The Emperor of Ocean Park
Stephen L. Carter, a Yale University law professor and distinguished legal and cultural critic, has published several acclaimed nonfiction works, including The Culture of Disbelief (1993) and God’s Name in Vain (2000), both of which address issues concerning the role of religious belief in legal and political discourse. The Emperor of Ocean Park, his first work of fiction, is a compelling and thoughtful tale of political corruption, divided loyalties, and a quest for a family secret.
Talcott Garland, a middle-aged law professor at an Ivy League college, finds a cryptic note from his recently deceased father that instructs him to locate certain hidden arrangements. The note also warns that others will be seeking the arrangements. Talcott’s search pits him against FBI agents, hired thugs, and a suspected international criminal, whose attempts to recover the mysterious arrangements resemble an elaborate and deadly game of chess.
As Talcott continues to unravel the mystery left to him by his father, his personal and professional lives begin to crumble. His wife, a potential candidate for a federal judgeship, resents his increasingly erratic behavior and perceives it as a threat to her advancement and to their marriage. Talcott’s colleagues at the law school feel that he is neglecting his academic duties and bringing unwanted attention to the school. Talcott soon discovers that the stakes in his pursuit of the truth...
(The entire section is 297 words.)
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