THE TENTH SONG by Naomi Ragen


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An upper-middle-class Jewish family is thrown into turmoil when a father is accused of abetting terrorism.

Things couldn’t be more idyllic for the Samuels clan of Cambridge, Mass. Abigail is exulting in the pleasurable planning of a gala engagement party for daughter Kayla and future son-in-law Seth, two Harvard Law students with bright futures. But why is the caterer giving her the fish-eye? The news has hit the Internet: Suddenly the whole world knows that Abigail’s husband, Adam, a prominent CPA, has just been led, in handcuffs, from his Boston office by the FBI. The charge arose from the fact that Adam had steered some high-profile clients, including a former ghetto dweller turned celebrity entrepreneur, toward a hedge fund that, unbeknownst to Adam despite due diligence, financed terrorist operations. Seth, a controlling sort who pressures Kayla into straightening her hair and wearing pinstripes in order to better her chances with law-firm recruiters, insists that she distance herself from her father to avoid tainting her career prospects. Adam’s formerly close friends and even his rabbi shun him. On bail, awaiting trial and facing the loss of his hard-won reputation and prosperity, Adam grows increasingly despondent and rebuffs Abigail’s efforts to comfort him. Kayla impulsively hops a plane to Israel, and winds up on an archeological dig near the Dead Sea. There, amid a group of free spirits called the Talmidim, she lives off the land and studies with a charismatic guru, Rav Natan. She’s drawn to Daniel, an Israeli surgeon whose family was killed by a suicide bomber. Ironically, Daniel, with his contacts in Israeli army intelligence, may be the Samuels family’s salvation. Adam, alarmed by Kayla’s defection from the mainstream, sends both Abigail and Seth after her. Both will then experience epiphanies of their own. 

A page-turner illustrating the horrifying consequences of becoming embroiled in the American legal system, slowed by far too many weighty passages of authorial comment about the sad state of morals today.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-57017-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2010


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