From “a master of precision” (The Observer, London) comes an explosive, provocative novel about John F. Kennedy’s years in the White house: his political daring, his brave dedication to human rights, his devotion to his family—and his uncontrollable and unrelenting appetite for sexual adventure.
• Taut, magnificent prose: Mercurio’s premise—to chronicle Kennedy’s exploits, political and sexual, through the President’s own anguished but self-centered perspective—is bold to the point of hubris, but he succeeds in spades. The writing is elegant, spare, and wry; the narrative is exquisitely paced. The book’s ending is emotionally shattering— empathetic, redemptive, and shocking.
• Startlingly revisionist portrait of JFK: We see Kennedy at his best, as a visionary statesman, a former soldier turned moral pacifist, a loving parent and devoted husband. And we see him at his worst, as a compulsive philanderer whose countless conquests—of movie stars, socialites, secretaries, and interns—ruined hundreds of lives.
• Amazing cast of characters: They are all here: Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, Judith Campbell, LBJ, Fiddle and Faddle, Eisenhower, and perhaps most memorably, Jacqueline Kennedy.
Jed Mercurio trained as a doctor and, while at medical school, received extensive flying training with the Royal Air Force. As a resident in internal medicine, he wrote a groundbreaking medical drama for the BBC, Cardiac Arrest. His first novel, Bodies, was chosen by The Guardian as one of the top five debuts of 2002. He adapted the novel into an award-winning drama series for the BBC and is currently developing a version for American television. He lives outside London.
"Gripping...Speaks volumes about heroism and the human condition in a taut, page-turning narrative." -- Simon Hills, The Times (U.K.)
"Haunting, powerful, and mysterious...a stunning debut from a writer who bears close attention ." -- Booklist
"Mercurio is a master of precision, armed, like Yeremin, with a razor-sharp eye. This is fighting-fit, muscular prose, which carries no dead weight. In short, it's that rarest of things -- a highbrow book that's vertiginously thrilling." -- Tancred Newbury, The Observer (U.K.)
"Ascent is storytelling of high caliber, fully imagined, finely crafted.... Mercurio's understated empathy, his starkly elegant prose and his Werner Herzog-like instinct for juxtaposition lift Ascent far above a Boy's Own adventure." -- Michael Faber, The Guardian (U.K.)