The Faithful Spy (John Wells Series #1)

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John Wells is the only CIA agent to ever penetrate al Qaeda. While living in the mountains of Pakistan, he became a Muslim, convinced of the decadence and shallowness of the United States.
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Overview


John Wells is the only CIA agent to ever penetrate al Qaeda. While living in the mountains of Pakistan, he became a Muslim, convinced of the decadence and shallowness of the United States.
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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
The Faithful Spy offers a well-informed, often chilling look at how al-Qaeda might launch a major new attack in the United States -- and how one intrepid undercover agent might do his darnedest to foil it … The Faithful Spy is a first-rate thriller.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Berenson is given fine representation in this intriguing audio book. John Wells, an American CIA agent, has spent the last decade of his life successfully infiltrating the inner sanctums of al-Qaeda. Guilt-ridden over not having been able to stop the actions on September 11, he readily accepts the chance to return to the U.S. when he's recruited as one of the primary participants for an act of terrorism designed to bring the country to its knees. After being taken into custody by a suspicious CIA, Wells escapes and goes undercover on his own with the fervent hope that he can prevent whatever terrorism al-Qaeda is looking to unleash. Narrator Heffernan provides a rich, melodic voice for Berenson's novel. Helped by Tony Daniel's expert abridgment, Heffernan keeps the complicated story's expositional narrative moving with a clean journalistic detachment that enhances the growing suspense. Although he may stumble some when it comes to accents, Heffernan manages to make each character a distinct individual. Genre fans should relish this thinking man's thriller. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 13). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
John Wells, a CIA special operations agent, was the first Westerner to graduate from the al Qaeda camps near Kandahar. After years spent fighting undercover in Afghanistan and Chechnya, he has been sent home to execute an unknown mission. Now a Muslim and a harsh judge of America's decadence, he finds that his CIA handlers no longer trust him. Even worse, neither does his Pakistani contact, an expert bomber who has prepared a series of devastating attacks on major U.S. cities. When Wells escapes from the CIA safe house where he is being interrogated, no one knows whether this double spy will stop a planned attack or help carry it out. In his debut thriller, investigative reporter Berenson has come up with an intriguing premise. However, when a plot adheres this closely to today's headlines, the novel's characters need to be truly convincing and the suspense ratcheted up a step, or else one might as well be reading a newspaper. The threats with which this thriller deals-fertilizer bombs, the plague, anthrax-are all too common, and a tepid romance that seems to have no real foundation adds little to the mix. Well written, but pretty standard stuff. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/06.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thriller worthy of le Carre, beginning with an improbable premise-namely, the infiltration of al-Qaeda by an American agent. John Wells is a former college football star, unrepentant about having broken a Yalie's leg on the field of battle. Now, in a real war, he's a devout Muslim with a long beard and access to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. But is he really a fundamentalist promoting terror? That's the lingering question of this taut tale by New York Times reporter Berenson (The Number, 2003), who deftly imagines the international shadowland where spooks and assassins ply their trades. In doing so, Berenson avoids the perils of caricature; his bad guys are legion, but they are also recognizably human, and if some of them are a shade evil ("The thought of attacking America always excited him"), others are not completely on board with the whole slaughter-the-infidel program. Wells, as it happens, works for the Great Satan; he's a "singular national asset," but one who likes to play by his own rules. Still, has he been turned? The bad guys seem to think he's one of them, for they've sent Wells home to enact a chain of events that will end with the detonation of a dirty bomb somewhere in New York. There are moments in all this that beg for the willing suspension of disbelief, but Berenson doesn't belabor them; neither does he overwork the formulas (rogue agent falls in love with beautiful but hard-bitten agency handler; bad guys make murderous mayhem), though the book is full of genre conventions. The payoff is tremendous, and there are standout episodes that hint that the fundamentalists know how to work American decadence-as when one terrorist recruits a patsy by telling him thatit's all part of an audition for reality TV. Well done throughout, and sure to be noticed. After all, Keanu Reeves has already expressed interest in playing Wells.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739326572
  • Publisher: Diversified Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/25/2006
  • Series: John Wells Series , #1
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Berenson

As a reporter for The New York Times, Alex Berenson has covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans to the financial crimes of Bernie Madoff. His previous novels include The Faithful Spy, winner of the 2007 Edgar Award, and The Ghost War. He lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

The Faithful Spy


By Alex Berenson

Random House

Alex Berenson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0345478991


Chapter One

Chapter 1

Present Day

North-West Frontier, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan

sheikh gul scowled at his congregation. "These days every Muslim must fight jihad," he said in Pashtun, his voice rising. "When the Mongols invaded Baghdad, it didn't help the people of Baghdad that they were pious Muslims. They died at the swords of the infidels."

The sheikh threw his hands over his head.

"Now Islam is under siege again. Under siege in the land of the two mosques, and the land of the two rivers"--Saudi Arabia and Iraq. "Under siege here in Pakistan, where our leader works for Americans and Jews. Everywhere we are under siege," said the sheikh, Mohammed Gul. He was a short, bearded man with a chunky body hidden under a smooth brown robe. His voice seemed to belong to someone much larger. Inside the mosque, a simple brick building whose walls were covered in flaking white paint, the worshippers murmured agreement and drew together. Brothers in arms. But their assent enraged the sheikh further.

"You say, 'Yes, yes.' But what do you do when prayers are finished? Do you sacrifice yourselves? You go home and do nothing. Muslims today love this world and hate death. We have abandoned jihad!" the sheikh shouted. He stopped to look out over the crowd and wipe his brow. "And so Allah has subjugated us. Only when we sacrifice ourselves will we restore glory to Islam. On that day Allah will finally smile on us."

Except it sounds like none of us will be around to see it, Wells thought. In the years that Wells had listened to Gul's sermons, the sheikh had gotten angrier and angrier. The source of his fury was easy to understand. September 11 had faded, and Islam's return to glory remained distant as ever. The Jews still ruled Israel. The Americans had installed a Shia government in Iraq, a country that had always been ruled by Sunnis. Yes, Shias were Muslim too. But Shia and Sunni Muslims had been at odds since the earliest days of Islam. To Osama and his fellow fundamentalist Sunnis--sometimes called Wahhabis--the Shia were little better than Jews.

Al Qaeda, "the Base" of the revolution, had never recovered from the loss of its own base in Afghanistan, Wells thought. When the Taliban fell, Qaeda's troops fled east to the North-West Frontier, the mountainous border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wells had narrowly escaped an American bomb at Tora Bora, the last big fight of the Afghan war. He liked to imagine that the bomb had been guided by Glen Holmes, who had swung it away from the hut where Wells hid.

But the United States hadn't closed the noose at Tora Bora, for reasons Wells had never understood. Thousands of jihadis escaped. In 2002, they reached the mountains of the North-West Frontier, so named by the British, since the area was the northwest border of colonial India. The North-West Frontier was a wild land ruled by Pashtuns, devout Muslims who supported Qaeda's brand of jihad, and was effectively closed to Pakistani and American soldiers. Even the Special Forces could operate there only for short stretches.

So Qaeda survived. But it did not thrive. Osama and his lieutenants scurried between holes, occasionally releasing tapes to rouse the faithful. Every few months the group launched an attack. It had blasted a train station in Madrid, blown up hotels in Egypt and subways in London, attacked oil workers in Saudi Arabia. In Iraq, it fought the American occupiers. But nothing that had shaken the world like September 11.

Meanwhile Wells and his fellow jihadis eked out a miserable existence. In theory, Qaeda's paymasters had arranged for Pashtun villagers to house them. In reality, they were a burden on desperately poor families. They had to earn their keep like everyone else. Wells and the half dozen Arabs living in this village, just outside Akora Khatak, survived on stale bread and scraps of lamb. Wells did not want to guess how much weight he had lost. He had hardly recognized himself the few times he had seen himself in a mirror. The bullet hole in his left arm had turned into a knot of scar tissue that ached unpredictably.

The winters were especially difficult, even for Wells, who had grown up playing in the Bitterroot Range on the Montana-Idaho border. The cold sank into his bones. He could only imagine what the Saudis thought. Lots of them had been martyred in these mountains, but not from bombs or bullets. They'd died of pneumonia and altitude sickness and something that looked a lot like scurvy. They'd died asking for their mothers, and a few had died cursing Osama and the awful place he'd led them. Wells ate fresh fruit whenever he could, which wasn't often, and marveled at the toughness of the Pashtuns.

To keep sane he practiced his soldiering as much as possible. The local tribal leader had helped him set up a small firing range on flat ground a few miles outside the village. Every few weeks Wells rode out with a half dozen men and shot off as many rounds as he could spare. But he couldn't pretend he was doing anything more than passing time. They all were. If America vs. Qaeda were a Pop Warner football game, the refs would have invoked the mercy rule and ended it a long time ago.

Gul stepped into the crowd of worshippers. He looked at the men around him and spoke again, his voice low and intense. "The time for speeches is done, brothers," he said. "Allah willing, we will see action soon. May Allah bless all faithful Muslims. Amen."

The men clustered close to hug the sheikh. Waiting his turn, Wells wondered if Gul knew something or was just trying to rally the congregation. He poked with his tongue at a loose molar in the back of his mouth, sending a spurt of pain through his jaw. Dental care in the North-West Frontier left something to be desired. In a few weeks he would have to visit the medical clinic in Akora to have the tooth "examined." Or maybe he'd just find a pair of pliers and do the job himself.

Lately Wells had dreamed of leaving this place. He could hitch a ride to Peshawar, catch a bus to Islamabad, and knock on the front gate of the American embassy. Or, more accurately, knock on the roadblocks that kept a truck bomb from getting too close to the embassy's blastproof walls. A few minutes and he'd be inside. A couple days and he'd be home. No one would say he had failed. Not to his face, anyway. They'd say he had done all he could, all anyone could. But somewhere inside he would know better. And he would never forgive himself.

Because this wasn't Pop Warner football. The mercy rule didn't exist. The men standing beside him in this mosque would happily give their lives to be remembered as martyrs. They were stuck in these mountains, but their goal remained unchanged. To punish the crusaders for their hubris. To take back Jerusalem. To kill Americans. Qaeda's desire to destroy was limited only by its resources. For now the group was weak, but that could change instantly. If Qaeda's assassins succeeded in killing Pakistan's president, the country might suddenly have a Wahhabi in charge. Then bin Laden would have a nuclear weapon to play with. An Islamic bomb. And sooner or later there would be a big hole in New York or London or Washington.

Anyway, living here had a few compensations. Wells had learned the Koran better than he ever expected. He had a sense of how monks had lived in the Middle Ages, copying Bibles by hand. He knew now how one book could become moral and spiritual guidance and entertainment all at once.

After so many years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Wells found that his belief in Islam--once just a cover story--had turned real. The faith touched him in a way that Christianity never had. Wells had always been skeptical of religion. When he read the Koran at night on his bed alone he suffered the same doubts about its promises of paradise as he did when he read the apostles' description of Christ rising from the dead. Yet he loved the Koran's exhortations that men should treat one another as brothers and give all they could to charity. The umma, the brotherhood, was real. He could walk into any house in this village and be offered a cup of hot sweet tea and a meal by a family that could barely feed its own children. And no one needed a priest's help to reach the divine in Islam; anyone who studied hard and was humble could seek enlightenment for himself.

But Islam's biggest strength was its greatest weakness, Wells thought. The religion's flexibility had made it a cloak for the anger of men tired of being ruled by America and the West. Islam was the Marxism of the twenty-first century, a cover for national liberation movements of all stripes. Except that the high priests of Marxism had never promised their followers rewards in the next world in exchange for their deaths in this one. Wahhabis like bin Laden had married their fury at the United States with a particularly nasty vision of Islam. They wanted to take the religion back to the seventh-century desert. They couldn't compete in the modern world, so they would pretend that it didn't exist. Or destroy it. Their anger resonated with hundreds of millions of desperately poor Muslims. But in Wells's eyes they had perverted the religion they claimed to represent. Islam wasn't incompatible with progress. In fact, Islamic nations had once been among the world's most advanced. Eight hundred years ago, as Christians burned witches, the Muslim Abbasids had built a university in Baghdad that held eighty thousand books. Then the Mongols had come. Things had gone downhill ever since.

Wells kept his views to himself. Publicly, he spent hours each day studying the Koran with Sheikh Gul and the clerics at the village madrassa. His Qaeda superiors had taken notice. And that was the other reason Wells stayed in the North-West Frontier. He believed that he had at last convinced Qaeda's leadership of his loyalty; the other jihadis in the village had begun to listen to him more carefully. Or so he hoped.

Wells's turn to greet Sheikh Gul had come. Wells patted his heart, a traditional sign of affection. "Allahu akbar," he said.

"Allahu akbar," said the sheikh. "Will you come to the mosque tomorrow morning to study, Jalal?"

"I would be honored," Wells said.

"Salaam alaikum." Peace be with you.

"Alaikum salaam."

wells walked out of the mosque into the village's dusty main street. As he blinked in the weak spring sunlight, two bearded men walked toward him. Wells knew them vaguely, though not their names. They lived in the mountains, second-tier bodyguards for Osama.

"Salaam alaikum, Jalal," they said.

"Alaikum salaam."

The men tapped their chests in greeting.

"I am Shihab," the shorter one said.

"Bassim." The taller of the two, though Wells towered over him. His shoes were leather and his white robe clean; maybe life in the mountains had improved. Or maybe Osama was living in a village now.

"Allahu akbar," Wells said.

"Allahu akbar."

"The mujaddid asks that you come with us," Bassim said. Mujaddid. The renewer, a man sent by Allah to lead Islam's renaissance. Bin Laden was the mujaddid.

"Of course." A battered Toyota Crown sedan was parked behind the men. It was the only car in the village that Wells didn't recognize, so it must be theirs. He stepped toward it. Bassim steered him away.

"He asks that you pack a bag. With everything you own that you wish to keep."

The request was unexpected, but Wells merely nodded. "Shouldn't take long," he said. They walked down an alley to the brick hut where Wells lived with three other jihadis.

Inside, Naji, a young Jordanian who had become Wells's best friend in the mountains, thumbed through a tattered magazine whose cover featured Imran Khan, a famous Pakistani cricketeer-turned-politician. In the corner a coffeepot boiled on a little steel stove.

"Jalal," Naji said, "have you found us any sponsors yet?" For months, Naji and Wells had joked to each other about starting a cricket team for Qaeda, maybe getting corporate sponsorship: "The Jihadis will blow you away." Wells wouldn't have made those jokes to anyone else. But Naji was more sophisticated than most jihadis. He had grown up in Amman, Jordan's capital, paradise compared to this village. And Wells had saved Naji's life the previous summer, stitching the Jordanian up after Afghan police shot him at a border checkpoint. Since then the two men had been able to talk openly about the frustrations of living in the North-West Frontier.

"Soon," Wells said.

Hamra, Wells's cat, rubbed against his leg and jumped on the thin gray blanket that covered his narrow cot. She was a stray Wells had found two years before, skinny, red--which explained her name; hamra means "red" in Arabic--and a great leaper. She had chosen him. One winter morning she had followed him around the village, mewing pathetically, refusing to go away even when he shouted at her. He couldn't bear watching her starve, so despite warnings from his fellow villagers that one cat would soon turn into ten, he'd taken her in.

"Hello, Hamra," he said, petting her quickly as Bassim walked into the hut. Shihab followed, murmuring something to Bassim that Wells couldn't hear.

"Bassim and Shihab--Naji," Wells said.

"Marhaba," Naji said. Hello. Shihab and Bassim ignored him.

"Please, have coffee," Wells said.

"We must leave soon," Bassim said.

"Naji," Wells said. "Can you leave us for a moment?"

Naji looked at Bassim and Shihab. "Are you sure?"

"Nam."

As Naji walked out, Wells stopped him. "Naji," Wells said. He ran his fingers over Hamra's head. "Take care of her while I'm gone.&

Continues...


Excerpted from The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 153 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 154 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very Addictive

    Book 1 in the John Wells series

    Mr Berenson's first novel paints a believable, frightening and chilling scenario of how Al-Qaeda might launch a major attack inside America.

    The story is about John Wells, an undercover CIA agent, who has been in Afghanistan for many years, his mission was to infiltrate al-Qaeda and gain their trust. He eventually converted to Islam and took the name Jalal and became one of them, so convincingly that his CIA handlers feared he may have crossed the line and become a double agent, a nightmare in the making.

    The suspense builds when al-Qaeda mastermind Omar Khadri orders John to return to the USA and await further orders.
    The story chronicles a chilling and frightening return. His handler and other CIA agents are faced with the task of demystifying John's true intentions and they need to make a decision on whether to pull the plug or let him run.

    The author has written a novel that is very unsettling and engrossing. The theme is multilayered, chocked full of possibilities and probabilities, peppered with graphic and daring scenarios.
    Excellent characterization has created a fast moving thriller giving a sophisticated view into an unusual kind of warfare.

    Alex Berenson first novel is remarkably well done and addictive, I am looking forward to reading the other novels in this series.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A tense thriller...

    The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson is outstanding. The book hooked me from the start, I was turning pages as fast as I could until the end. The book tackles issues on the war on terrorism, which engages the reader since that is the world that we live in. This book is very readable, anyone who enjoys a good action story should take a chance on this one. A+ for The Faithful Spy, and I will be reading the follow-up The Ghost War as soon as I can.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2006

    Excellent espionage thriller

    Former American college football player, CIA operative John Wells infiltrates al-Qaeda. He proves invaluable to the organization in Afghanistan and works his way through the concentric circles until he attains the most inner most circle enabling him to meet with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. However, a side effect on the undercover intelligence officer is that he has become a devoted Muslim. --- Now al-Qaeda leader Khadri sends him home to bring the war to the west by setting in motion the steps needed to explode a dirty bomb in New York. The CIA has doubts about the loyalty of their rogue agent that is everyone except his prime handler Jennifer Exley. However, suspicion grows when two bombs kill three hundred in Los Angeles leaving the CIA leadership to wonder if he turned, seduced Exley to join him, and what is his real objective? --- This is one of the best post 9-11 espionage thrillers on the market today as Alex Berenson makes the ¿bad guys¿ understandable and intelligent instead of some boorish cartoon caricature Muslim fundamentalists know the west and how to play their enemy. Wells is a fabulous central figure as everyone including the audience wonders whose side is he on. Readers will want to know so set aside some time for a superb the spy comes home from the cold. --- Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2006

    Hard to put down

    This is a debut novel, a well-researched thriller. Wells is the spy no one trusts not the CIA who had him become al Qaeda, not al Qaeda, because he's American. He¿s undercover for 10 years, much of that time with no contact with his handlers or any other Americans. I could barely put it down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Exciting Read

    Alex Berenson's first novel is excellent, well written, fast moving, and so exciting at times my heart was pounding. I highly recommend this book and I can't imagine how anyone could not thoroughly enjoy reading it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    TOTALLY ENGROSSING NARRATIVE

    How's this for a scenario? A man, John Wells has given up all he loved - his wife, child, and his parents to become the only American CIA agent to infiltrate Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. He did this before 9/11 and has endured years of privation, living on a dreary, cold plateau in Pakistan. Constantly on guard, he has continually convinced other followers of bin Laden that he is, indeed, a traitor and has become a Muslim. This sacrifice has been made in an effort to destroy the terrorist network. To date that has not been accomplished. Now, he learns there are plans for more attacks on the United States, assaults even more terrifying than the carnage at the World Trade Center. So, Wells must return home. However, when he appears at Langley, CIA officials have doubts. Can he really be trusted or has he become a turncoat in the intervening years? One person believes in him and that is Jennifer Exley. It soon becomes clear that they alone must stop al Qaeda from carrying out 2 heinous plan. Terrifying? Yes. Far too close to what might be the truth for comfort as Berenson, a reporter for The New York Times well knows. John Heffernan, known as the official voice of the NHL and NFL network, gives a compact, deliberate, totally engrossing reading. His avoidance of any dramatics renders his narrative all the more powerful. - Gail Cooke

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2006

    Outstanding thriller!

    In my opinion, I think Alex Berenson represents a talented, refreshing new voice in fiction. His debut novel is suspensful, well-written, and goes to the heart of the American psyche that makes one re-evaluate our consumer-driven egotistical lifestyle. Few people stop to consider the mindset of the less-than-fanatical Iraquis though most of his characters are overly zealous terrorists, but there is an underlying sympathy for your average foot soldier on 'the other side' that makes the reader stop and think. This is definitely a thought-provoking psychological treatise on the War in Iraq that is entertaining, enthralling, unique and an absolute must read! Lynne Logan, Author of The Crime Chronicles of Decker Zane

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    chillingly realistic

    This book was really in your face about terrorism and the inside man. John Wells is an amazingly relatable character, you find yourself liking him right off the bat. The terrifying portrayal of our government's corrupted, bureaucratic, and selfish ways of going about running our country is unfortunately true to life. It really makes you mad at these people. This book also shows you the other side of the fight--inside the enemies camps. It opens you up to realize that they are not all terrible people bent on terrorism. Some are, and some are merely doing what they believe is right, just as every American does. Highly reccommended to anyone who's anyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Drinking From These Wells Will Be Satisfying

    Alex Berenson's John Wells is a character with skills very much in the mold of Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp. But Wells is far more complicated and conflicted than Rapp, with a depth of character more like Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon. I love Mitch Rapp and selfishly mourn Vince Flynn and the Rapp novels, but John Wells is a more than worthy successor to fill the void. As with Rapp and Allon, the Wells series is best read in chronological order to fully savor the character's growth and history. Guaranteed to satisfy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Great book!!!

    Nuff said!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Great book

    Really enjoyed and have purchased the second in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Faithful Spy. I have enjoyed reading all of Alex Berenson's
    books. Reading the first John Wells Series was especially intriguing.
    Flajayhawk1

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Great story

    I really enjoyed this book! The story was believable and just the right amount of suspense! I had a hard time putting it down!! I had to keep telling myself it wasnt a true story. If this is the authors first book then I cant wait to read more from him in the future!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    Great Beginning to a Series

    It took me a little while to really get into this book but once I did - I had a hard time putting it down. The end left me wanting more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    Page Turner

    First in the series. Action packed with good plot development. I plan to read them all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    A great story

    Is one of thouse book you wouldn't want to let aside, until you finish it! I read it in two days, because I didn't want to stop!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Run of the mill thriller

    This book belongs to the new generation of fiction spy novel contemporary authors whose sign of the times is the post 9/11 era where a new global confrontation is taken place, the up keeping of the western way of life whose watchdog is the US, and the emerging threat of the fundamentalist islamist zealots whose operatives are trained, funded and commanded by Bin Laden's Al Qaeda

    The first half of the book is basically dedicated to the shaping of the main character John Wells, a US CIA agent of Arab background, who penetrated Al Qaeda and is sent back to the US by Al Qaeda goons in a not yet told lethal mission, and the setting of the scenarios, portraying some actions and skirmishes between the US army deployed in Afghanistan and the terrorists ending with the capture and forced interrogation of a key Al Qaeda operative, whose revelations will have implications for John Wells mission in the US.

    On the second half, which is more engaging, the plot takes shape, John Wells is back in the US and one wonders whose side is he playing for, has he flipped ?, Herein the author could have exhibit his real knowledge of the subject but did not, normally in this type of themes what readers expect is to make enlightening discoveries out of an inside story of Al Qaeda operations in the US, to learn something new in particular, and even though what is being told might be true, it is done within the framework of an ordinary conception of a fiction spy novel with thrilling action packed suspense, our typical hero, a dumb romantic on the sidelines story, other dull fictional secondary characters, (a name and a position in the CIA sufficed) and a growing tension until a resolution in a feeble ending, but there was not much background research particularly in terms of how the CIA intelligence operates how the villain Al Qaeda operatives move around, basically what is told is what one can read in the newspapers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

    Usual

    Same plot--- same storyline Nothing new in the thriller buiness

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    A Faithful Thrill!

    Alex Berenson does not disappoint in his debut novel, The Faithful Spy, published in 2008. Appearing on the New York Times bestseller list, The Faithful Spy takes you on an intriguing thrill ride. The protagonist John Wells is the first CIA operative to ever infiltrate al-Qaeda. For the last ten years, he has worked his way into the depths of the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. After being helpless to stop the events of September 11, Wells jumps on the chance to return to America. However, Wells does not return to open arms and soon realizes the United States have changed greatly while he was gone. At the same time, al-Qaeda is planning something big and Wells needs to find out what before it's too late.
    The major themes in the novel are identity, fervor/passion, and human relationships. Throughout the novel, Wells struggles to understand who he is or wants to be. For ten years he had to pretend to be a fictional character of his own creation. Eventually the two personalities intertwined. Wells grows accustomed to and even comes to prefer some Middle Eastern customs. He converts to the Islam religion and realizes he can never return to his life before joining the agency. His wife has remarried and his nine year old son does not even know that he exists. His mom, Well's last living relative passed away while he was in the Northern Frontier of Afghanistan. Fervor and extreme passion is portrayed by the extremist of al-Qaeda who believe so strongly in their work that they are willing to end their lives in the process of killing Americans. Berenson also makes commentary on how human relationships work. For example, Wells earns the trust of almost every al-Qaeda except Khadri. Khadri's distrust is a direct result of where Wells comes from and the color of his skin. Also, Wells and Exley have an almost immediate bond. The foundation of their bond lies in their common traits. Both are entering the hump between young and old. Both are lonely and feel dissatisfied with their social lives. In addition, both are isolated from the public, because of their careers as CIA operatives.
    The Faithful Spy is a very well written book. It is entertaining, thought provoking, and interesting. Berenson intertwines fact with fiction to give people a new perspective on terrorist organizations. Exaggerated situations make for a captivating read. Some people may not like this book for the controversial content of terrorist attacks and al-Qaeda. Other recommended works by Berenson continue the story of John Wells, The Ghost War, The Silent Man, The Midnight House, and The Secret Soldier. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    The fight against Taliban

    This story is a wonderful modern spy fiction about a man that will sacrifice everything for the USA and he fights terrorist

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