Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ambassadors

Television producer George Lerner’s debut novel The Ambassadors tells the turbulent story of a Mossad operative who in his determination to save the world loses his family. Traumatized by witnessing the Holocaust and other World War II experiences, Jacob Furman must also face a family tragedy, which proves to him that, even in America, Jews are not safe. He becomes an agent for the Mossad and spends his life traveling around the world trying rescue Jewish communities in crisis.

He marries a Shoah survivor, a brilliant anthropologist named Susanna, whom he leaves late in her pregnancy in order to go on a mission. She must bear her son alone. Later, when he travels with her to Ethiopia and abandons her in a dangerous situation, she decides to divorce him. Although he continues to live in the basement of their house, Jacob becomes more and more estranged from his son Shalom. His last mission takes him to Rwanda which is in the throes of a genocidal civil war. In the meantime, Shalom goes out of his way to disappoint both of his parents, abusing drugs, alcohol and women along the way.

The narrative is told from the point of view of all three characters, Jacob, Susanna, and Shalom, leading very different lives, until illness unites them at last. The novel is full of international intrigue as well as quiet human pathos and inner transformation.

(*NOTE: The Ambassadors was sent to me by the Historical Novel Society in exchange for my honest opinion.)

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