Righteous Men

Righteous Men

by Sam Bourne

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061240874
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 800,713
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(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 Righteous Men


By Sam Bourne

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Sam Bourne
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061138290

Chapter One

Friday, 9:10 p.m., Manhattan

The night of the first killing was filled with song. St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan trembled to the sound of Handel's Messiah, the grand choral masterpiece that never failed to rouse even the most slumbering audience. Its swell of voices surged at the roof of the cathedral. It was as if they wanted to break out, to reach the very heavens.

Inside, close to the front, sat a father and son, the older man's eyes closed, moved as always by this, his favorite piece of music. This may have been a preview, a warm-up for the Christmas season, but that did not lessen its power. The son's gaze alternated between the performers--the singers dressed in black, the conductor wildly waving his shock of gray hair--and the man at his side. He liked looking at him, gauging his reactions; he liked being this close.

Tonight was a celebration. A month earlier Will Monroe Jr. had landed the job he had dreamed of ever since he had come to America. Still only in his late twenties, he was now a reporter, on the fast track at the New York Times. Monroe Sr. inhabited a different realm. He was a lawyer, one of the most accomplished of his generation, now serving as a federal judge on the second circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He liked toacknowledge achievement when he saw it, and this young man at his side, whose boyhood he had all but missed, had reached a milestone. He found his son's hand and gave it a squeeze.

It was at that moment, no more than a forty-minute subway ride across town but a world away, that Howard Macrae heard the first steps behind him. He was not scared. Outsiders may have steered clear of this Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, notorious for its drug-riddled streets, but Macrae knew every street and alley.

He was part of the landscape. A pimp of some two decades' standing, he was wired into Brownsville. He had been a smart operator, too, ensuring that in the gang warfare that scarred the area, he always remained neutral. Factions would clash and shift, but Howard stayed put, constant. No one had challenged the patch where his whores plied their trade for years.

So he was not too worried by the sound behind him. Still, he found it odd that the footsteps did not stop. He could tell they were close. Why would anybody be tailing him? He turned his head to peer over his left shoulder and gasped, immediately tripping over his feet. It was a gun unlike any he had ever seen--and it was aimed at him.

Inside the cathedral, the chorus was now one being, their lungs opening and closing like the bellows of a single, mighty organ. The music was insistent:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Howard Macrae was now facing forward, attempting to break into an instinctive run. But he could feel a strange, piercing sensation in his right thigh. His leg seemed to be giving way, collapsing under his weight, refusing to obey his orders. I have to run! Yet his body would not respond. He seemed to be moving in slow motion, as if wading through water.

Now the mutiny had spread to his arms, which were first lethargic, then floppy. His brain raced with the urgency of the situation, but it too now seemed overwhelmed, as if submerged under a sudden burst of floodwater. He felt so tired.

He found himself lying on the ground clasping his right leg, aware that it and the rest of his limbs were surrendering to numbness. He looked up. He could see nothing but the steel glint of a blade.

In the cathedral, Will felt his pulse quicken. The Messiah was reaching its climax; the whole audience could sense it. A soprano voice hovered above them:

If God be for us, who can be against us?
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?

Macrae could only watch as the knife hovered over his chest. He tried to see who was behind it, to make out a face, but he could not. The gleam of metal dazzled him; it seemed to have caught all the night's moonlight on its hard, polished surface. He knew he ought to be terrified: the voice inside his head told him he was. But it sounded oddly removed, like a commentator describing a faraway football game. Howard could see the knife coming closer toward him, but still it seemed to be happening to someone else.

Now the orchestra was in full force, Handel's music coursing through the church with enough force to waken the gods. The alto and tenor were as one, demanding to know:

O Death, where is thy sting?

Will was not a classical buff like his father, but the majesty and power of the music was making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Still staring straight ahead, he tried to imagine the expression his father would be wearing: he pictured him, rapt, and hoped that underneath that blissful exterior there might also lurk some pleasure at sharing this moment with his only son.

The blade descended, first across the chest. Macrae saw the red line it scored, as if the knife were little more than a scarlet marker pen. The skin seemed to bubble and blister: he did not understand why he felt no pain. Now the knife was moving down, slicing his stomach open like a bag of grain. The contents spilled out, a warm soft bulge of viscous innards. Howard was watching it all, until the moment the dagger was finally held aloft. Only then could he see the face of his murderer. His larynx managed to squeeze out a gasp of shock--and recognition. The blade found his heart, and all was dark.

The mission had begun.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Righteous Men by Sam Bourne Copyright © 2006 by Sam Bourne. 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.

What People are Saying About This

Jeffery Deaver

“a sweaty-palm roller-coaster ride through the dark side of religion and mysticism.”

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Righteous Men 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
rodman2735 More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Main Characters could have been stronger but all in all, very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the moment that I picked up the 'Righteous Men' I was intrigued by the unique story line. I read it in a matter of days, and felt that every minute of my time was time well spent. Since I completed the book, I have passed it on to my entire immediate family and now it has moved on to my extended family. It is getting rave reviews from all age groups and lifestyles. Sam Bourne has done a great job as a fiction writer! I have to question whether the 'reviewer' read the book based on her review, and paltry one star.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not an avid reader. The last book I read was The Firm about 15 years ago, and needless to say I do not like to read much. I happened to pick this book up by chance and once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. It kept me interested the whole time and I didn't think there was any 'filler' information at all. I can't see how anyone would not like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, no doubt in my mind. The 1 thing I didnot like is his 'Will' is so much like Preston&Child's William Simthback. Even the same news paper.I would like them to let their charters meet and work togeather on a story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book I admit is a little different than that of the Da Vinci Code which I loved. This book however does deal with a mystery that has has it's roots based in some facts. The story reads very well the characters are sympathetic and the story moves very fast. I read this in two days and was pleased with the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book sounded really interesting, however it is just very disappointing. It is so boring, I can't even bring myself to finish it. Maybe the ending is great, but it's just not worth wasting the time trying to get there. This is an emotionless book. No humor, energy, fear...I mean nothing. There is absolutely NO suspense in this story at all. The only thing this book inspires is sleep.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing less than 1 minute ago
this was kind of an old testament based "the davinci code" but better written. it's a fun and fast read. a murder mystery with a lot of twists and turns. i really enjoyed it. granted, it's not going to win a pullitzer or something crazy like that, but it's an enjoyable book.
harpua on LibraryThing less than 1 minute ago
This book wasn't too bad. Nice back story, fast enough pace for most of the book though there were a few slow places in the beginning. Based on ancient Jewish tradition mingled with a present day religious cult there were enough clues that I had it mostly figured out, but there was a twist that I hadn't counted on that made the ending quite enjoyable. Enjoyable.
afifarek on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Cub reporter at the New York Times thinks he is reporting on a string of unrelated murders when his wife is kidnapped. During his rescue efforts he realizes that he has stumbled upon a plot to bring about the end of the world by killing the tzadikim, the righteous men of our generation.
birdy47 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Another cryptology/conspiracy type book. Apparently this is meant to be a threat to Dan Brown, but I can't see him losing any sleep.
debs4jc on LibraryThing 28 days ago
At first Will just thinks he's lucked out in finding a good news story to chase. Two murders on opposite sides of the country, intriguing because both involve men who are remembered for unexpectedly making a sacrifice that can only be explained as "righteous". Will doesn't immediately make the connection, but when he is sent a message that his wife has been kidnapped he desperately starts to follow the kidnappers trail. Which leads him to a religious sect, an ancient legend, and more murders. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the "righteous men" in time?
sdekker on LibraryThing 28 days ago
The Righteous Men has a good start and a good end. But the center park of the book really takes too many pages to explain the friendships and especially the SMS-riddles. And there is a error as well: if you cannot see the sender of an SMS, you cannot reply. All in all this is a good book when you're on holidays but don't expect too much.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Will Monroe has an American Father and English mother. He grew up in England and now is working as a junior journalist in the New York Times. When he is assigned a murder there are questions about the reasoning. When he finds that another murder is somewhat linked, and his wife goes missing, kidnapped, he has a reason to investigate the murders. When he does he finds that the purpose is obscure and the motives of everyone around him has to be suspected. Starts with somewhat of a bang, then starts to lag and then picks up again. Interesting uses of Jewish legend and tradition. It kept me guessing and the twist at the end took me by surprise.
murraymint11 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Another book written on the back of the Da Vinci Code, but not as good in my opinion. There were some glaring 'Duh' moments (mostly from the main character) eg. he spent several hours spent trying to work out what a text message meant before his ex-girlfriend said 'Why don't you try replying to it?' Duh.
literarytiger on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is an OK thriller along the lines of The Da Vinci Code (yes - another one). The cataclysm in this book is based on an ancient Jewish tradition regarding the Righteous men who support the world. Will Monroe - a journalist on the New York Times, gets caught up in the race toward the end of the world when his wife is kidnapped, and it suddenly falls to him to try and rescue her and ultimately everything. Using his knack of getting into trouble, his tendency to not listen to anyone, and his trusty and tolerant ex-girlfriend, he embarks on a two day roller coaster ride to save the world.I don't think I was quite convinced by it. It was exciting, but put-down-able, and I had figured out the 'twist' long before it happened. I do think this formula is getting to the point where it has run its course.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept hoping the book would get better, tried to like the main character Will, but couldn't. Save yourself the time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good not great
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept on the edge of my seat although slightly repetitive. Amazing story, so muchbresearch and time was invested into it as you can tell. Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it for a book review in a british literature class. I picked it based on the requirement of the author being british... i couldnt put it down! It surely is not the davinci code, but it is a great book.
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