Publication Date: Sep 10, 2013
List Price US $12.99
List Price US $15.95
A literary spellbinder about one man’s desperate attempt to deal with grief by unmasking the terrorists responsible for the act that killed his wife and daughter
Twenty-one years after his wife and daughter were killed in the bombing of a plane over Scotland, English lecturer Alan Tealing persists in trying to discover what really happened on that terrible night. Over the years, he obsessively amasses documents, tapes, and transcripts to prove that the man who was convicted was not actually responsible, and that the real culprit remains at large.
When a retired American intelligence officer arrives on Alan’s doorstep on a snowy night, claiming to have information about a key witness in the trial, a fateful sequence of events is set in motion. Alan decides he must confront this man, in the hope of uncovering what actually happened. While Robertson writes with the narrative thrust of a thriller, The Professor of Truth is also a graceful meditation on grief, and the lengths we may go to find meaning in loss.
Excerpt from The Professor of Truth
When I think of Nilsen now, how he came and vanished again in that one day, I don’t feel any warmer towards him in the remembering than I did when he was here. I don’t even feel grateful for what he gave me, because he and his kind kept it from me for so long. But I do think of the difficult journey he made, and why he made it. What set him off, he told me, was seeing me being interviewed on television, after Khalil Khazar’s death. He said he’d watched the interview over and over. He’d wanted to feel what I felt. But you cannot feel what another person feels. You cannot even imagine it, however hard you try. This I know.
When Khalil Khazar died, the news went round the world in minutes— in text messages, in e-mails, through social networks, on radio and television, via websites and by telephone. I got the call at home from Patrick Bridger, a BBC journalist I knew and trusted. We’d talked, a week or so before the end, about what we would do and where we would film, knowing that it could not be long. ‘Alan, I’m on my way with a cameraman and a soundman,’ Patrick said. ‘We’ll pick you up and head straight to the location.’ I didn’t take any more calls. I was giving Patrick an exclusive. It was a way of controlling things.
While I waited for their car I thought about how the news would be received in different parts of the globe. There would be tears, I knew, but also there would be laughter. There would be grief and jubilation, clasped hands and clenched fists, loud dismay and quiet satisfaction. There would be one family mourning, other families celebrating. Some people would feel a sense of resolution, of justice having been done. Others would feel, as I did, a sense of things unresolved, of justice having not been done. A guilty man or an innocent man had gone to his grave: it depended on your perspective.
“Provides the framework for a deeper philosophical treatment of justice and loss and grief, all well served by Robertson’s measured, literary prose. Robertson makes a case for the messy complexity of truth.” —Publishers Weekly
“Robertson writes brilliantly about the quest for truth and hints at the possibility of personal redemption and transformation.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Impressively blends the political with the personal, and a healthy dash of the metaphysical, as well. Robertson knows that it’s often the pursuit of truth, regardless of the truth itself, by which we should measure the work of a man’s life.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The Professor of Truth moves at the quick pace you’d expect from a thriller, but it’s more contemplative and thoughtful. It’s a well-rounded novel that will leave you thinking long after the last pages are turned.” —S. Krishna’s Books
“Thought-provoking and engaging, Robertson’s novel is a literary thriller with a conscience.” —The Plain Dealer