THE FIRST STONE by John Briley

THE FIRST STONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Talky, tear-jerking thriller from screenwriter/novelist Briley (The Traitors, 1969, etc.). Would you believe a blond, blue-eyed Jewish-American beauty who meets, captivates, and weds a Saudi Arabian princeling on orders from Israeli intelligence? That this brainy, worldly young woman remains tucked away in a desert harem for almost two decades before she's called upon to serve the murky cause of her masters in Tel Aviv? That the long-married lady genuinely regrets betraying her handsome husband? Then Briley has a book for you. At the behest of Mossad, Lisa Cooper contrives to run into Le'ith Safadi while both are students at UCLA during the late 1970s. The dashing young MBA candidate (whose given name means young lion) is soon besotted and, against the urgent advice of his US minders, he takes her to wife. While not of the royal house, the Safadis wield considerable influence within the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Although the unblushing bride eventually wins over the senior members of Le'ith's extended family, she doesn't fool her villainous, ambitious brother-in-law Rashid, who suspects her from the start. Meanwhile, the ever volatile Middle East is convulsed by events ranging from Israel's invasion of Lebanon through the Gulf War. At length, after the Jewish State and the PLO take their first tentative steps toward peace, Lisa is called upon to sell out Le'ith (who's negotiating with his traditional enemies to join forces in an economic development project that could benefit the whole region). One fine day in Cairo, she betrays him, albeit with a heavy heart. Barely escaping the ensuing violence with her own life. Lisa learns (after arriving in Israel) that Le'ith has survived as well. At this point, the in-from-the-cold agent realizes she truly loves her no longer young lion and returns to Saudi Arabia for a dramatically implausible reunion. Danielle Steel meets Robert Ludlum without any particularly gainful result.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-688-15235-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1997