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The Faithful Spy | [Alex Berenson]

The Faithful Spy

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Thanks to Robertson Dean's menacing narration, this gripping, thinking-person's thriller about a CIA operative deep undercover in al Qaeda is frighteningly real. Once you start listening, you'll find yourself sitting in the driveway with the engine still running. —Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

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' 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.

©2006 Alex Berenson; (P)2006 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Award, Best First Novel by an American Author

"Graphic and chillingly real." (Publishers Weekly)
"One could hardly ask for a more skillful, timely, and well-rounded translation of our worst fears into satisfying thrills." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2563 )
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4.1 (1146 )
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Story
4.2 (1155 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Margaret Dublin, CA, United States 12-14-09
    Margaret Dublin, CA, United States 12-14-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
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    Overall
    "Faithful Spy"

    Very good book, in the post 911 anti-terrorist genre. I am really into spy novels, and I am glad I found Alex Bereson. I have exhausted classic master such as John Le Carre, and read through all of Daniel Silva's books. Berenson's is pretty close. For the female spy novel fans, there is just enough romance and internal character emotional struggle to make it not 100% macho.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Chicago, IL, United States 05-15-06
    James Chicago, IL, United States 05-15-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
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    243
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Tradecraft"

    Great beginning. Great end. The journey from A to Z is terror filled, thought provoking and well nuanced. The character of Wells is as well drawn as LeCarre's Lemas or Smiley. It is the perfect audio book. To abridge it would be like truncating the Venus de Milo.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heartstrings11 12-29-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    107
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    Overall
    "Riveting and Timely"

    The reader does an excellent job with a good story line. This is one of those rare espionage books about Al Queda that is easy to follow, well read, with a main character that you learn to care about. I almost gave it 4 stars instead because there are a few scenarios that seem unlikely. However, when I ask myself how this book compares to the scores of other books I've listened to in this genre I have to admit I was thoroughly entertained. This book has less action and bravado than a Vince Flynn novel but is a smarter read. You will not be disappointed.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Milford, DE, United States 05-19-06
    Daniel Milford, DE, United States 05-19-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    10
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "don't wait.. get this one"

    I'm half way through and I'M HOOKED. Having been a member for over 5 years, it's a pleasure to find something new. Exciting, interesting, well developed, quick alternate use of short-term characters keep the whole story alive. Don't wait for the movie.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Las Vegas, NV 05-29-06
    Steve Las Vegas, NV 05-29-06 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
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    "FANTASTIC"

    This book is great. I still have two hours left, and I hate that it's going to end. I have enjoyed ever single moment so far.

    It's extremely well written. The reader is superb. The book is intelligent, involving, and above all else, it’s highly captivating. It grabs you at the beginning and never lets you go.

    I highly recommend it. It’s one of my all time favorites.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Gebert 08-23-09
    C. Gebert 08-23-09 Member Since 2010

    Believe

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a Ride!"

    My job commute was never so enthralling as I listened to The Faithful Spy. John is a strong and believable character due to the excellent reading by Robertson Dean. Mr. Dean brought the story alive and Alex Berenson can surely put together an intriguing spin on the current machinations of the Taliban and their minions. Thank you for the ride of a lifetime on my car stereo, you made traffic just disappear from my mind. Awesome job to both writer and reader!!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Ireland 04-21-08
    Pat Ireland 04-21-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
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    39
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    3
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    Overall
    "magnificent"

    This is a tremendously successful effort by this author. I found this novel spellbinding and could not put my iPod down until I had heard the entire book. Why are there not more of Berenson's novels on Audible???

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 08-22-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4772
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great spy story"

    The book feels as if Alex Berenson took this right out of the daily news. John Wells is a deep spy who has worked his way up in al Qaeda. He has been under cover for years and this is beginning to take its' toil on him. He is sent to the U.S. to be ready for a strike against America. Is this to be a "dirty bomb", chemical or biological attack? The story suspense builds as he waits and is sent on trial missions to test his loyalty. Then every thing happens at a brake neck speed. Lots of suspense, action and a great ending to the story. Robertson Dean did a great job narrating the story. This was my first book by Alex Berenson but it won't be the last.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 01-14-11
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 01-14-11 Member Since 2015

    Don't miss the Bino Phillips series by AW Gray. They are largely unknown, but as good as any ive read!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2493
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    Overall
    "Great Spy Character, Great Story"

    I was thrilled with this purchase. It is a uniquely thorough look at a veteran spy, the toll his work takes on him, and how his past allows him to react to the present. And he is no super hero either. Most of all it a terrific suspense novel.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 03-10-08
    Andy 03-10-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Top notch spy story"

    it's difficult to write contemporary spy thrillers and have them be believable and entertaining at the same time but this author succeeds. the reader isn't the best in Audible but he's very good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 147 results PREVIOUS1215NEXT
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  • Gary
    sandy, beds, United Kingdom
    2/4/08
    Overall
    "The Faithful Spy"

    Best audio book I have herd so far out of 20 similar books.
    Couldn't stop listening !!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Marielouise
    Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    9/4/08
    Overall
    "Stunning. Best spy/thriller have heard"

    An absolutely brilliant audiobook. Totally believable. Characterisation rich - author gives a balanced view of both sides of this conflict through his characters - even the lesser characters are very believable, plot completely gripping, and yet I didn't want it to end.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Anna
    London, London, United Kingdom
    4/6/08
    Overall
    "A step beyond an average thriller."

    This novel grips from page one and is an intelligent and skillfully written account of the inherent conlicts within modern day espionage. The author takes a huge step beyond a good yarn and tackles the complex and lonely existence of a government agent who goes deep undercover for a protracted period of time. His hero stradles two worlds belonging and yet not belonging to either.
    This is a challenging and fascinating listen enhanced by a splendid reading by Robertson Dean.
    Highly recommended for the thriller fan.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nick
    Ilkeston, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
    3/4/09
    Overall
    "A good read"

    I really enjoyed this book, very plausible and well read, the best audiobook I have listened to yet.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Laurence G. Measey
    Portsmouth, UK
    2/28/13
    Overall
    "A good, intelligent, modern spy thriller"

    Undercover agents have to learn their biographies so well that it becomes their number on operating story. Well does this so well that over the years he becomes his new self with understandable doubts as to the morality of his own country, America. It is, however, the same moral perspective that convinces him to accomplish his mission. Well written with some fine tense moments, neat twists and the menace of real danger. Not to be missed as this is the first spy story from a major writer of modern thrillers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    5/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good plot"

    Good compulsive plot with good ending good author with realistic story that is very credible

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Youngstuts
    UK
    4/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First class modern spy story"

    A thoroughly enjoyable but eye opening story involving a deep cover spy, Pakistan, USA and Al Qaeda. Very well narrated. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angela C
    3/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "US Agent inside El Queda grips to the end"
    What did you like most about The Faithful Spy?

    Believability and excitement. Extremely interesting in its exploration of the psychology of deep cover agents and thought provoking in its depiction of the gulf dividing austere Islamic thinking from America's profligate consumer society and with an intelligence community riven by politics, but still trying to do the right thing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The plot, the setting, the characters and a great climax.


    Which character – as performed by Robertson Dean – was your favourite?

    Hero, heroine, villain and Tariq, the little student chemist.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many.


    Any additional comments?

    An intelligent spy story that builds and builds momentum. Highly, recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shaun
    Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
    1/10/07
    Overall
    "GRIPPING........."

    Well written, well researched and well told.
    The author was (or still is??) a jounalist and I think it is clearly evident in this well researched book. The characters and plot are completely beliveable and it doesn't take long to get completely immersed in both.
    Definitely the most exciting book I've read (listened to!!) for a long time. This should be further up the list of top sellers - read it - you won't be dissapointed.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

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