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Publisher's Summary

Set in the era of the Nixon and Reagan presidencies, this novel examines the American conscience while inviting us into the glittering world of the East Coast legal community. Stephen L. Carter's book follows black Ivy League law professor Talcott Garland as he investigates the death of his father, Judge Oliver Garland, the eponymous "Emperor."
When Judge Garland received a Supreme Court nomination, a nationally televised humiliation forced his withdrawal, a scandal from which he never recovered. Now his sudden death hints at an even more terrible scandal that links this privileged Martha's Vineyard family to the shadowlands of crime. To follow the clues left by his father, Tal risks everything, and uncovers a tapestry of ambition, family secrets, and justice gone terribly wrong.
©2002 Stephen L. Carter; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A thrilling read, driven by a cocktail of plot and character." (The Observer)
"An elegantly nuanced novel, with finely drawn characters, a challenging plot, and perfect pacing." (Booklist)
"[A] complex literary thriller. Carter deftly weaves together several strands, from the relationships of father and sons and husbands and wives to the politics of the Nixon and Reagan eras." (Bookpage)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Maria on 04-23-04

Not a bad book but where was the editor?

A decent storyline and plausible characters but way to long and repetitive. This book could easily have been condensed in half without reducing the value. I found myself not really listening especially the 2 middle parts and in hindsight it might have been better to get the abridged version.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Terry on 06-05-04

Long, drawn-out and not particularly satisfying

This is a curious book - it's not really a thriller as the plot is too thin and there's little action. But then it's not really a literary novel either, which is what it seems to have pretensions to be. As others have commented, the narrator evinces littles sympathy. In fact, none of the characters does. A more self-centred, obnoxious bunch you'd be hard-pressed to find. Where the book works best is in the description of a troubled marriage and the narrator's relationship with his three-year-old son, but this has precious little to do with driving the plot along. There's some good writing scattered throughout the book, but there is way too much padding and pointless meanderings. The abridged version is almost certainly a better bet - this is one title that could be cut to a third of its length without harm.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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