Sam Bourne

Sam Bourne (aka Jonathan Freedland, Guardian columnist and BBC Radio 4 contributor) is the pen name used by Jonathan Freedland (1967- ) for The Righteous Men (2006) and The Last Testament (2007).

As Jonathan Freedland, he is a well respected Guardian columnist, with knowledge of the Middle East.

Writing as Sam Bourne, Freedland draws upon his experience as a Middle East journalist for his second novel, The Last Testament, which is set in the Middle East.

The Sam Bourne novels are seen as me-too Dan Brown Da Vinci Code, but not as well written. For example, in The Righteous Men, we have what the author admits are implicit references to lamad vav, thirty-six righteous men who hold up the world (from which the book derives its name), an attempt to kill them to precipitate Judgment Day, a religious cult, simple codes which our heroes crack, all very Dan Brown. [see The Da Vinci Code]

Not well written, and yet these books sell. Why? Is it The Da Vinci Code bandwagon or maybe more subtle, people looking for some meaning in their life? Or is it more simple, people just buy trash?

The Righteous Men was mired in controversy and Freedland himself to ridicule, when 'The Street of Shame' column in the satirical magazine Private Eye exposed that a review of The Righteous Men by Michael Dibdin that rubbished the book, was blocked from The Guardian by its editor subsequently was published by The Times. The Guardian had to subsequently issue a groveling apology to its readers. [see Conspiring against credibility and The readers' editor on ... the rejection of a robust review too close to home]

On the other hand, The Mirror heaped praise on The Righteous Men, describing it as 'the biggest challenge to Dan Brown's crown' and disgraced former editor of The Mirror Piers Moran (always referred to by Private Eye as Piers Moron) thought it 'the best thriller I've read it years.'

This fulsome praise for a badly written mediocre thriller has of course absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Freedland was once a Mirror columnist!

Writing in his own name, Freedland has published two non-fiction books: Bring Home the Revolution: The case for a British Republic(1998), argued that Britain should reclaim the revolutionary ideals it exported to America in the 18th century, and undergo a constitutional and cultural overhaul. The book won a Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction and was later adapted into a two-part series for BBC Television. Jacob's Gift (2005), a memoir telling the stories of three generations of his own family as well as exploring wider questions of identity and belonging.

Freedland presents the excellent BBC Radio 4 The Long View, a historical 'what-if'.

Freedland was named 'Columnist of the Year' in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards.

Copies of The Righteous Men (BCID 5568234 and BCID 5571535) and The Last Testament (BCID 5518389) have been registered as a BookCrossing books.

BookCrossing books are released into the wild their progress checked through the Internet via a unique BookCrossing ID (BCID).

(c) Keith Parkins 2007 -- October 2007 rev 0