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A former fat boy, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, he recognizes the disappeared larger-than-life reporter he's been sent to replace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsized character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about the beloved "Bear" no longer lighting up their work lives. But all is not as it appears. Why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up?
A droll, playful novel set in an alternative past on a fictional peninsula called Barba,The New Republic is a fast-paced, plot-driven thriller. Addressing weighty issues like terrorism with a deft, tongue-in-cheek touch, Shriver presses the more intimate issue: what makes particular people so infuriatingly magnetic, when the rest of us inspire barely a shrug? What's their secret? And who really has the better life - the admired, or the admirer?