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The Betrayal - Sabin Willett
Member Name: CTVicky
The Betrayal - Sabin Willett
Advantages: Plot, characters, prose
I bought this second-hand and read it a few years ago. I decided to buy it after reading the intriguing blurb and the positive comments from USA Today on the back of the book.
-About the author-
I've looked online for information about the author and for other fans of the book but my efforts have mainly been fruitless. It seems to be a little-known book, strangely enough. Still, I quite like having an interest all to myself!
On the first page of the book, it tells you that Sabin Willett, the author, first went to public school in England, then went to Harvard in the US, and he is now a lawyer in Boston.
-What the book is about-
The Betrayal is a suspense thriller about a woman called Louise Shidler, a thirty-seven year old lawyer and mother who works for the US President's running mate Royal Stillwell, who is also Louise's mentor. She started working for him when he was at the bottom of the political ladder and helped him to get where he is today.
Unfortunately, her beloved husband Toby has left her and her daughter Isobel has been struggling with adolescence, meaning her job has had to take a back seat. As a result, she has not progressed as far with her career as she would have hoped.
Still, all of these issues seem like drops in the ocean when she discovers that someone has framed her for committing $50m fraud and she's about to go to prison. Then to make matters worse, the FBI get involved and her daughter is kidnapped.
It seems to Louisa that it's quite possible that Royal Stillwell, her hero could be behind all this, which is unbearable. It also seems that she has been massively underestimated and decides to play the very dangerous game she has been unwittingly dragged into, leading her to turn her back on the government and authority completely, disappear from her job, her old life and go on an extraordinary adventure, in the hopes that she can save her daughter in time and get her revenge on whoever is responsible.
That seems like I've given away most of the plot but that's not even half of it! This book is guaranteed to keep you biting your nails from start to finish, as you wonder what is going to happen to Louisa and Isobel; whether Louisa can get to her in time, and just who is behind all of this.
The book is a great intellectual accomplishment in terms of a study of US politics, psychology and relationships, and it really is beautifully written. Some of it is like poetry, like here for example:
"The bright-eyed young boys are supermen. There is something nebbishy about most of these boys in the harsh light of noonday, but now in the darkness, fortified by intoxication, and communing with the thrill that is running through everyone here, their chests expand with confidence. By midnight they will be heartthrobs enough."
It is 624 pages long, which is A LOT, but it honestly didn't feel like that many when I read it. I was so gripped by The Betrayal that I whizzed right through it at high speed.
I loved Louisa's character, I found her very likeable as a strong woman. The book goes into great detail about her despair and heartache when Isobel has been kidnapped and you just feel connected to Louisa throughout the book, as if you are going through this experience by her side.
The book was like a crescendo of suspense and it really went out with a bang. I'm quite hard to please with endings but I loved the ending for this. I was completely satisfied.
The Betrayal is obviously not for the faint-hearted as there are some violent and harrowing parts in there, but not many. It's mainly beautiful prose and exciting action.
I think this book is extremely underrated and underappreciated. I would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.
624 pages long
First published in 1998, my copy published in 1999 by Arrow Books.
Summary: Something to sink your teeth into!