In David Ignatius' gripping new novel, spies don' t bother to steal information...they change it, permanently and invisibly. Graham Weber has been director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents' names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads. Weber isn' t sure where to turn until he meets a charismatic (and unstable) young man named James Morris who runs the Internet Operations Center. He' s the CIA' s in-house geek. Weber launches Morris on a mole hunt unlike anything in spy fiction - one that takes the listener into the hacker underground of Europe and America and ends up in a landscape of paranoia and betrayal. Like the new world of cyber-espionage from which it' s drawn, The Director is a maze of deception and double-dealing - about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones and nothing can be trusted.
©2014 David Ignatius (P)2014 Recorded Books
No Plot Spoilers.
I listened to it rather quickly- this is always a good sign on my end. I love Guidall as a narrator in general, so that may be a bias as far as my feelings on the book.
This book is a meditation on the modern challenges of an ever evolving technological world and their implications for intelligence gathering. Ignatius sets the "walk in" that kicks off the book in Germany- if there was ever a nail on the head for "this was the past, lets look at the future", this would be it. At some points, this mantra gets a little heavy handed, honestly. But it is extremely engaging and entertaining.
Like any good spy thriller, you are never quite sure who is to be trusted, nor who is truly the 'bad guy'. I imagine that is the reality of life in intelligence. Human allegiances will never be black and white and what may motivate one person may completely alienate another. The main characters reflect this concept quite nicely.
I am not one of those reviewers who will tell you huge portions of the book, thus why I am being intentionally vague. However, it is well worth your time if you like conspiracies, espionage, and paranoia. I imagine it would be a great beach listen.
I stumbled into this book because of the narrator and stayed because of the tale the author wove. A tale of those who have no true believe system other than the code they can write or the thrill of the 'hack'. The young people who were given The Lie and believed it. All the hacking done by Morris is plausible. That he is a Goverment employee is also believable. And there is where this tale causes that shiver down your spine. But that is only one of the strands in this web of lies, deceipt Mr Ignatius has so tighty woven. Add Geo. Guidall, a true master, and I could not turn it off. This is one of those I wanted to listen to straight through.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Conspiracy theories are a jaded genre of fiction. The Director is marginally interesting because of Assange’s WikeLeaks, and Snowden’s NSA’ fiasco.
The Director fails as a conspiracy theory thriller but succeeds in scaring anyone that believes in freedom (which does not infringe on others), and the right to privacy. If 50% of what Ignatius suggests cyber criminals are capable of is true, no economy; no government agency; no private individual is safe.
Ignatius writes a story that suggests no security system exists that is not crack-able by a good hacker that understands computer coding and the gullibility of human beings. Ignatius infers–a good hacker with social engineering skill can crack any security system that is dependent on 1s and 0s. As a conspiracy theory story, The Director is boring and predictable but, as an exposé of cyber-crime, it is frightening.
The Director is brilliant writing. I could physically imagine each character, the scenes, and locations.
Attention to detail. Ignatius knowledge of the intelligence industry and US foreign policy.
He really gets it right!
His vocal inflections were very good! Timing, spacing, the entire delivery, great!
I did not have an extreme reaction, only intense fascination!
I'm a fan!!!
I had high hopes for a spy novel that would use as it's background the leaks of classified information from cyber - world. The story here never jelled -- there was very little complexity to the plot. There was a good bit of window dressing -- different cities, different characters -- but the fundamental story was simple and lacked surprises.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I love Guidalls narrations...lately I've been listening by narrator rather than author..if you can't stand a narrator, why bother with the listen,right?
However, even George Guidall wasn't able to turn this average spy story into a page turner.
Don't waste your money on this.
I did recommend it, before finishing the story, now not so much. Love the details offered up about cyber criminals going after corrupt officials but then the end came and the story just went 'poof' into the ether.
George Guidall is always brilliant...any character he does comes to life.
No. It needs a rewrite.
Although I wouldn't say this is exactly 5 star writing in the way that every sentence is interesting, it's so close to 5 stars otherwise, I decided to go for it anyway. I read many spy books from earlier eras, which I will continue to enjoy, but a very good exploration about how and why espionage might happen in today's world, I had yet to read. And for me, this book is it. In some ways, it's the best book I've read for awhile for that reason. There may be a tiny difference in how this author sees the world and how I do (and how it IS, in my opinion), as the forces opposed to a transparent world in the novel weren't as compelling as they could be. That difference was tolerable to me, but might hold me back from reading his other books. George Guidall is outstanding, of course.
This book is not for most people. The plot is not terribly good and the storyline goes far afield. The underplot however is all about contemporary hackers and what they can do and how they break into secure data. The best I can compare it to is some of the very different kind of people I worked with 30+ years ago who, even then, marched to their own drummer. Every computer organization had one or two of these very bright "go-to" guys; even IBM which demanded white shirts of its public people but their back-office genius folks could do as they wanted. I am certain that remains true to this day.
I didn't read the print version.
When the director is kidnapped and stuck in an elevator.
His voice fits the story, and I was able to distinguish the different voices of the characters. Nice reading.
The whole story spoke to me in that cyber hacking is a real present day threat. The idea that there are super computer-intelligent young people out there using their skills for manipulation is scary.
However, I do see the hackers idealistic motivations for keeping cyber space free and an end to government "big brother" spying. This is a good story that caused me to think.
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