Ian McEwan has won with his latest novel "Amsterdam" the Booker Price in 1998.
The story opens at the funeral of Molly Lane, a vivid woman, who has been loved and admired by most men knowing her. In her lifetime she has had a couple of lovers, who meet each other again at this sad meeting. Molly has died of an terminal illness, which drove her more and more mad. At last she hasn't had any control of herself and couldn't go out of the house anymore. .
At the funeral there are three of her former lovers Clive Linley, Britain's most successful composer, Vernon Halliday, editor of the newspaper "The Judge", Julian Garmony, Foreign Secretary, whose aim is to become the next prime minister and her latest husband George Lane, a rich publisher, present. Clive and Vernon have been best friends since their youth and both are terribly sorry that their beloved Molly had to die such a pitiful death. As well they hate George and Julian, and couldn't find a reason why Molly has loved them. .
After Molly's death Clive asks Vernon to make a deal with him. He wants his best friend to promise him that in case he will suffer from a similar disease as Molly or be bad in an other hopeless situation, but hasn't got the strength to kill himself, Vernon should take this over. After a short time of thinking over his demand Vernon agrees, but only on condition that, he promises do the same for him.
During the next weeks Clive is working on a millennium symphony, but his ideas stay away.
Also Vernon has some problems, because the newspaper he is employed by, suffers from a strong drop in sale, until George, who owns a few percents of "The Judge" organises him staff for an exclusive story about Julian Garmony. Namely photographs, which George had found in Molly's room of the Foreign Secretary wearing clothes for females. .
First Vernon has doubts about publishing them , because this pictures would definitely mean the end of Julian's political career, but the survival of the newspaper seems more important to him.