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The story opens with a prologue in which an unnamed female character in a courtroom inexplicably shoots the defendant four times as he approaches his defense attorney. The shooter, as revealed, is Assistant District Attorney Nina Frost and the defendant a priest. At the time of the trial (and shooting) she had been led to believe that Father Szyszynski had sexually abused her five-year-old son Nathaniel after lab tests had confirmed that his semen was found in the child's underpants, and Nathaniel had verbally accused Father "Glen" Szyszynski of molesting him.
The Pact, Jodi Picoult's fifth novel, is at once a love story, a psychological study of two families in crisis, and a courtroom drama that could be taken from today's headlines. It is a multilayered novel that invites discussion about the mysteries of relationships of all kinds: How well do we know ourselves, our children, our best friends? Jodi Picoult has given us a rich canvas that allows us to ponder these questions and to see that it is in a crisis that we find out what we're really made of. In the end, The Pact poses the heart-stopping question: How far would you go for someone you love?