Politically relevant, highly entertaining fiction. This book is well researched, well-plotted and well-narrated. I enjoyed Patterson's weaving of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into each characters life. He obviously did significant on-site research in the West Bank and Jerusalem and it shows. This is right near the top of the 35+ books I have listened to this year...
Richard North Patterson is a gifted autor. He has hit one out of the park with Exile. This book has it all; suspense, drama, intrigue, romance, action, and surprise. Characters are well drawn and highly believable. Plot is superb and the suspene is relentless. One of the best audios we've done this year. Even surpasses his Kilcannon Trilogy, which was quite good.
This well researched novel is intricately wound up with the complexity and tragedy of Israeli/Palestinian geo-politics wound around a mystery/courtroom drama. Well developed, complex characters struggle with their history, heritage, and religious identities. A very balanced analysis of how there are only victims and losers in the mid-east conflict, and how radical elements, while a minority, are able to keep the moderate majority on both sides from achieving a peaceful two state solution. The history of the Jews as a people dispossessed, vilified and victims of anti-Semitism for thousands of years is juxtaposed with the history of Palestinians who have been dispossessed, humiliated and refugees for the past 60 years.
The struglle of the lead character, San Francisco attorney David Wolf, to deal with his personal inner conficts as a cultural, but not spiritual Jew, while defending a Palestinian woman accused of conspiring to assasinate the Prime Minister of Israel is fascinating, as is the portrayal of the courtroom drama, including a behind the scenes look into judge's chambers.
Those who enjoy John Grisham, Scott Turow, etc., and also enjoy contemporary politics will enjoy this book.
I feel guilty while reading most espionage thrillers because the books usually have little literary value beyond the pure escape. They ordinarily do not challenge me and I rarely am impressed with the writing. Still, I sometimes love the easy escape. Enter now Patterson's latest work, Exile. It is engaging and fun and an easy read while still causing me to stop every now and then because of a great phrase. This book shows why Patterson is a cut above Evanovich, Connoly, Demille, Forsyth, Clancy and others of that ilk. This book is closer to approaching Ludlum. Even without elucidating on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the book would have been engaging but the book boldly addresses the roots of the conflict. Patterson shows the Palestinian point of view and the Israeli point of view through the device of an open-minded Jewish attorney who has litte identification as a Jew but who is involved with a Palestinian woman. The reader is left thinking that both sides have merit and that each side's only sin is that of hubris and an inability to see the other's point of view and sense of history. I regret that the book gave only a passing reference to the fact that Israel has been forced into being an occupier. The Palestinians and the Arab states who have supported them did not accept the 1948 partition decree of the United Nations and it was they who invaded Israel. After Israel offered land for peace, the Palestinians and their supporters invaded again. Most Palestinians deny the right of Isreal to even exist while Israel has made several attempts to extricate itself from role of occupier to allow for Palestinian sovereignty. I therefore think it wrong to attempt some moral equivalency though I appreciated getting more context for the Palestinian world view. A very good book and well performed. Dennis Boutsikaris switches back and forth between character voices and brings you into the story.
I have never been able to follow the issues in the middle east until I read this book. I love books that can both entertain and educate me and this book does that! I can finally watch and read the news and have a grasp of what the issues are and who the players are. This book uses the story line and characters to tell the history of the middle east and the issues. If you are like me and can't read boring texts on the subject, read this book! If you already understand what is going on in the middle east, this is a great book with an interesting story line all on its own.
I'm a big fan of Patterson, but this one felt more like really bad James Michener, with enormous chunks of historical information and teeth-grindingly laborious, evenhanded dispensation of opinions about Israel and Palestine delivered in the form of laughingly unbelievable dialogue. But I'm giving it two stars because I only made it through the first two hours before giving up.
Rick Patterson took a wonderful subject, a big chunk of modern day history and turned it into a monster of a read. He admits in his interview that he left nothing out. If he traveled there, he included his location in the book. He included too much to be easily readable!
Second, Patterson's editor needs to be more vigilant in editing. I heard at least three 'he or she said sardonically' in this book and at least dozens more of the dialogue attributions. Everyone spoke quietly, earnestly, softly and sardonically until the nails on the blackboard screeched in my ears each time someone spoke.
If you saw a lone woman driving down the interstate day after daylistening to her audio tape but screaming in a silent pain, I confess, it was me, slugging my way through the book.
I was rewarded at the end with a great court room scene. I wish we would've gotten there about 100,000 words sooner.
If you have an I-pod and can listen in fast mode and skip forward every chapter or so, you too can slug through the jungle of words.
If you want great writing that tingles your toes, look elsewhere. This is a history lesson wrapped with painful dialogue. The characters are rather enteraining, at times.
Mr. Patterson needs to read Stephen King's "On Writing." Could someone tell him it's available on audio? "I learned from the King book," she said earnestly but softly in that sweet manner.
This is without a doubt the worst book I have ever listened to. If I cannot give a good review I usual will not give one at all, however this one I just had to make my observation known. This book was completely filled with predudice, hate and minutia that dragged on and on. I really tried my best to stick with this book but it was so boring and just droned on so much that, even though I fought it, I had to quit after listening to 14 CD's. It just goes on and on about the same things over and over and over I found my self thinking about when I needed to buy new tires for my car and what I was going to do this weekend and letting my mind wander because I was so bored while listening to this book. There are so many characters and hate mongering factions in this book that it starts to make you dizzy trying to keep up with them all. Unless you listen to it from start to finish without interruption, you would be totaly confused, lost and befuddled. I have listened to other Richard North Patterson works and thought they were quite good, however it seemed like he was trying so hard to stretch this one out that it is just filled so much information that it puts one to sleep. Sorry I wasted a credit on this one.
This was the best book I've read in ages. It's a must read -- and explains, in an interesting way, the tensions between jews, palestinians, christians, arabs, and extremists on all sides. I absolutely loved the book and could not put it down.
The narrator is one of my favorites and I will look for him again.