Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan

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An Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Chris Bradshaw
Reviewed by Chris Bradshaw
Summary: If George W Bush had a thriller on the bedside table of his Texas ranch then I'd imagine it would be something like Empire Of Lies.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 352 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Quercus Publishing plc
ISBN: 978-1847244079

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In this US presidential election year much has been written about the influence of the Christian right. With both feet set firmly in the conservative camp Andrew Klavan uses the novel, rather than commentary and reportage to take his pot shots at the American Liberal elite and what he perceives as their 'Empire of Lies'.

The action centres on real estate developer Jason Harrow, a former drinker, stoner and rough sex addict who has turned away from his hardcore lifestyle and found redemption in God, family and flag. He's drawn away from his new found mid-western idyll (only the picket fences and apple pie are missing) by a mysterious call from his New York based ex partner about her disturbed young daughter Serena. Finding Serena drunk and high at a student nightclub he stumbles across the story of a missing student which in turn leads to Islamists, charismatic professors and murder. It all points to a terrorist conspiracy and only Jason can prevent the impending catastrophe.

While in many ways a very conventional thriller the conceit of telling the story through the eyes of a Christian conservative is an interesting one. The action moves with pace and there are plenty of twists as you'd expect from the man behind Don't Say A Word and True Crime. The set pieces are handled nicely and the dialogue is largely snappy.

So far so interesting then. What lets the book down though is the relentless preaching. Jason Harrow is a thoroughly unlikeable central character, never missing a chance to whine about some politically correct dogma which is damaging the good white, Christian folk of America. It's as if there is a list of PC sacred cows which must be destroyed by the end of the book. Muslims check, working mothers check, Hollywood do gooders check, liberal university professors check.

All of these things are politically fair game of course. It's just the incessantness of the sermonising which grates. When a bit of subtlety is called for the sledgehammer comes out rather than the fine chisel.

Empire Of Lies is nearly a good yarn. Indeed it could have been very good if Klavan had spent more time on the story and less time trying to shoehorn in every political gripe he could think of. If your view of the world comes from the Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the like then Empire Of Lies will only deepen your beliefs, for the general reader it is a missed opportunity.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this type of story appeals to you then we think that you might enjoy Palace Council by Stephen L Carter. For a non-fiction approach we can recommend The Second Plane by Martin Amis.

Buy Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan at Amazon.com.


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