My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 write the former prime minister’s memoirs. The name of the ghost writer is never revealed, but he is a replacement for the original ghost, who had been Lang’s aide and who had met an unfortunate end when he fell, or was pushed, from a ferry.
The ghost’s escapade is fraught with danger. His greatest problem, and this is a great part of the book because it really stirred me up, is that he brings a lot of that peril upon himself by his foolish actions. I found myself having to exercise great self-restraint as I resisted the temptation to yell at the pages of my book, “No! Don’t do that!”, “Don’t go there!”, “Don’t make that call!”, “Don’t send that email!, and so on. He’s an intelligent man, but he can be so foolish.
There are a few major shocks, and there are a few incidents in the book which, I am sure, Harris intended to be shocking, but were entirely predictable.
As I indicated in my introduction, following the biggest twist of all towards the end of the book, it fades away and the last few pages are a bit disappointing when compared to the excitement that rolls through most of the story up to that point. It is easy to believe that most of the events described in The Ghost could really have happened.
All in all, this was a great read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers, and I shall certainly be reading more books by Robert Harris. My dilemma is whether to choose Fatherland or The Fear Index.