The Whole Truth
David Baldacci

Grand Central
Hardcover/432 pages
ISBN: 0-446-19597-9
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". . . thrill of a lifetime trip into a shadow world . . ."

The Whole Truth : A blueprint for the making and unmaking of the international thriller.


Konstantin makes one final recording before being murdered by the Russian government. Russia tortured and killed his family and thousands before him, as well as thousands more after him. The recording makes its way to the West and the world cries out for justice, taking up the cry, “Remember Konstantin.”

Nicholas Creel orchestrates the next phase in a plan to pit Russia and China against each other in a rebirth of the Cold War. Creel will sell trillions of dollars of arms to both sides, and the rest of the world, but that is only part of his plan. Creel plans to return to the balance of power that reigned before the Iron Curtain came down and the U.S.S.R. stumbled to its knees.

Shaw performs his last mission for an international Black Operations group. He has waited six years, instead of the five he bargained for, because he is retiring. He found the woman of his dreams, and he’s going to propose.

Katie James is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose demons chased her down the dark path to alcohol. She has lost every ounce of credibility she earned through harrowing years of covering wars and death and terrorism, and she will do anything to get back on top and write the truth.

Shaw’s life is destroyed when his fiancée, Anna, member of the Phoenix Group, is murdered, along with her colleagues. The massacre of the Phoenix Group was purportedly executed by Russia in retaliation for the group’s involvement in orchestrating the smear campaign that was supposedly financed by China. Katie James meets the only eyewitness to the massacre and teams with Shaw to find those responsible and destroy them before the world ends in a nuclear holocaust. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out Creel’s behind it all. They want to take him out—before Creel’s people get to them first.

There are bigger fish to fry than the Arabs when the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon face off over an insidious, coldly calculated scenario David Baldacci constructs in The Whole Truth. With an eye for world affairs and an insight into international politics and power, Baldacci’s tale of intrigue and espionage is an exciting and near omniscient thriller. What sets The Whole Truth apart from the average thriller isn’t the sharp plotting or the encyclopedic knowledge of the fragile and intricate workings of international affairs, but the characters of Shaw and Katie James.

Shaw is a killer, a mercenary forced into servitude to a shadow organization operating outside legal boundaries. Baldacci infuses Shaw with a depth, intelligence and compassion that make Shaw a strong and sympathetic character. Katie James is flawed, ambitious and self-destructive but with brains and heart, making her the perfect, if reluctantly accepted, partner for Shaw. Together they form an exciting team.

Baldacci’s spare language and intricately balanced details make The Whole Truth a thrill of a lifetime trip into a shadow world with a substance and intensity that is profoundly memorable. A new dynamic team has redefined the thriller genre: Shaw, Katie James and David Baldacci.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell