The Broker by John Grisham.


“The Broker” is Joel Backman, a lawyer/lobbyist who went to prison six years ago for conspiring to sell a satellite system to an unnamed party outside the United States. The outgoing President, Arthur Morgan offers him pardon and he is released from prison, to be scuttled out of the country and hidden away in Italy. Backman had been sent to prison six years ago because he had been the broker in a deal to control the software that operates the latest to-secret spy satellite system. The Director of the CIA convinces the President to pardon him but the motive behind his action is not altruistic. The reason for engineering Backman’s release and helping him to go into hiding is to set him up as bait to fish out the parties involved in the deal for the satellite software.

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The CIA figures that whoever owns the satellite will find Blackman and kill him for having allowed himself to be caught six years ago. But since they have Backman under surveillance they will have the opportunity to unearth that vital piece of intelligence.

Grisham’s book involves politics, espionage and above all the vital element of surveillance that forms an essential component of contemporary intelligence activity. The key element that drives this book on to its climax is the fact that the reader does not know who put up the secret satellites and who’s trying to buy the software and the intense surveillance maintained on Backman as he lives in Italy is geared towards unlocking these secrets. Backman however, has his own plans and he doesn’t plan to let either side get to him. But the information he is privy to about the secret satellite system makes him a prime target. He is constantly under surveillance and the novel demonstrates the extent to which the advances in development of satellite technology have led to its increasingly intrusive role, blurring the lines between

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