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Protect and Defend Mass Market Paperback – October 30, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 205 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Kerry Kilcannon Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard North Patterson, whose legal thrillers have won him legions of devoted mystery fans, shows off his superb pacing and narrative gifts as well as his ability to create vividly realized characters in this compelling novel of late-term abortion, parental consent, and the battle over a nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court. Unlike Patterson's typical courtroom dramas, the name of this game isn't murder; it's the body politic that's bleeding. When newly elected Democratic president Kerry Kilcannon nominates appeals court judge Caroline Masters to the top spot on the court, he knows he'll have a fight on his hands. Leading the opposition is his political rival, MacDonald Gage, the GOP majority leader who owes his soul and career to the Christian right wing. They're suspicious of Masters even before a politically charged case involving a teenager whose parents refuse to allow her to terminate a disastrous pregnancy ends up in her court. More principled than Gage, but equally adamant, is Republican senator Chad Palmer, who, like Masters, harbors his own potentially career-destroying secret.

Masters is an intriguing character, a woman whose judicial integrity, personal privacy, and political ambitions collide when she casts a tie-breaking vote on the constitutionality of the recently enacted Protection of Life bill. Not only young Mary Anne Tierney's future is at stake: so are the reproductive rights of all women, the resilience of the judicial system, and the personal lives of innocent bystanders who will be sacrificed on the altar of the First Amendment--the public's right to know, and the media's right to tell. Moving swiftly between the courts of public opinion and the federal judiciary, from San Francisco to the nation's capital, Patterson tells a mesmerizing story that's been praised by political and legal luminaries such as Mario Cuomo, Barbara Boxer, and Alan Dershowitz. But don't let that stop you. This up-to-date version of Advise and Consent is a provocative read that will resonate with political junkies as well as those who've made bestsellers out of Patterson's more typical genre thrillers. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

U.S. President Kerry Kilcannon, introduced by Patterson in 1998's No Safe Place, returns for another political dogfight in this meticulously researched, sharply observed tension builder about a Supreme Court nominee mired in the abortion debate. Kilcannon, seeking to counter the court's conservative leanings, has nominated another Patterson heroine, Caroline Masters (Degree of Guilt; The Final Judgment), an appellate court judge of impeccable legal pedigree, yet one vulnerable to attack from the right. The single San Francisco judge harbors a secret: she had a child out of wedlock 27 years ago, a painful ordeal that her critics soon uncover. Masters's struggle for confirmation by the U.S. Senate plays out against the backdrop of another court caseDthat of Mary Ann Tierney, a 15-year-old six months pregnant with a hydrocephalic baby. Citing a new federal law, Tierney's parents, both prolife activists, refuse to allow their daughter to abort. When Tierney's suit seeking to overturn the law reaches the appellate court, Masters's foes work out a backroom deal that requires Masters to hear the case and issue an opinion that could doom her nomination and possibly Kilcannon's presidency. Excelling as both a political novel and a tale of suspense, Patterson's latest takes a provocative look at the ethics of abortion and the power plays endemic to American politics, skewering the Christian Right, the gun lobby and campaign financing along the way. In lesser hands, the book's exhaustive recitation of abortion pros and cons might have spelled polemical tedium, but Patterson's strong characterizations and sensitivity to both sides (though he leans prochoice) illuminate one of society's most bitter and divisive issues. Agent, Fred Hill. (Dec.) Forecast: With the future of the Supreme Court at stake in this last election, the reach of this perfectly timed novel could extend beyond Patterson's usual fans. A 500,000-copy first printing has been announced; the book is also a dual main selection of the Literary Guild, a featured alternate selection of BOMC and a selection of the Doubleday Book Club and the Mystery Guild, and will be a simultaneous Random House Audiobook and available in a large print edition from Random. We're talking major bestseller here.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345404793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345404794
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William F Harrison on March 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of Richard North Patterson until I read this book. I am a 65 year old Gynecologist who does not read a lot of fiction, but since reading Protect and Defend (P&D), I have read two other works by Patterson: the newly retitled Caroline Masters and No Safe Place. While these are not so fine as Protect and Defend, which I consider on a plane with The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevski, they are also compelling books of their genre. Back to P&D - As a close observer of the political scene for the past 50 years and one with an extensive and hardwon knowledge of the abortion issue and its advocates on both sides, this book is a like a college course in current American political life and mores as well as the highly complex and agonizing partial birth abortion controversy. I was surprised and pleased that someone who was neither a physician nor a politician could "get it right" on so many levels: current day partisan political infighting over a supreme court nominee, campaign finance and the serious consequences of its current practice, the highjacking of the once responsible Repubilcan Party by special interests and the Religious Right, the extreme difficulty of adhering to principle by politicians dependent on the hugh sums of money poured into the politican system by one issue interest groups on both the left and the right, and last but not least, the complexity of the compelling legitimate arguments on both sides of the abortion issue.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best novel I have read in many years. It combines all of the essential ingredients: colorful and credible characters, a crisp and cohesive plot, important themes, memorable incidents which become defining moments, all manner of compelling conflicts, and a remarkable authenticity of setting. Patterson also demonstrates a special gift for wit, evident in countless conversations between antagonists.
Briefly, Kerry Kilcannon, President of the United States, nominates Caroline Masters to replace the recently deceased Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He has sworn to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" and believes that Masters is best qualified to help him do so. There is fierce opposition to her in the Senate, led by MacDonald Page. Another Senator, Chad Palmer, is caught in the political maneuverings between Kilcannon and Gage. That is one of two primary plots. The second focuses on Mary Anne Tierney, a pregnant and unwed teenager, who sues her parents to abort what is believed to be a terminally deformed fetus. This is in defiance of their Pro Life convictions as well as the recently passed Protection of Life bill which Gage and his cohorts are determined to "protect and defend." There are also various sub-plots.
The more I think about the title, the better I understand why Patterson chose it. His primary and secondary characters all struggle to protect and defend themselves in terms of their values, their fiduciary and (in several instances) parental responsibilities, their social and/or political leverage, and their carefully-guarded secrets. Patterson is a great storyteller. Also, he reveals a deep concern for preserving a nation's constitutional integrity.
This is a "great read" which, obviously, I recommend highly.
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Format: Hardcover
Recently appointed President, Kerry Kilcannon, has to face his first challenge: the death of the Chief Justice of the United States. The death comes as a shock, and leaves a vacant seat on the Supreme Court, a seat that needs to be filled quickly as a major abortion case of a fifteen year-old comes to trial. President Kilcannon decides to nominate Caroline Masters, a woman hiding a secret.
Mary Ann Tierney is a fifteen year-old girl in trouble: she is pregnant and her baby is at risk of being born without a brain, as well as further ruining any chance of her having other children. Mary Ann's parent's are conservatives against abortion...no matter what the risk, so begins a legal battle as the parents want custody of their daughter's unborn baby.
As the case heats up, so do the political games that will be played to expose Caroline and keep her off the Supreme Court.
"Protect And Defend" is an oustanding tale of legal and political suspense, laced with the hot topic of abortion.
Richard North Patterson has crafted his best tale in years; bringing characters from previous novels and placing them in a masterful novel that CAN NOT BE PUT DOWN.
Nick Gonnella
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By A Customer on January 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Richard North Patterson dares to write a book that is essentially a long extended discussion of political ideas and the inner-workings of the courts and Congress. What a great read it is! Patterson remembers that politics is personal and consistently shows the human side of people's beliefs. During an extended trial, various people testify regarding third-trimester abortion. Patterson insures that all who testify have very strong, very personal reasons for their opinions and they frequently bring up many troubling issues.
Patterson's greatest achievement with this book is that he is able to make you think about issues that you already thought you had long decided on. It is also a pleasure to spend more time with characters from his previous books. He cares deeply about what he is writing and the subjects that he brings up and you will finding yourself caring just as much from the first pages. Only Gore Vidal is able to capture in fiction the feel of politics with the same feeling of truth and quiet passion.
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