Category: Crime, Mystery & Thrillers / Thrillers
Publication date: 7 February 2002
Number of pages: 720
She was a girl, really, with short red hair and a waif-like slimness. But despite the flowered dress she wore, her belly had begun to show. Immobile, the girl gazed at the clinic as though it were a thousand miles away.' The young woman is Mary Ann Tierney. She is fifteen years old. Within days her name will be known to millions across America, her court case a television must-watch for everyone from the President downwards. As Mary Ann takes on her own parents and the constitutional law of the United States in a desperate bid to protect her future right to bear children, the ramifications of 'the Tierney case' bring a threat to the new President, Kerry Kilcannon, to his nominee for Chief Justice, Caroline Masters, and to his main rival for the Presidency, Senator Chad Palmer. All have dangerous secrets in their past, secrets that would not only threaten careers, but bring death and tragedy to innocent lives.
Patterson is best known for his crime thrillers, but here he ventures into the world of high politics and social concerns. The result is no less absorbing, the focus just as sharp. A particular strength is his choice of an issue very much of our times - one with which many families will identify. Mary Ann Tierney, a 15-year-old Californian girl, is pregnant with a brain-damaged child that she wants to abort. However, a new law requires parental consent - and there is the problem. Mary Ann's parents are pro-lifers and will not agree to termination, even though they know the birth could leave their daughter sterile. When Mary Ann enlists lawyer Sarah Dash to fight her corner, alarm is raised at the White House where new President Kerry Kilcannon has just arrived. Kerry intends to appoint Caroline Clark Masters as the United States's first female Chief Justice - but Caroline and Sarah are former colleagues, and it is clear that this abortion issue could undermine the government. The plot becomes more complex, relationships intertwine and we find that moral dilemmas affect more players than at first seemed apparent. The characters are so strong that the reader will find it hard not to root for one side or the other, or even both. Patterson's story could be seen as a treatise on the pro- or anti-abortion issue and he certainly makes his own stance clear. To that extent the eventual outcome is foreshadowed, but getting there proves to be a tense passage. This is a blockbusting story in whatever genre you care to define it, and Patterson's writing is as ever blessedly unpretentious. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"In Protect and Defend, Richard North Patterson has caught lightning in a bottle. It's a brilliant political novel and a terrific tale of suspense. You can't put the damn thing down, and you don't want to" Stephen King "Protect and Defend is an important novel on passion and politics. Richly rewarding in both story and character, this is a tale that appeals to both the intellect and the heart" Amy Tan "A superlative legal drama" Sunday Telegraph
Richard North Patterson has written a number of novels including the international bestsellers, Degree of Guilt, Eyes of a Child, The Final Judgement, Silent Witness, No Safe Place, Dark Lady and Protect and Defend. His novels have won the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere. He and his wife, Laurie, live with their family in San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard.
In Stock: 6 copies