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on November 21, 2010
Imagine that your precious only daughter has just graduated from law school and seems enchanted with a young Palestinian that she worked with in law school. The young man has invited her to come to Israel to work on the defense of a Palestinian accused of triggering a bomb in a prominent Israeli hotel that murdered the U.S. President, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the Hamas leader shortly to become President of the newly established Palestinian state, as the leaders were about to announce their agreement.

You are also a famous trial lawyer who has defended a long line of detestable characters, winning a reputation as a genius.

Your daughter defies your wishes, as young people are will do, and goes to Israel to begin work on the case. Shortly thereafter, she is kidnapped.

What would you do? Probably go to Israel as Abraham Ringel and his former spy wife did.

The Trials of Zion is a fine thriller written by a famous lawyer and law professor, perhaps envisioning himself in the situation of his protagonist. In any event, this is a superbly well crafted story. It flows easily. Mr. Dershowitz includes an interesting history of families that immigrated to Israel at the time of the American Civil War as elements of the Zionist movement. The stories of these families shed light on the intrigues of the story.

In thrillers, it seems there is often violence and one dimensional characters. In The Trials of Zion, you will enjoy a touching story full of characters who have histories, secrets from each other, romantic interests, fears and hopes, and content. This is a story that I was sad to see end.

Aside from the excellent story and fine writing, the background of The Trials of Zion provides an interesting commentary on the real world struggles of the people of the Holy Land, and the role of Iran today, without judgmental commentary one way or another. In the end, the identity of the bad guys provides a clever, fascinating, thoughtful, and surprising ending.

Put this one on your list!
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on March 14, 2012
Dershowtiz quotes Justice Holmes in saying "Young man, we're in the law business, not the justice business." Dershowtiz needs to stick to the law business. He is a poor novelist. The plot was rushed and filled with significant holes. Anyone who seriously reads well-written thrillers could find many technical errors. He could have benefited from a technical expert reading it for him.

Everything felt rushed and very thin. I didn't believe anything. I expected this to be something good, not airport paperback trash quality writing. A damn love story that advanced the plot was tacked in as tactlessly as in a B movie. I felt insulted as a reader.

The torture scene was gratitious and insulting. The whole "crazy Christians did it" theme is also insulting, and I think very discriminatory. Dershowtiz should be ashamed of himself for this, because it is just like the age-old "the Jews did it" tripe that racist writers have penned. I won't criticize him too much for it, because the Christians were crazy, but he puts the Muslim terrorists in a better, more sympathetic light.

Dershowtiz should not be writing anything that takes place outside of a courtroom, and even then, his legal scenes were less-than thrilling. Political/spy thriller? No. Legal thriller? No. Middle-Eastern idealist novel, yes, but a poor one. This wasn't total trash and even though it is a cheap, unsophisticated novel, at least it made sense. I'll give Dershowtiz credit for outlining his work, at least. And maybe I have a little respect more respect for defense attorneys, but that's another story.

My big point: read something else.
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on October 1, 2010
In East Jerusalem in the near future, American President Moore, Israeli President Ezratti and Palestinian President Yassah reach a major peace agreement seen on television round the world. As they hold hands in unity, a bomb explodes killing thirty one people; many of whom were heads of state including Moore. The Martyrs of Jihad claim responsibly and Israeli police arrest Muslim radical Faisal Husseini caught videotaping the assassination scene. He is accused of the murders.

Palestinian Human Rights lawyer Habash Ein asks his Yale friend, twenty-six years old Jewish attorney Emma Ringel to come to Israel to assist him in defense of Husseini. Over the objections and concerns of her father celebrity lawyer Abe, she accepts. Abe is forced to assist Emma as pressure mounts from all sides on her. Some even threaten the Ringel loved ones if the deliberation ends the wrong way. Complicating matters for daughter and father are those threatening them and others they cherish leave them to know if they obtain an acquittal or not, someone is apt to try to harm them or their loved ones.

The third Ringel legal thriller (see Advocate's Devil Just Revenge) is a fabulous tale that enables the reader to see how different the Israeli jurisprudence system is from that of the United States. The courtroom scenes are especially superb as Alan M. Dershowitz takes the audience inside the Israeli legal world. Although the thriller elements feel unnecessary, The Trials of Zion is an entertaining novel that highlights how convoluted reaching peace in the area has been.

Harriet Klausner
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on July 17, 2011
This third entry in a series by Alan Dershowitz is not the book it should have been. Although interesting in sections, it somehow seems rushed and incomplete as if Mr Dershowitz did not fully think out the plot line or story implications. Too much of the events depicted appear forced. Is it a political thriller or a legal thriller? The author seems to want it both ways and does not succeed in either. The first 2 books in this series were excellent. This one is interesting but mediocre. The problems develop right from the beginning. In the first pages, the President of the US, the Prime Minister of Israel and the leader of Hamas are murdered by a bomb and we are told nothing of the political and military implications of such an act. Mr Dershowitz should have keep his story simpler and gone directly to the workings of the Israeli justice system which is in itself worthy of a legal drama to explain to American audiences how different it is from justice systems in other nations.
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on August 30, 2015
It is what you would expect a renowned trial attorney to write. Fast paced and exciting, but I found the "guilty party" preposterous, and perhaps reflecting the author's view of Evangelical Christians.
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on July 6, 2011
if you're really into legal thrillers you might like the broad overview of Israeli court cases.
if you're really into terrorism you might like the broad references to PLO/PA/Hamas/Iran
if you're really into the Palestinian issues you'll love the fact that terrorists blow up the President of the USA, PM Israel and PM of future Palestinian state.
if you're really into Jewish issues you might find the story a bit far fetched.

conclusion - it's an okay novel, but not spectacular.
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on September 26, 2011
I expected much more from mr. dershowitz. This book is very very mediocre, the story so pedestrian I was unable to finish it - found it boring 75% of the time spent. A waste of my time, will donate this one to my library.
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on July 6, 2015
I did not expect much of Dershowitz as a fiction writer, but being a sucker for legal thrillers I gave it a try. What a mistake! From his non-fiction I should have expected him treating the reader as an idiot, but this was above and beyond. Both defence and prosecution pompously explained obvious details, while introducing evidence that would be admissible only in Stalin's courts. Did I mention the narrative language more fitting for legal briefs? Don't subject yourself to this kind of trial.
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on December 22, 2010
I'm not going to try to retell the story here since that has been done in previous reviews.

The Trials of Zion is a superb, well-told, fast moving thriller that is thoroughly entertaining. The reader will get a look into the history of the Middle East while enjoying a first rate tale of intrigue. A page-turner. A must read for those who are concerned with current events in the Holy Land.
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on July 20, 2012
This is the first time I have delved into the open sores and issues that the people of Israel can really and properly lay supported claims to their lands. As usual Alan Dershowitz gets down to the roots of the problems. A fine read and answers to ancient problems of a seething area of the mid-east of our world.
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