The Chancellor Manuscript
Ludlum - The Chancellor Manuscript Coverart.png
First edition
AuthorRobert Ludlum
CountryUnited States
PublisherDial Press
Publication date
June 1977
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

The Chancellor Manuscript is a 1977 novel, by American writer Robert Ludlum, about the alleged secret files of J. Edgar Hoover and how they disappeared after his death, and how they possibly could be used to force people in high places to do the bidding of those who possessed the secrets contained therein. It also speculated that Hoover himself might have been assassinated because he knew too much about too many of the wrong people.


In the prologue the protagonist meets an ambassador of the United States who on the subject of his thesis which is rejected. The ambassador convinces him to display his thesis in front of the public in the form of a novel. Chancellor complies, reluctantly, and soon becomes a famous novelist. The ambassador is revealed to be part of an organization known as Inver Brass. The organization is actually a group of intellectuals who intervene in political as well as economic matters when they think they are going off track. These intellectuals decide to assassinate J.Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation, on the grounds that they believe his private files contain damaging information on various political, military and other very important figures, and that Hoover uses this information to control them. When Hoover is assassinated by the work of the ingenious NSC official Stefan Varak, half of the files are not found. To get the remaining files Inver Brass recruit Peter Chancellor to get to the files, using him, by giving him a new subject for his novel, telling him that Hoover has been assassinated so that he will investigate further. From thereon Chancellor is trapped in a violent spiral, not knowing who his enemies are, desperately trying to finish his novel somehow.



In January 2010 director Marc Forster acquired the rights of the novel to make it into a feature film.[1] Leonardo DiCaprio was set to star and produce the film and Peter O'Brien was attached to write the script for the film.[2] There have been no further developments.


A sequel was planned under the title The Chancellor Letter with a 100-page manuscript being produced by an unnamed science-fiction writer but the Ludlum estate has yet to approve its publication.[3]


  1. ^ "Marc Forster Adapting Robert Ludlum's Chancellor Manuscript". January 14, 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Marc Forster to Direct Robert Ludlum's The Chancellor Manuscript". 15 January 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ Sandomir, Richard (2007-07-30). "The Ludlum Conundrum: A Dead Novelist Provides New Thrills". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)