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The Testament: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 27, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

Troy Phelan hates his greedy, spoiled children. The aging multibillionaire knows that they're circling like vultures as he waits to die. Phelan's surprising last will and testament names a heretofore unknown beneficiary--a missionary living deep in the wilds of Brazil. Nate O'Riley, a lawyer fresh from his fourth stay in rehab, is sent to find her. Along the way, he learns about God and himself, and he discovers that the dangers of alcohol pale in comparison with the perils of the jungle. This abridgment, though jumpy at times, flows smoothly thanks to actor Henry Leyva's polished performance. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Grisham, with his master-storyteller legal thriller form, always plays well on audio. His latest begins with a coyly playful opening scene. Elderly billionaire industrialist Troy Phelan is holding court from his corporate office headquarters in Virginia. He has just rewritten his will to ensure that his rogue heirsAsix children and three ex-wivesAwill be cut off. Instead, he gives the bulk of his fortune to an illegitimate daughter, Rachel Lane, a religious missionary living among native peoples in the Brazilian jungle. This done, Phelan hurls himself out the office window, killing himself, leaving his heirs and their $500-an-hour lawyers to fight over his money. From here, the plot turns schmaltzy, as Nate O'Riley, an alcoholic attorney with a heart of gold, is sent to Brazil to seek out Rachel, where he summarily falls in love with her and finds spiritual redemption. Reader Leyva, a Shakespearean actor, is finely tuned as a professional narrator, making the book sound like a movie screenplay waiting to happen. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover. Also available unabridged and on CD. (Feb.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345531965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345531964
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,936 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 170 people found the following review helpful By on November 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is certainly the best John Grisham novel so far. A self-made billionaire commits suicide. When his last will is discovered, it is mind-boggling to the supposed-to-be heirs. He leaves his vast fortune to one of his children, Rachel. But she's enstranged to her father, and has given her life to God as a missionary in the jungles of Brazil. Now, the lawyers have to find her, which is not an easy task. In the meanwhile, the supposed-to-be heirs are circling like vultures, trying to overturn the 'insane' will. The story is suspenseful, heart-warming, adventurous, and beautifully written. It's also a picture of human nature, and the story carries a rare genuine redemptive byline. Really a good book!
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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on February 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book about greed, manipulation, serenity and redemption.
Grisham's first chapter sucks the reader into the story like few beginnings I have encountered. The first person perspective of a bitter and lonely billionaire who plots his revenge on his children even as he has plotted his own death is riviting.
When the story moves to inland Brazil, Grisham's narrative excels at explaining a remote yet beautiful land that few are aware exists. His characters likewise are well developed and beleivable in their roles. His portrayal of the several amoral lawyers borders on the hilarious and will serve to confirm many people's stereotypes of members of the bar.
What separates this novel from othe works of Grisham is the presence of God in the life of several of the characters. Religion is a positive influence on those it touches in the story and serves as the fulcrum upon which the plot turns.
This is the first fiction book I can recall reading where the strong faith of several major characters is treated as a positive defining aspect of their lives. In my experience, when I have encountered religion at all in fiction, it usually is presented as a character defect or held up to demonstrate the hypocrisy of those who do not practice what they preach. Grisham's treatment of faith as a central aspect of character and motivational force is refreshing and much more representative of how it affects most religious people.
I read the book quickly over several days. Great opening, well developed and interesting characters, enough greed and money on the line to titilate and a good juxtaposition of faith and redemption. A winner.
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88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Peter Krausche on June 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've haven't read any of the other Grisham novels, but when I heard what this one was about, I decided to give it a try - and was delightfully surprised! As a Christian, I am used to Christianity often being ridiculed in secular novels. Not so with this one.
Nate O'Riley, a twice-divorced alcoholic right out of rehab, must find Rachel Lane, a Christian missionary nobody seems to know, amongst the Indians in the Pantanal of Brazil. Almost like finding a needle in a haystack. The reason: Rachel has become single heir to the tenth largest fortune in the world! The encounter is destined to change both their lives forever.
Contrary to some of the other opinions here on the site, I find the ending perfect. John Grisham knew exactly what he was doing, and if they make a movie out of this book, I hope they don't change it. What absolutely startled me, but in a very positive way, was the grasp that John Grisham seems to have of Christianity and Christian missions. He seems to have received much of his information from Carl King, a Baptist missionary friend of his that lives in Campo Grande and has actually taken Grisham into the Pantanal. Finally a bestselling author who really knows what he's talking about (at least regarding information on various aspects of religion)!
So if you're looking for some food for your soul and a possible way of changing your life's perspectives, read this novel! And to John Grisham: keep up the good work!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By David Flores on January 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Boy, am I glad I didn't see Amazon's reader reviews before I read this book. I would've been negatively influenced and I would never have given myself the opportunity to read one of the most enjoyable stories I've read in a long time. C'mon people, we're not talking Ayn Rand deep, philosophical symbolism...this book is pure entertainment at it's finest. Take it for what it is and get lost in it. This book is lot of fun.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael Adamson on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Another Great Grisham Novel
The Testament was one of the best books I've ever read. Although it was a little slow at some points, it proved to be interesting enough to capture my attention the entire time. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good novel, but especially to Grisham fans. The book begins with Troy Phelan, an eccentric multi-billionaire, announcing to his seven children and four ex-wives that he is going to sign a will. Because he can't stand any of his children or ex-wives, he deceives them, making them think that they will be mentioned in his will. In reality he signs a will giving the money to one heir: an illegitimate child that no one knew about who is living in Brazil. The book continues as Nate O'Reily, one of Phelan's lawyers tries to find this child and get her to sign the will. The best thing about this book is how real the characters become. You really come to hate Mr. Pehlan's children, grandchildren, and ex-wives because of their terrible personalities. You find yourself cheering Nate O'Reily on in his bouts with alcoholism and becoming worried when he is in danger. This is definitely a must-read.
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