This story is a true to life, sober narrative that begins in the Hague with one witness’s testimony about a war crime that occurred 10 years prior to the investigation by the ICC (International Crimes Court). The beginning of the book introduces us to a fifty-year-old man, who is a married, successful prosecuting attorney. Suddenly, he resigns from his well-paying job as a partner in a prosperous law firm, walks away from his unfulfilling marriage, leaves the United States, and is lured to accept a position to head the investigation of a war crime for the International Crimes Court in the Hague.
“Testimony” is the type of book not all readers will find enjoyable. Some may quickly become bored or distracted. For me, this type of books requires greater concentration and mental effort to stay focused. While reading, I frequently search for word definitions, anachronisms, and slang terminology or view maps of unfamiliar countries. In addition, it may be helpful to make “notes to myself”. If I am overwhelmed with information, I take a break, and then reread parts of the book to ensure I have a good grasp on a complicated story.
This story is engaging, complex, suspenseful and demanding. It involves international law, politics, and military conduct. It can quickly change from erotic and romantic, to heinous descriptions of war atrocities, genocide, corruption, and greed. There is an intense scene where the suspense is almost unbearable; intermingled with tension and intensity are quiet conversations where masks are removed, truths are revealed and philosophical pondering remains inconclusive. I found the ending to be most satisfying.
The book required exhaustive research, numerous interviews, and background material on the military, governments, and international policy. Turow did a fantastic job with his usual gold standard delivering insightful and entertaining literary excellence.