is asuspensenovel written byand published in the United States on January 11, 2005. The novel follows the story of Joel Backman, a newly pardoned prisoner who had tried to broker a deal to sell the worlds most powerfulsatellitesurveillance system to the highest bidder.

Joel Backman is the Broker, a considered to be one of the most powerfullobbyistsinWashington, D.C.. However, Backmans life falls apart when a deal collapses involving a hacked spysatellitethat nobody knows about, and he ends up in jail. Six years later, the political wheels have turned and other power-hungry men are eager for Backmans blood. Bargains are made, and after an outgoing disgracedPresidentgrants him a fullpardonat the behest of theCIA, Backman finds himself spirited out of the prison in the middle of the night, bundled onto a military plane, and flown toItalyto begin a new life. He has a new name and mysterious new friends who teach him to speak the language and to blend in with the people inBologna.

However, Backman soon realizes that something is not quite kosher in this new setup, in that he is under constant surveillance. In reality, the CIA is setting him up for professionalassassinsfromChinaIsraelRussiaSaudi Arabiaand other countries. They intend to sit back and wait to see who kills him in an effort to solve the biggest mystery to hit theUS governmentin decades: the question of who built this seemingly impenetrable and most advanced satellite ever. It turns out to be China; despite having low satellite technology, they stole the information from the U.S.

Backman barely survives several assassination attempts and manages to establish communication with his son, Neal. He escapes surveillance and returns to his home to contract a new deal with the US government. The CIA is told about the satellite, along with the taking of the satellites program. In return, they agree to do what they can to get the countries targeting him to back off, though they caution him that some of them will not listen. Backman then covers his escape by pretending that he is resuming his old life, then quietly disappears and presumably returns to Italy.

The Brokermade number one on theNew York Times bestseller list.1The book has been hailed by some critics as a return to form for Grisham, while others lament it as a superficial trip to Italy put into fiction form. ANew York Timesbook review claimed that the description of an outgoing president who was an idiot… but a clean one seemed to be referring toPresident Bush, or perhaps toBill Clintonsinfamous last-minute presidential pardons in 2001.2

The description of the town of Bologna, Italy, in the novel is quite accurate; however, it contains a few mistakes. For instance:

The church dedicated to Saint Petronius is called cathedral, but although it is the largest church in town, it has never been theCathedral of Bologna, as the author himself states elsewhere in the same book.

It is explained that Bologna is nicknamed the Red city because it is the most deeply communist town in Italy. Actually, Bologna was nicknamed la Rossa (the Red one) centuries before Marx was born, the word communism was invented, or the colour red was even associated with a political ideology. This nickname is because most old buildings in the town centre are red, since the earth of the local hills, when baked to make bricks, acquires this colour.

One of the Italian teachers of the main character states that only two medieval towers are still standing in Bologna and that all the others were demolished by order of the local authorities in the nineteenth century. In reality,numerous medieval towers are still standing in Bologna. Some of them are clearly visible from the places the main character visits, like Piazza Maggiore or the top of the Asinelli Tower. After the municipality had three towers demolished in 1917 to build new palaces, the decision was harshly criticised by some famous people of that time.

Another error lies in the orbital mechanics of the secret satellite system. The satellites are described as having an over-ground speed of 120 miles per hour, but are only 300 miles above the Earths surface; this is physically impossible for low-orbit satellites, which need an over-ground speed of over 16,000 miles per hour (and an orbital speed of about 17,000 miles per hour) to maintain orbit.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

This page was last edited on 19 April 2019, at 01:54

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