ISBN is

978-0-395-66569-5 / 9780395665695

Damascus Gate

by

Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

In his earlier novels, Robert Stone has taken us to such hot spots as Vietnam, Central America and that ultimate sinkhole of depravity we call Hollywood. This time around, it's Jerusalem. Given Stone's gift for depicting both political and personal embroilment--indeed, for making the two inextricable--this particular city is an inspired choice. For starters, Jerusalem is a sacred destination for Muslims, Jews and Christians, and it remains a hotly contested one. It's also a magnet for hustlers, fanatics and millennial dreamers, a generous assortment of whom populate the pages of Damascus Gate. As always, Stone introduces a (relatively) innocent American into the picture--a journalist named Christopher Lucas. This career sceptic prides himself on his detachment, preferring the kind of story "that exposed depravity and duplicity on both sides of supposedly uncompromising sacred struggles. He found such stories reassuring, an affirmation of the universal human spirit." Yet Lucas, a lapsed Catholic, has journeyed to Jerusalem at least in part to recharge his devotional batteries. And as he's slowly drawn into a terrorist plot--which involves drugs, arms smuggling and a plan to blow up the Temple Mount--Lucas sheds his detachment in a hurry. Stone's novel functions as an expert thriller, whose slow, somewhat clunky wind-up is more than compensated for by a brilliant grand finale. It is also, however, a dogged exploration of faith, in which cynics and true believers jostle for predominance. "Life was so self-conscious in Jerusalem," the author reflects, "so lived at close quarters, by competing moralizers. Every little blessing demanded immediate record." It's hard to imagine a more vivid record of these mutual blessings--and maledictions--than Robert Stone's.

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