From one of America's most compelling novelists comes the mesmerizing story of a lawyer who must defend the woman he loves against a charge of conspiring to assassinate the prime minister of IsraelDavid Wolfe's life is approaching an exhilarating peak: he's a successful San Francisco lawyer, he's about to get married, and he's being primed for a run for Congress. But when the phone rings and he hears the voice of Hana Arif--the Palestinian woman with whom he had a secret affair in law school--he begins a completely unexpected journey. The next day, the prime minister of Israel is assassinated by a suicide bomber while visiting San Francisco; soon, Hana herself is accused of being the mastermind behind the murder. Now David faces an agonizing choice: Will he, a Jew, represent Hana--who may well be guilty--or will he turn away the one woman he can never forget? The most challenging case of David's career requires that he delve deep into the lives of Hana Arif and her militant Palestinian husband, both of whom have always lived in exile. Ultimately, David's quest takes him to Israel and the West Bank, where, in a series of harrowing encounters, he learns that appearances are not at all what they seem. Culminating in a tense and startling trial with international ramifications, Exile is that rare novel that both entertains and enlightens. At once an intricate tale of betrayal and deception, a moving love story, and a fascinating journey into the lethal politics of the Middle East, this is Richard North Patterson at his most brilliant and engrossing.
Bestseller Patterson's new thriller with its focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been overtaken by events (there's no mention of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 or the recent fighting across the Lebanese border), but the underlying political issues may be enough for most readers to put the real world aside and suspend disbelief. Harvard-trained attorney David Wolfe, a San Franciscan on the verge of a congressional campaign, has his plans derailed when his law school classmate (and one-time lover), Palestinian Hana Arif, asks him to defend her from charges that she led a conspiracy that assassinated dovish Israeli leader Amos Ben-Aron. Inspired by idealism and lingering passion, Wolfe jeopardizes his political future by taking the case. His suspicion that the suicide bombers who attacked Ben-Aron were aided by a security breach leads him to Israel and Lebanon. While Patterson (Conviction) attempts to portray the issues fairly, the introduction of a soap-operaish subplot undercuts his intended high purpose, and the resolution of the mystery is too predictable to surprise. 10-city author tour. (Jan.)
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1 . A fascinating look into long-standing prejudices
Posted July 06, 2009 by Sarah , TorontoExile was a very interesting look into how the conflict in the middle east has evolved over the centuries and how ingrained it has become into the lives of everyone involved. I also found it to be an unbiased story in that it gives perspectives from all sides of the conflict. The love story aspect was also important in understanding the motivations of the characters but it was secondary to the main storyline of how the truth is uncovered...and covered up.
Henry Holt and Co.
January 09, 2007
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Excerpt from Exile by Richard North Patterson
Gazing at the white-capped aqua waters of the Mayan Riviera, Ibrahim Jefar struggled to imagine the act that would end his life: the righteous murder, far from home, of the man who led the enemy of his people, the hawk-faced architect of his sister's shame and grief.
Ibrahim and Iyad Hassan, who directed their actions and would join him in death, were living in suspension, awaiting the directives that would transform their anonymity to honor. Their temporary refuge was the village of Akumal, sequestered in a strip of beaches on the east coast of Mexico. Once the area had been peopled by Mayans, whose disappearance had left behind the ruins of pyramids and temples; now it was the playground of rich foreigners, sport fishermen and snorkelers, drawn by a reef system that offered coral of rich and varied hues and a plethora of vividly colored tropical fish. Their white stucco villa was one of a string of such places, sheltered by coconut palms, built into black rock ledges at the edge of the Caribbean. To Ibrahim, used to the desolation of his homeland, it was beautiful and alien, as disorienting as the aftershock of a dream.
They had existed here for a week. Each morning, as now, stiff breezes drove away the early clouds and exposed a rich blue sky, which met the deeper blue of the ocean. Sunlight summoned forth the slender women in string bikinis who snorkeled and swam and walked on the beach nearby, filling him with desire and shame. He turned from them as he did from the pitiless sun.
To Ibrahim, in their heedlessness and privilege, these tourists symbolized those who had shamed his people, the Zionists who used America's weaponry to occupy their remaining lands and strangle them in a web of settlements and roadblocks, cementing their exile with the glue of poverty. He thought of his sister, sweet and scared, who once had trembled when the bombs fell, before the soldiers drove all reason from her brain; of his father, whose profitable accounting practice had shriveled to bare subsistence; of their ancestral home in Haifa, now possessed by Jews, its beauty known to Ibrahim only through photographs; of another image, this one of bombed-out wreckage in the refugee camp in Jenin, beneath which lay a corpse whose sole marker was a shattered pair of gold-rimmed glasses. "Terrorist" the Zionists had called him.
No, Ibrahim thought--a martyr, and my friend. But it was Salwa, his sister, who fueled his wavering resolve in this place too far from home.
Their journey here had begun in Ramallah, on the West Bank. Using their own passports, they drove to Amman, then flew to Paris, Mexico City, and Canc?n. There they had rented a car in Iyad's true name, driving to the villa selected by the unknown authors of their mission. Ibrahim was unused to this freedom of travel--a clear highway without checkpoints or soldiers, running for miles in a straight line.
They were free here, Ibrahim thought now, a bitter irony. Neither had a criminal record; both spoke fluent English. They were in Akumal for the diving, they said on the few occasions in which they needed to say anything, and then proceeded to do nothing but await their fate in luxury. The conceit of this refuge was that no one with their actual mission would choose such a place: they were rendered inconspicuous by the sheer incongruity of their presence, and the indifference of vacationers bent on their own pleasure and distraction.
And so they kept to themselves, unnoticed save by a housekeeper who spoke rudimentary English and did what little cooking and cleaning they required. Their plans, Ibrahim felt certain, were beyond anything that life had led this simple woman to contemplate. The only Jews she had ever known were no doubt rich Americans--like, by the evidence Ibrahim had sifted from photographs and books, the absentee owners of the villa--and probably she did not even know what they were. For now, at least, he and Iyad seemed safe.