Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pg. 69: "The Faithful Spy"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Alex Berenson's The Faithful Spy.

About the novel, from the publisher:
John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover. Now, on the orders of Omar Khadri – the malicious mastermind plotting more al Qaeda strikes on America – Wells is coming home. Neither Khadri nor Jennifer Exley, Wells’s superior at Langley, knows quite what to expect.

For Wells has changed during his years in the mountains. He has become a Muslim. He finds the United States decadent and shallow. Yet he hates al Qaeda and the way it uses Islam to justify its murderous assaults on innocents. He is a man alone, and the CIA – still reeling from its failure to predict 9/11 or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq–does not know whether to trust him. Among his handlers at Langley, only Exley believes in him, and even she sometimes wonders. And so the agency freezes Wells out, preferring to rely on high-tech means for gathering intelligence.

But as that strategy fails and Khadri moves closer to unleashing the most devastating terrorist attack in history, Wells and Exley must somehow find a way to stop him, with or without the government’s consent.

From secret American military bases where suspects are held and “interrogated” to basement laboratories where al Qaeda’s scientists grow the deadliest of biological weapons, The Faithful Spy is a riveting and cautionary tale, as affecting in its personal stories as it is sophisticated in its political details. The first spy thriller to grapple squarely with the complexities and terrors of today’s world, this is a uniquely exciting and unnerving novel by an author who truly knows his territory.
Among the reviews of The Faithful Spy:
"The Faithful Spy offers a well-informed, often chilling look at how al-Qaeda might launch a major new attack in the United States.... [A] first-rate thriller."
--Patrick Anderson, Washington Post

"A well-crafted page-turner that addresses the most important issue of our time. It will keep you reading well into the night."
--Vince Flynn

"Berenson, who has a superb eye for the telling detail, is excellent at describing Wells's relations with his new chums in Afghanistan as well as battle scenes."
--Jacob Heilbrunn, New York Times Book Review

"The plotting is superlative, baffling readers and characters alike.... [O]ne could hardly ask for a more skillful, timely, and well-rounded translation of our worst fears into satisfying thrills; a sure bet for fans of Jack Higgins and Vince Flynn."
--Booklist (starred Review)
Alex Berenson is a reporter for the New York Times who has covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans.

The Page 69 Test: Alex Berenson's The Faithful Spy.

--Marshal Zeringue