a one-term president at the behest of the CIA, hours before the inauguration of the new president. The theory is that many influential people want Backman dead (the Saudi's, the Israeli's, the Chinese, the Russian's...), that eventually one of them will take him out and the CIA will be privy to some long sought after information. Thus, the ex-power broker …
About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #43
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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Wiki

Before he was sent to federal prison for treason (among other things), Joel Backman was an extremely powerful man. Known as "the broker," Backman was a high roller--a lawyer making $10 million a year who could "open any door in Washington." That is, until he tried to broker a deal selling access to the world's most powerful satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder. When caught, Backman accepted prison as the one option that would keep him safe and alive, since the interested parties (the Israelis, the Saudis, the Russians, and the Chinese) were all itching to get their hands on his secrets at any cost. Little does he know that his own government has designs on accessing that information--or at least letting it die with him. Now, six years after his incarceration, the director of the CIA convinces a lame duck president to pardon Backman, and the broker becomes a free man--and an open target.

The Broker marries the best of John Grisham's many talents--his ability to immerse himself in the culture of small town life (in this case, Bologna, Italy), and his uncanny mastery of the chase. The first half of the book focuses on Backman's transformation from infamous power broker to helpless victim in his own game. Upon his release from prison, Backman is taken into "protective custody" and whisked off to Italy where he is assigned a new identity, and a tutor to help him blend in. Sure he is on the run, but some readers may feel ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0385510454
ISBN-13: 978-0385510455
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Doubleday
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