A riveting spy thriller, Jericho's Fall is the spellbinding story of a young woman running for her life from shadowy government forces.
In a secluded mountain retreat, Jericho Ainsley, former CIA director and former secretary of defense, is dying of cancer. To his bedside he has called Rebecca DeForde, a young, single mother, who was once his lover. Instead of simply bidding farewell, however, Ainsley imparts an explosive secret and DeForde finds herself thrown into a world of international intrigue, involving ex-CIA executives, local police, private investigators, and even a US senator. With no one to trust, DeForde is suddenly on the run, relying on her own wits and the lessons she learned from Ainsley to stay alive.
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Stephen L. Carter’s brilliant debut, The Emperor of Ocean Park, spent eleven week son the New York Times best-seller list. Now, in Jericho’s Fall, Carter turns his formidable talents to the shadowy world of spies, official secrecy, and financial fraud in a thriller that rivets the reader’s attention until the very last page.
In an imposing house in the Colorado Rockies, Jericho Ainsley, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and a Wall Street titan, lies dying. He summons to his beside Beck DeForde, the younger woman for whom he threw away his career years ago, miring them both in scandal. Beck believes she is visiting to say farewell. Instead, she is drawn into a battle over an explosive secret that foreign governments and powerful corporations alike want to wrest from Jericho before he dies.
An intricate and timely thriller that plumbs the emotional depths of a failed love affair and a family torn apart by mistrust, Jericho’s Fall takes us on a fast-moving journey through the secretive world of intelligence operations and the meltdown of the financial markets. And it creates, in Beck DeForde, an unforgettable heroine for our turbulent age.
A Q&A with Stephen L. Carter
Question: Jericho's Fall is a departure from your previous novels. What made you decide to turn your attention to a spy thriller?
Stephen L. Carter: I was ready for a change of pace. My other novels have been large—as the reviewers like to say, multi-layered. I wanted to try a short, straightforward page turner, a book to be read for the sheer pleasure of the story. Thrillers are fun to read, and, as I discovered, they are also lots of fun to write. If readers like Jericho's Fall, I expect I will write more of them.
Question: In your "Author's Note" you write that "the problem of mental illness among intelligence professionals is often said to be endemic." This link between intelligence work and madness is certainly born out in your character Jericho Ainsley. Why do you think this link exists and is this what drew you to Jericho's story?
Stephen L. Carter: In researching my previous novel, Palace Council, I became fascinated by the problem of mental illness in the intelligence community, an issue much-commented on in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly because of James Jesus Angleton, whose paranoia when he ran counter-intelligence at the CIA nearly tore the place apart. I thought that structuring a story around an ex-spy who was losing his mind might provide a nice hook, and the rest just followed.
Question: Jericho is former Director of the CIA, former Secretary of Defense, former White House National Security Advisor ("former everything" as you refer to him). You seem equally interested in how his career affected not only him but his family and in particular his ex-lover Rebecca DeForde ("Beck"). Why did you decide to make Beck the center of the story?
Stephen L. Carter: My first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, dealt in part with what happens to the family of a man who is embittered after losing a tough confirmation battle for the Supreme Court. Here, I thought about the men in public life who have been brought down (or nearly brought down) by their relationships with women. We always find out what happened to the men, but rarely what happened to the women. In Beck DeForde, I wrote a character who was once "the other woman" to a famous man, and has had to rebuild her life after their tempestuous relationship ended. The idea of drawing her into the conspiratorial web surrounding her ex-lover was irresistible.
Question: Have you always been fascinated with the idea of spies and secrets?
Stephen L. Carter: It is not spying itself that interests me, it is the people who do it. I have done some reading about the toll that intelligence work takes on families, and here I have tried to imagine it fictionally.
As to secrets, I teach a course at Yale Law School on secrets and the law. We build powerful walls to keep secrets, and most of them are probably not worth keeping. Those that are, sooner or later tend to leak through the wall. No doubt there are some secrets that should be kept, but classification and national security tempt those in power to keep in the darkness acts and words that should be dragged into the light. One rule of thumb I wish all officials would follow is this: Don't do anything you're not willing to defend in your memoirs.
Question: What sort of research did this novel require? Did you have to investigate the history of the CIA? What it's like to work in the intelligence community? Interrogation techniques? Did your research into the intelligence community unearth any surprises?
Stephen L. Carter: I did a lot of research about the CIA, its history, its structure, its personalities, as well as about various mental illnesses. One thing that struck me was how much mental illness there has been, historically, near the top of the Agency. I mentioned Angleton. Frank Wisner, the father of the clandestine services, had a nervous breakdown while on the job. There are other, smaller stories, as well.
(Photo © Elena Seibert)About the Author:
Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, and the author of seven nonfiction books. Jericho’s Fall is his fourth novel. He and his family live in Connecticut.
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Book Description Vintage, 2010. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "Strong. . . . Immediate. . . . Masterful."-Steve Berry "Heart-stopping. . . . Carter brings the reader to a blazing final confrontation."--Denver Post "An intense, beautifully written thriller that held me in its grip from the very first page to the last."--Christopher Reich "The best espionage novel I've come across in twenty years."-Lincoln Child "Carter meticulously ratchets up the tension." -Chris Bohjalian,The Boston Globe "Jericho's Fallis that rare thing: a page-turner that grips the readers' attention as they plunge into a vortex. . . . A thrilling roller coaster ride until the very last page. . . . Carter is a masterly novelist."-San Francisco Chronicle "An intricate spy thriller that proceeds at breakneck speed. . . . Graham Greene's readers, who savored [his] novels' unselfconscious erudition and matter-of-fact moral complexity, as well as their engaging plots, are likely to feel themselves on familiar ground here."-Los Angeles Times "A simmering page-turner about the murky underbelly of intelligence and finance that."-Seattle Times "Carter writes graceful prose, and he understands the mechanics of suspenseful storytelling."-Washington Post "One of those novels that people linger over and re-read simply for the experience and pleasure of analyzing how the author worked his magic. . . . Stephen Carter is possessed of a sharp and subtle wit. . . . This is the sharpest manifestation of his talent to date."-Bookreporter. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_030747447X
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