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The Lie

The Lie

A Novel

DAHLIA BARR DOES NOT SUFFER FOOLS—or her own government, with which she is normally at odds. Shrewd, brash, and as tough as she is beautiful, the controversial Israeli attorney specializes in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. She is also a devoted mother, a soon-to-be-divorced wife, and the lover of a handsome American television cor­respondent.

To Dahlia’s astonishment, the Israeli secu­rity establishment one day approaches her with a tantalizing proposition: Join us, and become the beleaguered nation’s arbiter on when to use the harshest of interrogation methods—what some would call torture. Dahlia is intrigued. She has no intention of permitting torture. Can she change the system from within?

Then, as Dahlia settles into her new job, her son Ari, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbol­lah and whisked over the border to Lebanon. The one man who may hold the key to Ari’s rescue is locked in a cell in police headquar­ters. Edward Al-Masri—professor, activist, media gadfly—is an Arab who has a long and complicated history with Dahlia. And he’s not talking. Yet.

The Lie is a nail-biting thriller, pulsing with insight into the inner workings of Israel’s secu­rity apparatus. It is an unforgettable story of human beings on both sides of the terror equa­tion whose lives turn out to share more in common than they—and the reader—could ever have imagined.
  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476740096 | 
  • March 2014
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Read an Excerpt

Lie 1
In the oak-paneled study of a comfortable Georgian home in the prosperous Westmount neighborhood of Montreal, Edward Al-Masri stops packing papers into his briefcase when he hears the doorbell. His rimless spectacles and academic tweeds are belied by a certain brooding intensity: His jaw is set, his eyes narrowed. Covered in a close thatch of premature gray—he is not yet forty-five—his large, handsome head is planted at an angle from shoulders that have never known physical work. His body seems a bit too small... see more
Lie 2
The courtroom in Jerusalem is carpeted in a lush blue, apparently meant to echo the two blue bands and Star of David of the flag on the wall behind the three judges. The walls are paneled in a pale oak veneer. Oak forests covered much of northern Israel until the Ottoman Turks, who ruled the Middle East until 1914, built railroads that crisscrossed the Holy Land and fueled them with what was at hand. As a result, the number of old-growth oaks in modern-day Israel might be counted in the hundreds. Occasionally, solitary trees can be found... see more
Lie 3
As the taxi plows sullenly through the Montreal snows, Fawaz Awad sits behind the driver puffing on a Gauloise in a gold cigarette holder. The left side of his heavy face is scarred, perhaps from burns, his thick glasses framed in gold with the left lens blacked out. In his mid-fifties, he is elegantly dressed, his left sleeve folded and pinned at the elbow. A cashmere overcoat is neatly arrayed on the seat between the two passengers.

“The Jews have one weakness,” he says. “They will fight to the last child. They... see more
Lie 4
In South Lebanon, Tawfeek Nur-al-Din stands at the edge of a high cliff overlooking the Israeli border. Still fit at forty, he is one of a rare group of Palestinian military commanders who has learned to emulate the example of the officer corps of his enemy: He does not lead from a desk; he leads by doing. Trained in Libya and Afghanistan, Commander Tawfeek carries with him the aura of personal martyrdom that is standard issue among Palestinian military leaders. Though he makes a point not to speak of this painful subject, it is said that... see more

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About the Author

Hesh Kestin

Hesh Kestin was for two decades a foreign correspondent, reporting from the Middle East on war, international security, terrorism, arms dealing, espionage, and global business. He was the London-based European correspondent for Forbes and is an eighteen-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. His articles have appeared in Newsday, the Jerusalem Post, Inc. and Playboy. The father of five, Kestin lives on Long Island in New York.

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