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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

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,968
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    122
  • 1 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    364
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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great characters

The only reason this got a 4 instead of a 5 is it was quite tedious for the first half, setting up the back story and establishing characters.

When it finally got to the current case, the action picked up a lot and was well done. It was very exciting at the end with very good scenes. I don't know how believable the CIA office people are, but that's okay, we can deal with it.

This is a well-received series with a ton of books, so you can keep following John Wells and see what else happens to him. It will be hard for him to maintain cover with Al Qaida if he continues being the only survivor of failed attack after failed attack. It will be interesting to see how the story line develops.

Robertson Dean did a great job with the narration; I'm not sure why they changed narrators. The rest of the series is read by my first love, George Guidall, so we will see how his voicing changes the feel of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Did you ever just sit in the chair and listen ?

For the last two days, I haven't gotten anything of value done. In fact, I dared not start listening to another segment of the book, because I knew that nothing would get done.

If you start this book, you better block out some time.

I am a big Vince Flynn fan. This book is comparable to Viince Flynn's work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing read!

loved every minute of it. narrarator did an amazing job breathing life into the story. can't wait to read part II

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Almost as good as Mitch Rapp!

The lost of Vince Flynn made me search for another hero like Mitch Rapp and John Wells is it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 02-05-16

A really solid spy, who-done-it.

Many years ago the spy genre was my favorite. But at some point I tired of them as I began to find most of the books I read to be formulaic and predictable. Recently the Alex Berenson novels were on sale and I picked up the first four of this series. I am so glad I did -- though I wish I had purchased more. This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I like John Wells very much. Oftentimes I find that the male leads of books like this are characters -- too strong, too macho, too perfect. I get turned off by the weak female characters and overly protective men. It just comes off as sexist rather than sexy. But, John Wells is flawed, intense, mysterious and funny. I like him. And, I like the story.

I am ending this review and starting book #2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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WOW!!!

I am so excited how this story MOVED! Lately, it seems all I have ready is stories that it takes the author 7 chapters to tell me one detail. This book kept moving with new twists and great characters. I fell in love with John Wells and I know the narrator had a lot to do with that. The narration was Great!!! The story made me feel like I was "there" and I would recommend it to everyone. Take a break from the courtroom dramas and get to know John! I'm glad for the $4.99 sale. I never would have bought this book. Now, I'm hooked and I'll pay full price for the rest of the series. Nice move audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Read and forget

At $4.95 this book was fine, at full price I would've felt ripped off.

There are a lot of 5 star reviews for this book, which seem wholly unjustified to me. I'm left wondering if American readers are able to more closely relate to the plot than international readers.

As far as the plot went, it was relatively unrealistic / convenient at times, and I could have done without the border line romance aspect. The prose was OK but barely managed to convey anything beyond the surface of our American hero.

I think the narrator exacerbated the issues I have with this book by not being capable of anything but a deep monotone which rang really false at times.

If you're looking for an easy going listen & forget / aeroplane throw away novel then this is perfect, otherwise I would recommend moving on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • United States
  • 02-28-15

Not Bad!

Would you try another book from Alex Berenson and/or Robertson Dean?

Yes to both the author and narrator. This is my first experience with either and they both did a credible job.

Was The Faithful Spy worth the listening time?

It was enjoyable. Not Great Expectations, but that is not what I was looking for when i selected the book. I'll be coming back to the series.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Once You've Listened to Vince Flynn, well.......

I really wish I had found Vince Flynn AFTER listening to a number of other authors, including this one. Of course the Bourne Identity rates right up there too. But everything else I've listened to pales in comparison. Based on the reviews, I am going to listen to one more book from Alex Berenson, and I have not tried Barry Eisner yet, but to those who really like Spy thrillers, who have not read Vince Flynn yet, try these first. You might find less disappointment when you finally get to Vince Flynn.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • Elizabethtown, NY, United States
  • 03-04-13

Formulaic spy novel

What disappointed you about The Faithful Spy?

This tale which covers a lot of ground both psychically and physically ends about where you thought it would and contains a few twists but in the end is unsatisfying because it has to delve into the not credible to complete the story.

Would you ever listen to anything by Alex Berenson again?

Not unless I have to.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Only OK with voices.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Faithful Spy?

The whole plague thing was not credible.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful