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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Kathleen
  • Lafayette, CA, United States
  • 06-23-06

John LeCarre Fast Forward

Well, having finished this book on June 23rd as the FBI sting finds a bungling bunch of "terrorists" holed up with an inside informant as I finished this listen the night before, I woke up trying to clear my mind and figure out which was I remembering the book or Fox news, just kidding... but must say reality inside reality. Expertly done, never over reaching a thrilling personal journal. It could be true... just read See No Evil by Robert Baer... don't miss this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not for cat lovers!

I love cats! I cringe when a dog is killed in a novel, but I was absolutely revolted by the lurid description of the slow poisoning of a little cat, procured specifically for that purpose. The detailed description of the animal's suffering was way, way too much for me. I stopped at that point and won't read another word written by Alex Berenson.

6 of 13 people found this review helpful

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This is the best spy/thriller I've read in a while

Here's a hero who is just as extreme as Jack Ryan, but we don't have to fawn over his riches or political clout. He may not have the beautiful family, riches, prestigious job, or the "right" political connections, but he's able to get the job done, where the job concerns going deep undercover, operating with very little help, and getting deep into the affairs of terrorists, in spite of the lack of trust of his bosses, and his enemies. He seems to face more realistic problems, but overcomes with determination, luck, and believable intelligence.

I like Child's Jack Reacher, or DeMille's John Correy as characters. But the I was able to suspend disbelief in this character, and for now at least, he seems to surpass them by an order of magnitude. Almost at the level of le Carre's Smiley.

I'm a frequent repeat listener, and I'm sure I'll listen to this many, many times.

The narration is perfect in the sense that I was never aware of it at all.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Sykesville, MD, United States
  • 07-14-13

unexpected pleasure..

Any additional comments?

This author will be a new favorite of mine. The character John Wells is riding the fine line between crossing over. I will be reading Mr Berenson"s other works now that I found his Well's series. With the "too soon demise" of the wonderful Mr. Vince Flynn I was on the look out for a new series to capture my imagination, thank you Alex.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Believable

If you could sum up The Faithful Spy in three words, what would they be?

On your seat adventure

Who was your favorite character and why?

John Wells, a patriot who finds why after years of infiltration of Al Qaida

What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

Very adept at changing voices and keeping tempo with the action

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Bureaucrats at their worst.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A very ineffective 'Faithful Spy'

What disappointed you about The Faithful Spy?

He never seemed to know what his mission actually was, and he certainly never discovered anything that we would expect for someone in his position. He seemed to be filled with angst and there was too much 'internal dialogue' that did not move the story along.

What could Alex Berenson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

have his faithful spy be proactive about his job as a spy. He never did anything except follow his group of terrorists and did not report their activity to the CIA.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Robertson Dean?

George Guidall

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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You won't mind being stuck in traffic!

The other reviews pretty much say it all. A great story, totally believable, informative, exciting and well read. Getting stuck in traffic wasn't nearly so bad when I had something else 'worthwhile' to do.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerome
  • Berkeley Heights, NJ, USA
  • 10-08-08

AN EXCEPTIONAL BOOK

I listened to the unabridged edition & was very impressed with the way the plot unfolded & the unexpected ending. Additionally the narrator Robertson Dean belongs right up there with Scott Brick. Eagerly awaiting Audible to have more books by Alex Berenson

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

review

captivating

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Maybe books 2 and higher will we better

Friends have commented on how good Berenson's books are. I got 3/4 of the way through this one and just stopped. I didn't care anymore about what was going to happen. The story plodded along, seems to just wander around looking for a point or thread to use.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful