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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
John Grisham has been delighting readers for years by pitting modern-day Davids against corrupt corporate Goliaths, seasoning his tales with the seedy and amoral actions of unscrupulous lawyers. With The Testament, Grisham delivers top-notch legal suspense once again by pitting that most common of evils -- greed -- against selfless altruism. But this time the result is a surprisingly lustrous literary tapestry interwoven with the legal maneuvering that has long been Grisham's trademark.
Troy Phelan is an eccentric, reclusive, and lonely old man who also happens to be one of the ten wealthiest people in the world. His billions have earned him a lush existence, unlimited power, and the company of a number of willing women. But at the age of 78, Phelan has yet to find true happiness, and he's grown tired of the search. With death just around the corner, Phelan is disgusted and bitter toward his six spoiled and selfish offspring, who see his pending demise as their one-way ticket to life on easy street. Phelan, however, will have the final word, embracing death with the same cruel unpredictability he exercised in life.
Phelan's death, anticipated but still surprising, leaves his greedy children struggling to hide their glee behind a mask of mourning. But when they discover the old man has cut them out of his will, their grief becomes all too real. The crowning blow comes when they discover that Phelan left most of his vast fortune to a woman by the name of Rachel Lane, an illegitimate daughter no one knew existed. To make matters worse, Rachel Lane seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
The battle for the Phelan billions begins when the legitimate heirs decide to contest the will, their interests represented by a host of self-serving and unethical lawyers who will stop at nothing to assure that they, too, get their piece of the pie. Troy Phelan's lawyers set out to find Lane, armed only with the knowledge that she is working for a ministry and may be living with a primitive tribe of Indians in the isolated jungles of Brazil. Heading up the search is Nate O'Riley, a successful and ruthless litigator who has paid a high price for his jet-setting lifestyle. After landing in rehab for the fourth time in ten years, O'Riley is anxious to take on the task of finding the world's richest missionary, if for no other reason than to avoid the lure of the life he's trying to escape.
The trip turns into more of an adventure than O'Riley bargained for as he ventures deeper into the Brazilian jungle, dragging his personal demons along for the ride. As the lawyers back home do battle with one another in search of the almighty buck, O'Riley battles nature's capricious fury in his search for Rachel Lane. When O'Riley finally nets his quarry, he finds her in the farthest reaches of the Brazilian jungle among natives who live without any of life's most basic conveniences. At first, O'Riley's only goal is to finish his job and get back home to civilization, but he soon becomes captivated by Lane's peaceful serenity, her simple life, and her total devotion to doing God's work. Even more curious is Lane's adamant refusal to have anything to do with her inheritance. As the Phelan heirs and their scheming lawyers continue their fight back in the States, O'Riley finds himself engaged in his own struggle, one that will ultimately threaten both his life and his soul.
Those who delight in Grisham's classic battles of legal wits won't be disappointed; the backstabbing, underhanded deceits, and conniving manipulations abound. But this time Grisham offers his readers a special gift -- a compelling journey into a world of primitive wisdom, indescribable beauty, and the most treacherous of dangers -- some of which can be found deep within ourselves.