The Will

The Will

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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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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Margaret Crandall fluttered open her eyes at five-thirty and felt the warm sheets and covers around her. She hadn't needed an alarm clock in years; every day she awoke at the same time, her life a predictable routine of meals and laundry and sleep. She licked her lips, sighed into her pillow, and turned to wake her husband. He lay with his back to her, and she pushed him, her fingers spread against his cotton pajama top. Her hand pressed into his fleshy back, and he rotated forward slightly with the pressure. She pushed harder, and his arm fell suddenly, woodenly down over the edge of the bed. She lowered her hand and felt his... see more

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