John Grisham’s The Testament
Publication Date: 1999
John Grisham’s most recent book, The Testament, has an extra element of adventure. Unlike most of his previous books, there are no Mafia members lurking around every corner, nor FBI agents. In their place are alligators and anacondas.
The book opens with billionaire Troy Phelan, who carefully planned his own death. His heirs are anxiously awaiting his death to collect their share of his fortune.
His heirs also are certain that they are guaranteed billions of dollars. However, what they don’t know is Troy Phelan has outsmarted them. Without his heirs’ knowledge, Phelan changed his will, moments before his death, leaving all of his money to his illegitimate daughter Rachel, a missionary who worked in the South American jungle.
Throughout the book, very few people have contact with Rachel since she left for her missionary work. Enter Nate O’Riley, a successful medical malpractice lawyer from Washington, D.C., fresh out of rehab.
Nate is assigned this mission for the following reasons: To keep him out of the law office, away from alcohol and out of reach of the IRS.
When Nate finds Rachel, he discovers that unlike the rest of their family, she is not interested in the money. She prefers to live a simple life, serving God deep within the Brazilian jungles.
Grisham captivates his audience with a fascinating trek through an unknown land. He does a fantastic job writing and illustrating his description of the journey and developing the main character, Nate. Nate is so touched by Rachel and her teachings that upon his return home he volunteers to help renovate a church and make up for the lost time with his children.
Although there’s an excellent story line, plot and character development, the ending was a disappointment. Grisham’s ending appears to have been rushed after starting out with tremendous energy, but the energy dies off in a hapless conclusion.
– Jennifer Bert, Temple News Staff Writer