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The Broker: A Novel

by John Grisham

ISBN 0385510454 / 9780385510455 / 0-385-51045-4
Publisher Doubleday
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Before he was sent to federal prison for treason (among other things), Joel Backman was an extremely powerful man. Known as "the broker," Backman was a high roller--a lawyer making $10 million a year who could "open any door in Washington." That is, until he tried to broker a deal selling access to the world's most powerful satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder. When caught, Backman accepted prison as the one option that would keep him safe and alive, since the interested parties (the Israelis, the Saudis, the Russians, and the Chinese) were all itching to get their hands on his secrets at any cost. Little does he know that his own government has designs on accessing that information--or at least letting it die with him. Now, six years after his incarceration, the director of the CIA convinces a lame duck president to pardon Backman, and the broker becomes a free man--and an open target.

The Broker marries the best of John Grisham's many talents--his ability to immerse himself in the culture of small-town life (in this case, Bologna, Italy), and his uncanny mastery of the chase. The first half of the book focuses on Backman's transformation from infamous power broker to helpless victim in his own game. Upon his release from prison, Backman is taken into "protective custody" and whisked off to Italy where he is assigned a new identity, and a tutor to help him blend in. Sure he is on the run, but some readers may feel that Backman's time spent in Bologna is a bit too leisurely--readers join him on an almost cinematic tour through the Italian town, complete with language and history lessons. Impatient readers will be happy to know that the final half of the novel is classic Grisham--a fast-paced, thrilling cat and mouse chase pitting Backman against the numerous agencies that want him dead--as the broker makes a move to take back his life. --Daphne Durham

Grisham: The Books

  • A Time to Kill, 1989
  • The Firm, 1991
  • The Pelican Brief, 1992
  • The Client, 1993
  • The Chamber, 1994
  • The Rainmaker, 1995
  • The Runaway Jury, 1996
  • The Partner, 1997
  • The Street Lawyer, 1998
  • The Testament, 1999
  • The Brethren, 2000
  • A Painted House, 2001
  • Skipping Christmas, 2001
  • The Summons, 2002
  • The King of Torts, 2003
  • Bleachers, 2003
  • The Last Juror, 2004
  • The Broker, 2005

Essential Grisham
Amazon Editor Favorites

A Time to Kill

The Firm

A Painted House

The Client

The Rainmaker

The Pelican Brief

Bestselling Grisham
Amazon Customer Favorites

The Last Juror

Skipping Christmas


The Testament

The Partner

The King of Torts

Best Grisham Books on DVD

A Time to Kill

The Pelican Brief

The Client

The Firm

The Rainmaker

The Chamber