Reading Group Guide
1. In the prologue, Dismas Hardy is depicted playing darts, and the author describes his game in this way: “So Hardy was playing a no-win game. If he hit his mark, it didn’t make him happy; but if he missed, it really ticked him off.” How did this statement preview the events that take place in Betrayal?
2. “When Evan shook Ron Nolan’s hand just outside the headquarters tent, he had an immediate impression of great strength held in check.” What was your initial opinion of Ron Nolan? Did it change as you read the book?
3. Do you know anyone who has served in Iraq, whether in a military position or with an outside contractor? Was their experience similar to that of Evan’s, or Ron’s?
4. Dismas Hardy explains his first name’s origin as “Dismas. The good thief. On Calvary? Next to Jesus?” How does this explanation reflect his personality?
5. “I’m just having a hard time accepting that our slightly different politics have really broken us up,” writes Evan to Tara. Talk about Evan. Was he truly committed to the war effort, or was he ambivalent in some way? How did he change after he was injured?
6. Was Ron’s motivation to meet Tara in person really to help Evan? What do you think Tara saw in Ron? How were Evan and Ron different, and similar?
7. “Suddenly the country’s culture seemed to have shifted to where everybody was afraid to make a stink about anything --- it meant they weren’t patriotic.” What does it mean to be a patriot? Who are the patriots in Betrayal?
8. Consider Evan’s trial. If you were in the shoes of Everett Washburn, would you have allowed Evan to take the stand? What do you think the prosecutor’s motivation was for pressing Evan’s case so vigorously? What were some of the injustices Evan faced?
9. Have you ever served on a criminal trial jury? Would you have been swayed by Evan’s testimony?
10. At the end of Chapter 41, when Dismas receives the e-mail correspondence between Jack Allstrong and Ron Nolan and subsequently sends copies of it to the surviving Khalil family members, do you think he knew what could ultimately happen to Allstrong?
11. “Everett. Listen. I can’t believe I beat him with a poker, then shot him in the head, and have no memory of it. I would remember that.” Did you believe Evan was innocent of Ron’s murder? Were you surprised by the book’s last passage?
12. What position do you think the author holds on the Iraq war?
13. Discuss the book’s title. What --- or to whom --- does betrayal refer?