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Publisher's Summary

Robert Baer was known inside the CIA as perhaps the best operative working the Middle East. But if his career was all that a spy might aspire to, his personal life was a brutal illustration of everything a spy is asked to sacrifice.

Dayna Williamson thought of herself as just an ordinary California girl. But she was always looking to get closer to the edge. When she joined the CIA, she was initially tasked with Agency background checks, but she quickly distinguished herself as someone who could thrive in the field. Tapped to serve in some of the world’s most dangerous places, she discovered an inner strength and resourcefulness she’d never known - but she also came to see that the spy life exacts a heavy toll.

When Bob and Dayna met on a mission in Sarajevo, it wasn’t love at first sight. But there was something there, a spark. And as the danger escalated and their affection for each other grew, they realized it was time to leave “the Company,” to somehow rediscover the people they’d once been. As worldly as they both were, the couple didn’t realize at first that turning in their Agency ID cards would not be enough to put their covert past behind.

©2011 Robert Baer, Dayna Baer (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

" The Company We Keep is the best true-life spy story I've ever read…You'll find yourself rooting for these two vagabond spies, and you won't want their exciting and moving story to end." (David Ignatius, New York Times bestselling author of Body of Lies)
"Provides a spot-on and compelling portrait of real life inside the CIA; the periods of boredom and frustration loudly punctuated by fast-moving and sometimes frightening, sometimes amusing intelligence operations. Bob and Dayna Baer are the real deal and they beautifully capture the murky world they lived and worked in for years." (Valerie Plame Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Game)
"An emotionally candid memoir of a life few could imagine, juggling terrorists and dictators with all too real family dramas…describes how two accomplished spies trained in shooting for the heart, improbably found their own." (Jane Mayer, National Book Award Finalist for The Dark Side)

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What listeners say about The Company We Keep

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Secret Agent Man and Woman

This was a delightful story which most will find informative and entertaining. Dayna and Robert Baer were CIA agents who met in the course of their work. The book begins with alternating chapters about each. Then, their paths cross and, well, things work out from there. The last portion of the book carries into their marriage. Others have provided more detail than this in their reviews so I'll not duplicate what has been said. Suffice it to say, the reader will learn some about CIA agents and how they work. They will find the stories told here very humanizing. Those looking for romance will find it here as well. The book is well written by the dynamic duo. They both read portions of the text with Richard McGonagle which yields great narration.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good read,

I had a hard time turning this book off. I tried to read it every time I had had a chance. It is the most interesting read I have had in a while.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I Loved it.

Truth is better than fiction. Don't expect some fake hollywood spy novel. The narrator in parts has a unique voice, but it's not that distracting. It's just a huge contrast to Robert and Dayna's voice.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but not well written

The Baers are people you would love to invite to a dinner party or sit next to on a long flight. They have such an interesting story, and it's fun hearing about real life in the CIA (it's not shoot-em-ups and carrying around rocket launchers like in the movies). But, the writing feels like a work report. There's no emotion or character development. . . . . . . Look, I realize it's a tough situation -- opening your life to the world and letting your former employer review the text before publication -- but I didn't really feel invested in either of them. There's some timeline jumping around; I wasn't really clear how they were making a living after leaving the CIA; and we're never really told when Dayna formally separates after her "leave of absence." She goes to law school, but then what? It's not well explained. . . . . . Usually it's a plus having the authors narrate their own work, but in this case I'm not sure it works well. I heard them in an interview on NPR (which is what led me to purchasing the audible version) -- they were bright, fun and interesting. They talked like normal human beings. But for the actual audio book, the Baers just read the words without much inflection. Even when something tough happens, the words are just read -- there's no emotion. They feel flatlined, almost like someone who is hollow and depressed. The director should have worked through this with them. . . . . . This work could have been so much better because the story is there, it's just the writing that gets in the way.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Absolutely pathetic

I have read (or started to read a few bad books before), but nothing is as bad as this book. There is no story or anything remotely revealing or interesting at all in the book. Top that off with the most pathetic readers you could imagine, including the "professional" reader who sounds like something too melodramatic for even 1940's and '50s movie theater film shorts. I really should demand my credit back.
DON'T BUY, DON'T LISTEN, DON'T READ, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY. BAD, BAD, BAD. THE ONLY REASON I DIDN'T RATE IT A ZERO IS THAT YOU HAVE TO PUT AT LEAST ONE STAR.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DS
  • 01-20-13

WONDERFUL

This book was more touching and more exciting than any fictional spy story I've ever read. It's good to hear about the reality of life for an American spy, their sacrifices, courage and decency. The CIA is first and foremost an information gathering agency and we should applaud their successes and forgive their failures.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what you'd expect

After hundreds of fictional movies of spies and their lives, their real story is not what you'd expect. But now I can watch movies and know what is real practice and what is not in the spy world. My only criticism of the audio book is the voice of Dayna Baer--it so annoyingly monotone.
She might not be that way in real life, but their manager should have considered an actress to read her part because emotions sell. Regardless, I will buy another book written by Robert Baer...eventually.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Incredibly boring

Many times the authors tells the reader that working for the CIA's clandestine service is actually rather mundane. They prove it in this book. Very boring from start to finish. These tales might be interesting if they were told to you by a friend. But I expected much more from a best-seller.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

no good

please don't waste your money. I love spies books but this one does not tell you anything. it's more like a diary of how they adopted their daughter.
thanks

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The good, the bad, and the ugly about the spying.

loved the way the accounted for the aspects of a career in espionage. great read.