Master storyteller and international bestselling author of Redemption, Trinity, and Exodus, Leon Uris once again brilliantly interweaves historical fact with gripping fiction in this powerful novel of politics, family, intrigue, love, and the passions that rule human lives. Spanning the decades from World War II to the 2008 presidential campaign, A God in Ruins is the unforgettable story of Quinn Patrick O'Connell, an honest, principled, and courageous man on the brink of becoming the second Irish Catholic President of the United States. In an era morally unmoored, rife with armed separatists and fundamentalist zealotry, Quinn, the last great liberal of the Rocky Mountains, emerges as America's hope to reclaim its great past and its promises of the future. But Quinn is a man with an explosive secret that can shatter his political ambitions and threaten his life--a secret buried for over a half century that even he does not know.... Returning home at the end of World War II a decorated and wounded hero, Daniel Timothy O'Connell had moved his young wife, Siobhan, from the crowded streets of Brooklyn to the golden mountains of Colorado.
Veteran writer Uris (Exodus; Redemption) begins his 12th novel with a compelling premise: Quinn O'Connell is certain to become America's second Roman Catholic president, except that he discovers, a week before the 2008 election, that he was actually born Jewish. Adopted 60 years ago by a Catholic couple, and newly informed by his long-lost Jewish half-brother of his heritage, O'Connell now asks a difficult question: Is America ready to elect a Jewish president This initial introduction of the issue of anti-Semitism seems promising. Uris obviously is aiming to put the religion of a world leader in perspective: what does it matter if he's at heart a good and honest man But then he virtually ignores the theme for the next 300 pages. Even when the national reaction to O'Connell's identity results in epidemic violence against Jewish people across the country, an event compared to Kristallnacht, the national issue that gets the most play in O'Connell's presidential race is gun control. His opponent in the election is Republican incumbent Thornton Tomtree, whose administration is struggling to repair his reputation in the wake of violent national tragedies like the Four Corners Massacre, in which 400 Eagle Scouts and their troop leaders are killed in a catastrophic explosion set off by a drugged-out militia group. O'Connell goes up against the gun lobby and calls for repeal of the Second Amendment as part of his presidential campaign. This issue dominates the bulk of the novel, making the opening and closing sections feel like a cut-and-paste job on a totally different story. Years are dismissed in sentences and events are outlined instead of described. Gun lobbies, neo-Nazi militias and tensions between black and Jewish communities eventually get worked into the plot, as does O'Connell's family history, but Uris's apocalyptic tale is too stylistically scattered to generate much suspense. In fact, readers may think they are reading a miniseries teleplay that hasn't been fully fleshed out. Author tour; 15-city TV satellite tour. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 31, 2000
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from A God in Ruins by Leon Uris
Troublesome Mesa, Colorado
A Catholic orphan of sixty years is not apt to forget the day he first learned that he was born Jewish. It would not have been that bombastic an event, except that I am running for the presidency of the United States. The 2008 election is less than a week away.
Earlier in the day, my in-close staff looked at one another around the conference table. We digested the numbers. Not only were we going to win, there was no way we were going to lose. Thank God, none of the staff prematurely uttered the words "Mr. President."
This morning was ten thousand years ago.
I'm Quinn Patrick O'Connell, governor of Colorado and the Democratic candidate for president. The voters know I was adopted through the Catholic bureaucracy by the ranchers Dan and Siobhan O'Connell.
My dad and I were Irish enough, at each other's throats. Thanks to my mom, we all had peace and a large measure of love before he was set down in his grave.
All things being equal, it appeared that I would be the second Roman Catholic president in American history. Unknown to me until earlier this day, I would be the first Jewish president as well.
Nothing compares to the constant melancholy thirst of the orphan to find his birth parents. It is the apparatus that forms us and rules us.
Aye, there was always someone out there, a faceless king and queen in a chilled haze, taunting.
Ben Horowitz, my half brother, had been searching for me, haunted, for over a half century. Today he found me.
Tomorrow at one o'clock Rocky Mountain time I must share my fate with the American people. You haven't heard of Rocky time? Some of the networks haven't, either. Lot of space but small market.
The second half of the last century held the years that the Jews became one of the prime forces in American life. Politically, there had been a mess of Jewish congressmen, senators, mayors, and governors of enormous popularity and power. None had won the big enchilada. I suppose the buck stops here.
Had I been elected governor as Alexander Horowitz, I'd have been just as good for my state. However, the discovery of my birth parents a week before the presidential election could well set off a series of tragic events from the darkness where those who will hate me lay in wait.
How do I bring this to you, folks? In the last few hours I have written, "my fellow Americans" twenty-six times, "a funny thing happened to me on the way to Washington" twenty-one times, and "the American people have the right to know" three dozen times. My wastebasket overfloweth.