The Last Testament

The Last Testament

by Sam Bourne

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061470875
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 699,066
Product dimensions: 6.94(w) x 4.36(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

Sam Bourne is the literary pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an award-winning British journalist and broadcaster. He is a weekly columnist for the Guardian (UK), having served as that paper’s Washington correspondent. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and the New Republic. He is a regular contributor to the Jewish Chronicle (UK) and presents BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series The Long View.

Bourne is the author of the New York Times and number one UK bestseller The Righteous Men, which has been translated into twenty-eight languages, and The Last Testament. He has also written two nonfiction works, Jacob’s Gift and Bring Home the Revolution. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Read an Excerpt

The Last Testament

Chapter One

Tel Aviv, Saturday night, several years later

The usual crowd was there. The hardcore leftists, the men with their hair grown long after a year travelling in India, the girls with diamond studs in their noses, the people who always turned up for these Saturday night get-togethers. They would sing the familiar songs—Shir l'shalom, the Song for Peace—and hold the trusted props: the candles cupped in their hands, or the portraits of the man himself, Yitzhak Rabin, the slain hero who had given his name to this piece of hallowed ground so many years earlier. They would form the inner circle at Rabin Square, whether handing out leaflets and bumper stickers or softly strumming guitars, letting the tunes drift into the warm, Mediterranean night air.

Beyond the core there were newer, less familiar, faces. To veterans of these peace rallies, the most surprising sight was the ranks of Mizrachim, working-class North African Jews who had trekked here from some of Israel's poorest towns. They had long been among Israel's most hawkish voters: 'We know the Arabs,' they would say, referring to their roots in Morocco, Tunisia or Iraq. 'We know what they're really like.' Tough and permanently wary of Israel's Palestinian neighbours, most had long scorned the leftists who showed up at rallies like this. Yet here they were.

The television cameras—from Israeli TV, the BBC, CNN and all the major international networks—swept over the crowd, picking out more unexpected faces. Banners in Russian, held aloft by immigrants to Israel from the old Soviet Union—another traditionallyhardline constituency. An NBC cameraman framed a shot which made his director coo with excitement: a man wearing a kippa, the skullcap worn by religious Jews, next to a black Ethiopian-born woman, their faces bathed by the light of the candle in her hands.

A few rows behind them, unnoticed by the camera, was an older man: unsmiling, his face taut with determination. He checked under his jacket: it was still there.

Standing on the platform temporarily constructed for the purpose was a line of reporters, describing the scene for audiences across the globe. One American correspondent was louder than all the others.

'You join us in Tel Aviv for what's billed as an historic night for both Israelis and Palestinians. In just a few days' time the leaders of these two peoples are due to meet in Washington—on the lawn of the White House—to sign an agreement which will, at long last, end more than a century of conflict. The two sides are negotiating even now, in closed-door talks less than an hour from here in Jerusalem. They're trying to hammer out the fine print of a peace deal. And the location for those talks? Well, it couldn't be more symbolic, Katie. It's Government House, the former headquarters of the British when they ruled here, and it sits on the border that separates mainly Arab East Jerusalem from the predominantly Jewish West of the city.

'But tonight the action moves here, to Tel Aviv. The Israeli premier has called for this rally to say "Ken l'Shalom", or "Yes to Peace"—a political move designed to show the world, and doubters among his own people, that he has the support to conclude a deal with Israel's historic enemy.

'Now, there are angry and militant opponents who say he has no right to make the compromises rumoured to be on the table—no right to give back land on the West Bank, no right to tear down Jewish settlements in those occupied territories and, above all, no right to divide Jerusalem. That's the biggest stumbling block, Katie. Israel has, until now, insisted that Jerusalem must remain its capital, a single city, for all eternity. For the Prime Minister's enemies that's holy writ, and he's about to break it. But hold on, I think the Israeli leader has just arrived . . .'

A current of energy rippled through the crowd as thousands turned to face the stage. Bounding towards the microphone was the Deputy Prime Minister, who received a polite round of applause. Though nominally a party colleague of the PM, this crowd also knew he had long been his bitterest rival.

He spoke too long, winning cheers only when he uttered the words, 'In conclusion . . .' Finally he introduced the leader, rattling through his achievements, hailing him as a man of peace, then sticking out his right arm, to beckon him on stage. And when he appeared, this vast mass of humanity erupted. Perhaps three hundred thousand of them, clapping, stamping and whooping their approval. It was not love for him they were expressing, but love for what he was about to do—what, by common consent, only he could do. No one else had the credibility to make the sacrifices required. In just a matter of days he would, they hoped, end the conflict that had marked the lives of every single one of them.

He was close to seventy, a hero of four Israeli wars. If he had worn them, his chest would have been weighed down with medals. Instead, his sole badge of military service was a pronounced limp in his right leg. He had been in politics for nearly twenty years, but he thought like a soldier even now. The press had always described him as a hawk, perennially sceptical of the peaceniks and their schemes. But things were different now, he told himself. There was a chance. 'We're tired,' he began, hushing the crowd. 'We're tired of fighting every day, tired of wearing the soldier's uniform, tired of sending our children, boys and girls, to carry guns and drive tanks when they are barely out of school. We fight and we fight and we fight, but we are tired. We're tired of ruling over another people who never wanted to be ruled by us.'

As he spoke, the unsmiling man was pushing through the crowd, breathing heavily. 'Slicha,' he said again and again, each time firmly pushing a shoulder or an arm out of his way. Excuse me.

The Last Testament. Copyright © by Sam Bourne. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Last Testament 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
rodman2735 More than 1 year ago
After reading The Righteous Men and loving it I thought I would give this title a shot. I started slow and never really picked up speed. The main character was weak and the story line too predictable. All-in-all a true disappointment!
Myckyee on LibraryThing 26 days ago
After a year in Washington, DC, Maggie Costello is smothering under the control of her boyfriend, Edward, and her job as a divorce mediator. Until Washington she had been another kind of mediator, one involved in big stakes in the high-pressure world of international politics. When the US government needed someone to bring two opposing sides together, they called Maggie. And it worked well until something went very wrong and real people paid the price with their lives and so she ended up in Washington with Edward mediating fights between couples instead of countries.One morning Maggie receives a visit by a government agent who convinces her to return to her first natural talent and she quickly finds herself in the midst of a tense standoff between Israel and Palestine. When a murder of a prominent right-wing activist stalls the talks, Maggie steps in to investigate. What she finds leads her on a spine-tingling, intensive hunt for the murderer and where at times she becomes the hunted. Along the way Maggie has the help of Uri Guttman, a man who is trying to discover what role his father played in the sensitive mid-east peace process. A blurb on the back cover of this novel says it is ¿The biggest challenger to Dan Brown¿s crown¿. I can see why. It¿s similar in that there are two characters who follow the trail of an ancient artifact knowing that what it reveals will change the course of history. And like Dan Brown¿s book, The Last Testament also has plenty of short chapters with most having cliff-hangers at the end of them. But the similarity ends there. It does after all take place in the Middle East. I¿d say it¿s a pretty safe bet that if you liked the Da Vinci Code you will also enjoy this book.
dudara on LibraryThing 30 days ago
Israel and Palestine are close to accord, settling the age old dispute that has wracked the region for generations. Top negotiator Maggie Costello (an Irish woman if you will!) is asked to assist in the talks but other peoples machinations and an age-old document (nothing less than the testament of Abraham himself) threaten to derail the process. I won't reveal much more than that but what you have here is a fast-paced, action-packed book that entertains while delivering some historical and political information. I didn't think that the characters were hugely developed (and I'll always question a male writer choosing a female lead character). Like other Bourne books, I found this one to be well-researched and the author manages the mix history, politics and drama quite well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. The history was amazing; the characters mesmerizing; i could not put it down. When I finished, I even went and did some research on the entire era to learn more about it. Well worth your time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
elaura More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that you can't just finish and forget all about it! It's well writting and somehow it shows you a amazing combination between our modern times and the biblical times. What I enjoyed most about the book was the fact that you have not clue what is going to happen untill you tunr on the page.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The election for President of the United States remains a close one with a few weeks to go. Anything could trigger victory for either side. Meanwhile scorned former diplomat Maggie Costello mediates a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. At the same time the Israeli Prime Minister appears at a peace rally to show his support to the agreement. Renowned academia right winger Shimon Guttman approaches the PM reaching into his pocket to take out a note to deliver to the PM; but Israeli security forces react instantly as they assume he grabs a weapon killing him. Fearing the incident could derail the peace talks, Costello obtains the cooperation of Guttman's son to try to learn what Shimon wanted to tell the PM. This is an intriguing thriller with ties that go back to Abraham starring a career diplomat who fell from grace a year ago with her humiliation in Africa, but has a second chance as the United States sees her as the "Closer" of hard negotiations. The story line is fast-paced as Costello and Guttman quickly realize that RIGHTEOUS MEN of America, Israel, and Palestine want control of Shimon's "secret". Although the web confession climax seems ludicrous, readers will enjoy this exciting Holy Land thriller which connects the twenty-first century feud to the Old Testament. Harriet Klausner
Bad_Joke More than 1 year ago
I'm hard to please when it comes to books - especially non-fiction, based on non-fiction, and could-be non-fiction. But this book had my attention the whole time. It was amazing and so bold. Maggie was a very deep and moving character. I'm expecting some more books from Sam Bourne, because this was just too good.