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The Will

The Will

A Novel

What lengths would someone go to bury a secret?
What lengths would someone go to uncover one?

Henry Mathews, a young, ambitious associate at one of the top law firms in Chicago, is a man on the move. As lethal in a courtroom as a shark in an aquarium, he is rising fast. But his hard-driving mentor, the senior partner, is obsessed with a telling inconsistency on Henry's otherwise brilliant résumé: the year after he graduated from college, Henry enrolled at a seminary in Kentucky. Even more perplexing, Henry left suddenly three weeks before the end of the first year, and won't speak of the episode.
But Henry's past refuses to go away. Called back to his tiny hometown in Council Grove, Kansas, to execute the will of Tyler Crandall, the town's richest man, Henry gets enmeshed in a web of long-hidden secrets. Tyler has chosen not to leave his wealth to his grasping son, but instead has made a homeless derelict called the Birdman a sudden millionaire and Council Grove's most powerful resident.
The Birdman, scripture-spouting and delusional, prophesies a dark vision of retribution and hellfire. But soon it becomes clear that locked behind his madness is the key to the real history of Council Grove. When a grotesque and cruel act convinces Henry that powerful forces will do anything to keep those secrets hidden, he determines to protect the Birdman and uncover the truth. But the cost is high: Henry is in danger of losing both his job in Chicago and his beautiful, ambitious girlfriend.
Henry, given the opportunity to use his phenomenal legal skills for good, discovers that right and wrong are more complex than he imagined. Sucked into secrets of money, politics, and a tragic love affair -- secrets with the power to ruin lives -- Henry finds his own sense of morality under assault. As black and white turn to gray, what began as a legal battle becomes a spiritual journey stretching back to Henry's mysterious experience at the seminary.
More than just a legal thriller, The Will is an absorbing, deeply satisfying read.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743213172 | 
  • February 2001
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