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David Wolfe is a successful American lawyer 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 is accused of being the mastermind behind the murder. Now David faces an ...

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David Wolfe is a successful American lawyer 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 is accused of being the mastermind behind the murder. Now David faces an agonizing choice: Will he, a Jew, represent her?

The most challenging case of David's career requires that he delve deep into the lives of Hana and her militant Palestinian husband, all the way back to Israel and the West Bank. There he uncovers the couple's dangerous connections…culminating in an explosive trial where the stakes are Hana's life—and the future of two peoples.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

Torn from the headlines…EXILE delivers.
USA Today

Bill Clinton

Astonishing, hugely entertaining.
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Patterson (Conviction) pens a big legal thriller that is light on suspense but compelling nonetheless. David Wolfe, a successful Jewish lawyer with political ambitions, had a clandestine affair with Arab activist Hana Arif while in law school, but Hana left him to enter an arranged marriage. Thirteen years later, Hana is vacationing in San Francisco with her family when the visiting Israeli prime minister is assassinated by a suicide bomber, which brings a new level of terrorism to the United States. Hana stands accused as the mastermind of the murder and asks David to represent her, dramatically disrupting both their lives. While David isn't entirely sure he believes his former lover is innocent, he finds many inconsistencies in the evidence against her. When it begins to appear that Hana is being framed, he goes to Israel in search of the truth. The stories of the Israelis and Arabs with whom David meets are unforgettable, but the central plot line and main characters are a bit thin. Still, Patterson delves evenhandedly into both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, making this a fascinating and timely read. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/06.] Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In his latest ripped-from-the-headlines thriller, Patterson puts the screws to a San Francisco lawyer called to defend his Palestinian ex-lover on murder charges after she's accused of conspiring to kill the Israeli Prime Minister. A thoroughly unconvincing series of flashbacks shows how, 13 years ago, David Wolfe, a comfortably secularized Jew, and his fellow Harvard Law student, Hana Arif, carried on a torrid romance under the nose of her fiance, Palestinian activist Saeb Khalid. Now David is compromising his future in politics by answering Hana's plea for help. The testimony of Ibrahim Jefar, a suicide bomber who took part in the bombing of peacenik Israeli Prime Minister Amos Ben-Aron but didn't succeed in killing himself, implicates her in the plot. Although David assures his fiancee Carole Shorr that he won't take Hana's case, it's so hot that no other qualified lawyer will touch it. As David settles uneasily into Hana's defense, he senses his old life-his political dreams, his engagement to Carol, the friendship of her wealthy father, a Holocaust survivor-slipping away. Nor is there any certainty that he'll win Hana's acquittal. The only sure bet is that Patterson (Conviction, 2005, etc.) will seize the opportunity to present characters giving voice to every possible perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An endless roll call of people and perspectives bloats David's fact-finding trip to Israel. The result, very typical of Patterson, is perceptive and even-handed analysis but sagging drama. Hana's trial promises more in the way of fireworks, but despite some sharp courtroom scenes, the big climax will surprise no one but David. A riveting premise, a sympathetic ear forevery party to an intractable problem, the geopolitics of the earth's most volatile region all balanced on the backs of a handful of tormented souls-not by a long shot Patterson's best book, but in many ways his most characteristic. First printing of 500,000; $500,000 ad/promo. Agent: Fred Hill/Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell, Inc. (SF office)
From the Publisher
Praise for Protect and Defend:

"Brilliant…Patterson has caught lightning in a bottle…Put this one at the top of your hot list."—Stephen King

Praise for Balance of Power:

"[A] spellbinding novel…Patterson's extensive research, plot skills, and ability to create engaging, authentic dialogue set his writing apart…believable and eloquent."—Associated Press

Praise for Dark Lady:

"[A] complex tale of personal, political, and criminal betrayals…Dark Lady not only keeps you in suspense; it gives you plenty of social and moral questions to ponder."—The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312938543
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 310,604
  • Product dimensions: 4.27 (w) x 7.46 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard North Patterson is the author of thirteen previous bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, Patterson was the SEC's liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor, has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups, and is currently the chairman of Common Cause, the grassroots citizens lobby. He lives in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard with his partner, Dr. Nancy Clair.

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Read an Excerpt


A Novel
By Patterson, Richard North

Henry Holt and Co.

Copyright © 2007 Patterson, Richard North
All right reserved.


The Martyrs
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 slenderwomen 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 Cancún. 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.
Yet Ibrahim was both frightened and sad. The dream state of this respite made him feel small, the puppet of unseen forces. He tried to imagine once more the pride of his friends, the admiration of strangers for whom, in death, he would enter into history. But here, in Akumal, this vision lacked the vividness it had had in Ramallah. Instead it seemed somehow juvenile, the fantasy of a boy who had placed himself in an action movie with which he had killed some idle afternoon.
Their only contact with reality was Iyad's cell phone. Ibrahim was not allowed to answer it: Iyad would retreat to a corner of the villa, speaking Arabic in a low voice. His terse comments afterward made Ibrahim feel patronized, a child fed by his parents some rehearsed and edited version of a grown-up conversation held behind closed doors. It was this, he supposed, that made it even harder to imagine Iyad Hassan taking orders from a woman.
But this woman, too, was surely only a conduit, the instrument of other men who shared their vision. In the end, they and their faceless masters were all servants of their people, and of God.
Ibrahim checked his watch. Inside, he knew, Iyad was finishing his extended prayers--head bowed, eyes squinting tight, deepening the premature lines of a face too careworn for a man who, at twenty-four, was only two years older than Ibrahim himself. Sometimes Ibrahim believed that Iyad had known everything but doubt.
Sometimes he wished that Iyad had not chosen him.
He could not envision paradise. He could experience what martyrdom would bring him only in earthly imaginings of the Ramallah that would persist after his death, peopled by ordinary citizens whose pleasure it was to recall Ibrahim's sacrifice while living out their ordinary lives--in a land, he could only pray, transformed by his act. He would never know the unborn children who, Iyad had assured him, would feel pride in the mention of his name, study his photograph for the markers of bravery. The pieces of his ruined body would find no grave at home.
This place was his oasis, and his prison: he was a hostage to time that dragged with agonizing slowness, waiting for the phone call that would propel them into action. So yet again, he sat on a stone bench atop a rocky ledge where waves struck with a low thud and shot spumes of white into the air, dampening his face and bare chest with a cool mist. The sandy space between the rocks and the villa was thick with palms; the pounding surf filled the air with a ceaseless watery static. The villa itself was bright and airy, and in the sheltered front garden was a swimming pool. Ibrahim could not imagine that anyone lived like this--except the Zionist settlers, the red tile roofs of whose houses resembled the roof of this villa, or, he thought with fleeting disdain, the eminences of the Palestinian Authority, once his nominal leaders. But from the evidence of the photographs, this was the home of a bearded American Jew and his skinny wife, grinning maniacally at the camera in a parody of the vacationer's escapist glee. On their coffee table was a picture book entitled A Day in the Life of Israel, a catalog of Zionist achievement, schools and cities and deserts bursting with green orchards and bright fruits and vegetables. Still, what Ibrahim saw as he leafed through the pages was his grandfather dying in a refugee camp, a small wizened man with a gaze at once nearsighted and faraway, the look of decades of wretchedness and dispossession. There was no book with a picture of his grandfather, he thought now; the old man had died as he had lived, seen only by his family.
Remembering, Ibrahim felt his eyes mist with grief and anger. The world weeps, he thought, at the death of a Jewish child. But there is no press coverage of dead Palestinians, unless they die killing Jews; there was no notice of his sister, or the daughter she would never hold, by a media obsessed with Jews blown up in cafés and restaurants by those brave few who chose to emerge from the faceless squalor of their camps, seeking to make their enemy suffer as deeply as did their people. And yet, though Ibrahim respected their courage and understood its purpose, he could not easily conceive of taking women and children with him to their doom. He must be grateful that he had been sent to kill a man.
This man, the face of Israel.
Ibrahim had known that face since childhood, as long as he had known Israeli soldiers and overcrowding and humiliation; that even dogs, but not Palestinians, were allowed to bark; that the real terrorists were not only the Jews but the Americans; that when a Jew dies, the president of the United States weeps in sorrow. He had known all this, and done nothing. Until the day when he looked into the eyes of his sister, now as dull in life as they would someday be in death, and knew that he must redeem his honor . . .
Something heavy struck his back. Flinching, he heard the bomb's percussive pop, stiffened against the explosion that would tear his limbs apart. Then he saw, rolling to a stop, a half-ruined coconut that had dropped from the tree behind him.
Wanly, Ibrahim laughed at himself--a displaced Palestinian on a verdant patch of Mexico, with imaginary bombs falling on him from a palm tree.
Before the trauma of Salwa, he had laughed more often, even in the worst of times. He wondered if what he saw on Iyad's face had entered his soul without touching his own unmarked face--this sense of having felt too much, of a despair deeper and older than his years. On television, at home, he could see beautiful people from all over the world, as free and happy as the half-naked women on the beach at Akumal. But that television set, all he possessed besides a few books and clothes and a college degree from Birzeit without a future he could see, filled him with a sense of his own nothingness. He would sit in his international relations class, furtively admiring Fatin of the light brown eyes and seductive smile, and know that nothing was all he had to offer her.
Even this sojourn was a tribute to their facelessness. That they were in Akumal instead of western Mexico, Iyad informed him, was a change of plans, a fluke of racism and oppression. Self-appointed American vigilantes had begun spending their idle hours patrolling the borders of Arizona and New Mexico, hoping to snare Mexican illegals scurrying across. Those who had planned their mission did not want them caught by some white people's hunt for brown invaders they could not tell from Arabs.
Americans, and Jews. When Iyad had first approached him, he had recited a sermon he had heard from a radical imam. Wherever you are, the holy man had said, kill Jews and Americans. He who straps a suicide belt on his children will be blessed. No Jews believe in peace; all are liars. Even if some piece of paper is signed by Jews and Palestinian traitors, we cannot forget Haifa, or Jericho, or Galilee, all the land and lives the Zionists have stolen from us, the day-by-day degradation into which the occupiers grind our faces. " 'Have no mercy on the Jews,' " Iyad repeated. " 'No matter what country they are in. And never forget that Jews are the sword of the United States of America, the enemy who arms our enemy.' "
This recitation left Ibrahim unmoved. He had heard it all before, countless times; hearing it again gave him the dull sensation of being rhythmically pounded on the head with a bag of sand. Then he thought of Salwa . . .
Once more, Ibrahim flinched.
Tensing, he heard the second discordant ring of Iyad's cell phone, carrying through the screen door of the villa. The ringing stopped abruptly, followed by the sound of Iyad's voice.
Ibrahim closed his eyes.
For minutes he was still. Then, with a sense of foreboding, he heard Iyad's footfalls in the sand, felt his shadow block the sun.
Raising his head, Ibrahim looked into his companion's gaunt face. Then, as before, he thought that God had given Iyad too little skin to cover his bones.
"She called," Iyad said. His monotone had the trace of disdain that Ibrahim found so discordant, given the exactitude with which he carried out her directives. "This is our last night in paradise on earth. The next will be far better."
Two afternoons later, driven by a lean, cold-eyed man they knew only as Pablo, they rode in a van headed toward the border. Crossing would be no problem, Pablo assured them in surprisingly good English--thousands did it every day. Although not, Ibrahim thought, for such a reason.
Pablo left them a mile from the border. Stepping onto the parched earth, they began to walk in the sweltering heat. Turning, Iyad watched Pablo's van disappear, then ordered, "We leave the cell phone here. And our passports. Everything that names us."
These few words, Ibrahim found, sealed his sense of foreboding.
He emptied his pockets. With the care of a man tending a garden, Iyad buried their passports under a makeshift pile of rocks.
An hour later, sweat from their trek coating his face, Ibrahim saw the metallic glint of a silver van driving toward them across the featureless terrain. Ibrahim froze in fear. With preternatural calm, Iyad said, "We're in America. The home of the brave, the liberators of Iraq."
The van stopped beside them. Silently, its dark-haired young driver opened the door, motioning them into the back. In English as fluent as Pablo's, he said, "Lie down. I'm not getting paid to lose you." To Ibrahim, he looked more Arabic than Hispanic. But then, he realized, so had Pablo.
When the man told them to sit up, they were in Brownsville, Texas. He dropped them near a bus terminal with nothing but what he had given them, the key to a locker inside.
The terminal was nearly empty. Glancing over his shoulder, Iyad opened the locker. The brown bag they found held a credit card, three thousand dollars in cash, car keys, a binder, two American passports in false names, and California driver's licenses. With mild astonishment, Ibrahim gazed at his photograph, encased in plastic, and discovered that his new name was Yusuf Akel.
"Let's go," Iyad murmured in Arabic.
Expressionless, he led Ibrahim to a nondescript Ford sedan with California license plates, parked two blocks away. Iyad unlocked the passenger door for Ibrahim.
"We have seven days," Iyad said. "We'll drive until it's dark."
It was June, late spring, and the days were long. Tasting the last saliva in his dry mouth, Ibrahim got in, knowing he would not sleep for hours, if at all.
Iyad drove in silence. Ibrahim riffled through the binder. It contained a sheaf of maps, detailing a route from Brownsville to San Francisco. On the final map of San Francisco were two stars scrawled with a Magic Marker: one labeled "bus station," the other beside a place called Fort Point.
Closing his eyes against the harsh sunlight, Ibrahim tried to summon an image of San Francisco, the end of his life's journey.
Copyright 2007 by Richard North Patterson. All rights reserved.


Excerpted from Exile by Patterson, Richard North Copyright © 2007 by Patterson, Richard North. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Richard North Patterson You have had a very successful career and have written quite an impressive list of novels. In what ways does Exile represent your exploring new territory as a writer? When and how did the idea for the story in Exile develop? What might you say to your current fans about the direction you are taking, and in general what makes Exile stand out form your body of work? Exile represents what, to me, is an exciting fusion of my established territory -- legal and political drama -- with a new focus: the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and the lethal politics of the Middle East, shadowed by the threat of a nuclear Iran. The result, I hope, is the most compelling fiction of my career. The stimulus for Exile is my friendship with two brilliant advocates and experts with very different perspectives. My close friend Alan Dershowitz has long engaged me with his impassioned defense of Israel -- whose survival as a nation I consider to be a moral imperative. And then Jim Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute and a leader in promoting deeper understanding of Arab Americans and the Arab world, issued me a challenge I could not resist: to write a novel which combines the absorbing qualities of good fiction with a nuanced portrayal of the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. While this may seem a quantum leap from my previous work, in a sense Exile represents an extension of my belief that courtroom drama can illuminate the important controversies of our time. In Exile, the engine that enables me to explore the geopolitics of the Middle East is a high-profile trial: the defense by its Jewish American protagonist, David Wolfe, of his Palestinian ex-lover, Hana Arif, accused of complicity in the assassination of an Israeli prime minister who has proposed a last-ditch plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Because of the paramount importance of its subject, I hope the book will engage not only my current readers but all readers of good fiction who also care to learn more about this terrible dilemma, and the role it plays in the Middle East as a whole. The research you did for Exile is extensive, including your trip to the Middle East. For those of us who have not traveled to the region, what was most remarkable about your journey? What are a couple of major things that, in your opinion, most Americans relying on U.S. government reports and television don't know?

During my time in Israel and the occupied territories of the West Bank, I had many illuminating and sometimes harrowing experiences. Among them were meetings in Israel with the survivors of a suicide bombing in Haifa; with an Israeli general in charge of protecting Israel from terrorism; and, memorably, with Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres, twice prime minister of Israel. On the West Bank I experienced at first hand the incendiary fear and anger between the IDF, whose mission it is to protect Israel from violence, and the Palestinian civilians whose lives, and movements, are affected by checkpoints, raids, and the inevitable arbitrary behaviors of a military force that is both fearful and despised. And my meetings with Palestinians from all walks of life left me with indelible impressions. One of these events happened during a trip to Jenin where I met in secret with Mohammad Abu Hamad, the leader of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade -- who was, depending on one's point of view, either a "terrorist" or a linchpin of Palestinian "resistance" to Israeli occupation. The meeting was remarkable for several reasons. Hamad was wanted by the IDF, and it dawned on me that the place where we met could be raided, or bombed. Hamad certainly acted as if this were a live possibility: he moved virtually every hour; was obviously fatigued; and, as I interviewed him, sat between two apprehensive bodyguards with an M16 on his lap. Hamad was a man who had been defined by war since he was fourteen, when he was jailed for lobbing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli tank. But what struck me most was when I noted that the IDF asserted that the Jenin operation was in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Israel. Oh no, he answered without irony -- the suicide bombing in Israel was a reprisal for an earlier IDF operation in Jenin. In general, all of my encounters in the Middle East made it clear that the most committed antagonists are incapable of seeing this tragedy for the complex thing it is, because they are all transfixed by their own narratives and paradigms. In addition to Israel and the Palestinians, your book spotlights Iran as a major regional threat to peace. What made you expand the scope of Exile? From the beginning of my research in 2000, my inquiry into the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy was open-ended. And as I interviewed expert upon expert in the Middle East -- including former secretary of defense William Cohen, former National Security director Sandy Berger, former chief Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, and former U.S. ambassadors to Israel Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer -- the shadow of Iran loomed ever larger over my story. The reasons are now much more widely known than they were in 2000: that elements of the Iranian regime are fanatically dedicated to the erasure of Israel, and to the assertion of Iran as the region's dominant power -- a tendency since confirmed by the accession to president of a fanatic Holocaust denier. For reasons of its own, Iran funds extremist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, as was vividly illustrated by events that have occurred since the completion of Exile, including those in Gaza and Lebanon which led to the outbreak of war. Plainly, the Israeli-Palestinian impasse is part of a regional conflict that serves as a distraction from Iran's ambition. And, regrettably, the failure of U.S. policy in Iraq has dramatically strengthened Iran's position. In Exile there is a suicide bombing in San Francisco. What is your opinion about how likely this is to happen, if not in San Francisco, then elsewhere in the United States? How is the "climate" in the United States different from a place like Israel, where they deal with real-life suicide bombings every day? In your opinion do all of our efforts to prepare for such attacks make us feel safer than those in the Middle East? How so? To me, suicide bombings in the United States are definitely possible -- indeed, the events of 9/11 can be viewed as suicide bombings on a massive scale. All that is required is for a few terrorists to scale down their ambitions from mass disasters to the more random, perhaps targeted, bombings that plague Israel. Obviously, Israelis feel much less safe than Americans -- they are, geographically, a tiny country, and their enemies are close at hand. But America's very size is a problem of its own: we are full of "soft" targets, and we cannot protect them all. So even if our security efforts help us fend off another 9/11 -- about which we can hardly feel sanguine -- they certainly do not render us secure. Politically you are well connected, and you follow American politics very closely. Where did your ties to Washington politicians originate? Do you ever rely on any of your friends on the Hill for information when writing your books? Did you use any notable sources for Exile? How does your knowledge of how our government and the justice system really works play into the story in Exile? My friendship with American political figures began with the first President and Mrs. Bush, who were gracious enough to write me a kind note about my first bestseller, Degree of Guilt, and who later helped me with my first explicitly political novel, No Safe Place. Shortly thereafter, I met then-senator and soon-to-be secretary of defense William Cohen, a political leader -- and writer -- I had long admired; Bill became a close personal friend and someone whose advice was instrumental in No Safe Place (1998) and the political novels which followed: Protect and Defend (2000), about Supreme Court politics and so-called "partial birth abortion," and Balance of Power (2003), in which my fictional president, Kerry Kilcannon, takes on the American gun lobby. These novels depended on extensive research: as one example, in a single remarkable day of researching for Protect and Defend, in 1999 I interviewed President Clinton and his 1996 opponent, former majority leader Bob Dole, concerning the ins and outs of my imagined Senate confirmation fight over abortion and my fictional Supreme Court nominee, Judge Caroline Masters. And in the course of all this research, I have formed continuing personal friendships with senators Edward Kennedy, John McCain, and Barbara Boxer; former National Security adviser Sandy Berger; and several congressmen, journalists, and consultants. This has given me a particular perspective on politics and politicians: while I deplore our polarized, gerrymandered, and money-driven electoral process, I think that a number of our elected officials are far better than we generally appreciate. Public life is hard -- it is not merely a job but a way of life. Certainly, I could not have portrayed the political world realistically without knowing politicians, consultants, journalists, and appointed officials. In addition to the Israelis, Palestinians, and Middle East experts I interviewed for Exile, I consulted numerous other Washington-based experts. In order to understand the ins and outs of a murder trial where the defense seeks to expose information bearing on Israeli and American national security, I interviewed Professor Philip Heymann (former deputy attorney general) and Jeff Smith, former general counsel of the CIA. Others whom I interviewed included a former assistant director of the Secret Service, and experts on Hamas, counterterrorism, and internal security. Finally, I'm particularly indebted to David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, for his extensive advice and for making my trip to Washington as rewarding as it was, and to Jim Zogby for his ceaseless advice and support. My aim, as always, is to present fiction which is so thoroughly grounded in reality that the story both engages and informs. There is always a first time, but I've yet to be challenged with respect to authenticity of background or material errors of fact -- although given the vehement feelings on all sides with respect to events in the Middle East, it is inevitable that Exile will stimulate controversy. What fictional elements of Exile were, for you, the most challenging and engaging? I was immersed in the story of Exile from start to finish. But a particular challenge was creating the complex romantic relationship between two characters whose backgrounds are very different from my own: the secular Jewish American lawyer David Wolfe, and the Palestinian militant Hana Arif. Of the two, David was easier for me -- with Hana, I benefited from the sensitive advice of Palestinians, observant Muslims, and other Arabs or Arab Americans who took an interest in my project. While I'm not the ultimate judge, I'm proud of the nuanced, often wrenching, relationship I portrayed. A secondary challenge was my portrayal of the failed suicide bomber, Ibrahim Jefar -- particularly in the prologue, which portrays Jefar's thoughts and emotions. It's a myth that suicide bombers are drawn almost exclusively from the poor and less well educated, and I'm very grateful to several experts who helped me to construct the possible inner landscape of a suicide bomber. How has the experience of writing Exile affected you as a person? Because of Exile, I feel deeply connected to the Israeli-Palestinian question, and friends on both sides. This has only intensified my concern, and sadness, about the continuing adverse developments in the region since I completed the novel. This experience has also deepened my interest in -- and, I believe, my understanding of -- U.S. foreign policy and the complex dynamics of the Middle East. Although I have yet to work out how, I hope to maintain a connection to the region, the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma, and larger questions regarding America's role in the Middle East.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Exile, As Timely as Today's Headlines

    Exile is an intensely human analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process." Told through the eyes of the child of a Holocaust survivor and the children of Palestinian refugees, we see both sides of the intensely intricate, immensely complex problems that Israel faces in trying to reach any kind of accord between its Jewish and Arab citizens. Each side sees the problem through its own lens, unable to recognize any other viewpoint. <BR/><BR/>Far more than political cut-outs, the characters in Exile are real people for whom the reader cares and wishes a happy resolution. Patterson explores the motives of two suicide bombers and the unlikely allies in a convoluted plot to assassinate Israel's peace-loving prime minister. The turns in the plot makes the book hard to put down, with an intriquing twist that sets up an explosive ending.<BR/><BR/>All in all, Patterson gives us plenty to digest. The characters are real and round. The plot is as timely as Israel's attack on Gaza. After reading Exile, I was not in the least surprised by the results of Israel's recent election. Patterson gives an interesting, entertaining history lesson that explains current events and the status of the Middle East "peace process."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014


    "Email me on your phone..."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Rose - Crypt

    Go to 'Exile' Result Four. Should be one before this.

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  • Posted January 30, 2012

    great read

    was intriqued by the amount of things that could go on with getting the senate/congress and new president

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    I love this book

    A great read could hardly put it down.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    Well Written Propaganda

    Mr. Patterson is undoubtedly a great writer. This story has an interesting plot, if you can overlook both his anti-Israel bias and politically correct, but highly inaccurate view of Palestinians. A few great historical facts on the ongoing conflict are interesting, but overshadowed by his clear personal agenda to promote a very biased world view.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous read!

    I have given this book as a present to at least a dozen of my friends and relatives. In a nutshell: It unravels the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a fabulously easy read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    The case for israel and Palestine!

    Richard Patterson has written an exciting tale about a non-practicing Jewish lawyer and a Palestian women. The tale enfolds surrounded by the turmoil of the Middle East. The author has captured the significant issues between Israel and Palestine in a clever way that is both intriguing and thrilling to read. The book takes unexpected twists and turns but always keeps the issue of humanity at the forefront. It is a lenghty but readable book that I highly recommend.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling, sensitive, and thoughtful

    Exile is my first Patterson fiction novel. Outstanding read. His insightful and fair treatment of both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli ongoing conflict takes you through the intricate backgrounds of each side's torcherous struggle and history. The result of trekking through this odyssey step-by-step defuses virtually all unfounded bias or discrimination of both peoples. It took a bit of tenacity to hold on reading until the story got traction, but very well worth it. A must read for today's global person.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    Glad I didn't put it down.

    Started off slow, but then it takes a real "grabber" to get me right off, in the first 25 pages. VERY GLAD I didn't put it down, because after the first 100 pages I couldn't put it down. Interesting treatment of Middle East situation. Sensitive, understanding, an eye-opener. Drives home the fact that we all need to be open to each others' experiences - not necessarily agree with views of interpretations of those expierences - but open enough to at least listen. That goes for everyone. The ending was logical.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2009

    Excellent novel addressing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict

    Patterson addresses the Palestinian/Israeli conflict through the novel form. It is an excellent and thoughful book that looks at all sides of the issues with empathy. All of Patterson's novels are very good and in recent years he has beeen taking on more controversial political topics.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    So Much More Than Fiction!!

    I admit that I am not a "demanding" reader - not a "pick it appart" critic. But I am an avid reader who enjoys the hunt for and the discovery of fiction treasure. Exile is such a novel. This was my first work by RN Patterson and I was blown away. His relentless and thorough research and interview process was evident. I not only was entertained and captivated, but also experienced the bonus of some great insight into US - Middle East relations and history. It has caused me to "Google" things like Hamas, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah, West Bank . . . I now have a real thirst for these catch phrases I have heard on the news for decades, and are now illuminated by the light of RN Patterson's brilliant novel.<BR/><BR/>This book had something for everybody . . . be you male or female, academic or Joe the plumber, combat tested or homemaker tested, religious or agnostic. I I hated it to end!!! <BR/><BR/>Now I am actually fearful of choosing my next book because RNP has set the bar so high! I am sure that I will get over my shopping anxiety . . . . I hope. Read or listen to "Exile" but do NOT ignore it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008


    Great Book! One of the few by Patterson that i enjoyed. Great developement, very intriguing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    3000 year struggle

    This book is very educational with a very good plot. It brings the reader to a personal level of the ongoing struggle between the Israeli-Palestianian cultures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    Excellent educational opportunity

    The Exile is filled with knowledge about the conflict we hear about every day. It gives us the human aspect that news reports cannot convey. I learned more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from this book than from all the newscasts. He is an excellent writer who obviously researches his subjects very well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007


    A thoughtful tale by talented author Richard North Patterson that offers a look into both sides of the present day terror issue as seen by the people who live it and those who, like most Americans, are removed from it by distance and politics. Attorney David Wolfe is confronted with a problem that has the power to destroy the life he has built and the future he hopes for when Hana Arif, a love from the past, steps back into his life. She is Palestinian and he is Jewish, she committed to the cause of a homeland and he only to a personal future and success. They manage to overcome their differences and fall in love, but it is a relationship they both know is going nowhere. She is engaged to a Palestinian and in the end marries him and disappears from David's life. Until the day he gets the call because she is in trouble. An important Israeli leader has been killed by a suicide bomber and she is suspected of being involved. And David must decide whether to help her or not, a decision that could turn his entire life upside down. Should he help her? David is tormented by this question over and over because he was also a witness to the explosion that killed the Israeli leader who had been working to bring peace to the Middle East. If David helps Hana, he risks being isolated from all he knows even though she has the right under the law to his help as a lawyer. I'm pleased to recommend this well told tale to any reader who is open minded enough to look at both sides of an argument and its adherents whose hate keep it alive. This is a book whose characters you won't soon forget. Enjoy. I sure did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    You will not want the book to end

    This novel provides a great story along with perspectives to which anyone in America should be exposed. I have two chapters to go and while I want to read it I also wish it would continue.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    Absolutely Outstanding

    I believe this book should be reccomended reading for everyone. It opens your eyes to both sides of the Palestinian -Jewish-Arab conflict. I found the book most compelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2007

    A page turner

    The beginning of Exile makes you think you are reading the daily newspaper. An unusual and intriguing relationship forms the basis for this complicated novel which acts as a teacher for the reader to understand the Palestinian position and some small explanations of the Israeli position. There was an imbalance here which should have been rectified before publication. It is, however, a book hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    Intellectually Compelling

    I have read many of Patterson's books, and find him to be one of the finest and most intelligent authors out there. He is definitely one or my favorite writers. I have two minor reservations about this outstanding story. I'm not sure that I wouldn't have been happier with a shorter and less detailed visit of the hero to the Middle East. But I must admit it gave me new insights into the profound difficulties of that region. Unlike many of his previous books, this one sort of ended with a whimper rather than the bang I expected. But the ending and the whole story work. What more can you ask.

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