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Cheney aide's novel to be reissued

Demand skyrockets for Lewis Libby's edgy 1996 novel
/ Source: The Associated Press

The indictment of I. Lewis Libby has had one unintended benefit for the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney: The resurrection of his once forgotten literary career.

Used copies of his 1996 novel, “The Apprentice,” a thriller set in Japan that includes references to bestiality, pedophilia and rape, have been offered for as high as $2,400 on Now, publisher St. Martin’s Press has decided to bring the book back into print, announcing a new run of 25,000 copies.

“There has been an overwhelming response from the marketplace and from booksellers who want this book,” Sean Desmond, a senior editor at the St. Martin’s imprint, Thomas Dunne Books, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Desmond acknowledged that he had not alerted Libby or any representative about the reprinting, but said the publisher was legally entitled to do so. Asked if he would still reissue the book should Libby object, he declined comment.

Libby’s literary agent, Amanda Urban, did not return telephone and e-mail messages from The Associated Press.

St. Martin’s decision to reprint was first reported Wednesday by Publishers Weekly.

Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to investigators and a grand jury about leaking the CIA status of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters.

Plame’s status was exposed after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence in the run-up to the war to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

If convicted, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.

Interest in Libby’s book mirrors curiosity about another novel by someone close to Cheney: Lynne Cheney, the vice president’s wife and author of “Sisters.” Published in 1981, “Sisters” is a historical romance that features brothels, attempted rapes and a lesbian love affair. The book sold little when first released but became a cult item after Dick Cheney was elected vice president, in 2000.

New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was going to reprint “Sisters” last year, but stopped after receiving a call from Lynne Cheney’s attorney, Robert Barnett, who said at the time that she had only learned about the reissue from the media.

An autographed copy of “Sisters” is being offered for $595 on eBay. Inscribed, uncorrected page proofs of “The Apprentice” were available Wednesday through for $2,400.