August 18, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sacrifice of Isaac

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Neil Gordon
publisher
Random House
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction
We gave it an A

As storytellers since Homer have shown, it’s a tough job being a hero’s child. And when the hero has a public image at odds with his private reality — and terrible secrets to hide — things can get very complicated indeed. Add the murky crosscurrents of international politics, and they can get downright deadly. Such are the themes of Neil Gordon’s brilliantly narrated, psychologically acute novel Sacrifice of Isaac. The hero in question is General Benami, a founding father of the Israeli state, savior of hundreds during the Holocaust, and commander during the War of Independence. But he is something else, it seems, to both his sons — Danni, who deserted his post and vanished during the Yom Kippur War, and Luke, an embittered veteran of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Gordon blends some of the most familiar devices of the spy thriller into an engaging quest for authenticity and personal identity. Sacrifice reads like an Amos Oz novel translated by John le Carré. A

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