Synopses & Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber, a member of "the elite ranks of those who can both chill the blood and challenge the mind" (The Denver Post), delivers a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense
Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims, Sonia tries to keep them all alive by working her way into the kidnappers' psyches and interpreting their dreams. With her knowledge of their language, her familiarity with their religion, and her Jungian training, Sonia confounds her captors with her insights and beliefs. Meanwhile, when the kidnappers decide to kill their captives, one by one, in retaliation for perceived crimes against their country, Theo races against the clock to try and save their lives.
About the Author
Michael Gruber, author of New York Times bestseller The Book of Air and Shadows, The Forgery of Venus, Night of the Jaguar, Tropic of Night, and Valley of Bones, has a Ph.D. in marine sciences and began freelance writing while working in Washington, D.C. as a policy analyst and speech writer. Since 1990, he has been a full-time writer. He is married and lives in Seattle, Washington.
Reading Group Guide
1. What role does America play in this novel? As a character, how does it influence the course of the story?
2. This novel introduces many different archetypal women—Gloria, Rashida, Cynthia, Sonia, and all the unnamed “black figures” that appear throughout. What are their main differences? Similarities? What do all of these women bring out in Theo?
3. In the beginning of the novel, we are presented with the image of a hawk swooping down and killing a pigeon. How is this image carried throughout the rest of the story, and what are some of its possible interpretations?
4. Throughout The Good Son we are shown many scenes of torture—the mujahideen torturing Sonia and the prisoners, the U.S. agents torturing Cynthia, and the many scenes of torture in Hell that we see through the dreams Sonia interprets. How do each of these kinds of persuasion tactics differ and what do they tell us about the people behind them?
5. How does this novel touch upon relevant current events? How does it relate to your experiences in the aftermath of 9/11?
6. What can we learn about the world—and ourselves—from Theos story? From Sonias?
7. Is there a moral to be taken from The Good Son?
8. The role of family is very important throughout Theos life. Discuss his relationship with his father, mother, and women in general.
9. What do you think is the next chapter for Cynthia and Theo—do you think they will, in fact, work together? Would you have ended the book the same way the author did?