The Increment: A Novel

The Increment: A Novel

3.8 33
by David Ignatius
     
 

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The New York Times bestseller: “A remarkably timely and pulse-quickening tale of deception, divided loyalty, and moral haziness.”—Raleigh News & Observer

Harry Pappas, chief of the CIA’s Persia House, receives an encrypted message from a scientist in Tehran. But soon the source of secrets from the Iranian bomb program

Overview

The New York Times bestseller: “A remarkably timely and pulse-quickening tale of deception, divided loyalty, and moral haziness.”—Raleigh News & Observer

Harry Pappas, chief of the CIA’s Persia House, receives an encrypted message from a scientist in Tehran. But soon the source of secrets from the Iranian bomb program dries up: the scientist panics; he’s being followed, but he doesn’t know who’s on to him, and neither does Harry. To get his agent out, Harry turns to a secret British spy team known as “The Increment,” whose operatives carry the modern version of the double-O “license to kill.” But the real story is infinitely more complicated than Harry understands, and to get to the bottom of it he must betray his own country.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Ignatius (Body of Lies) explores America's escalating cold war with Iran in a thriller sure to draw comparisons to le Carré's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. When Harry Pappas, the new CIA chief of the Iran Operations Division, receives an unsolicited e-mail from an alleged Tehran scientist who calls himself "Dr. Ali" that implies Iran has in fact continued with its nuclear weapons program and is "an imminent threat to global peace," he shares the information with his superiors only to find an administration bent on warmongering. Having vowed never again to play a role in a senseless conflict that could potentially kill thousands of innocents, Pappas, whose only son was killed while serving in the second Iraq War, must somehow identify Dr. Ali, get him out of Iran and mine his knowledge before the U.S. blunders into another unnecessary war. While the realistic story lines build to a somewhat predictable ending, this remains a page-turner of the highest order. (May)

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Library Journal

Can a heartsore and weary CIA veteran juice up fresh, meaty intelligence from buttoned-down Tehran? Does his trusted Secret Intelligence Service colleague have an inside track, and will he share? Who really holds the cards on the nuclear weapons story in Iran? Ignatius (Body of Lies), the Washington Post columnist whose knowledge of spydom and exotic places brilliantly illuminates his espionage novels, imagines an Iran where a young physicist is ready to turn his back on the regime. Agent Harry Pappas works out a plausible lifeline, and the adventure begins. Ignatius floods his latest book with highlights of technology while exploring the dark heart of human betrayal with menacing ambiguity. This masterful and modern-day account of a realistic nuclear threat has already been sold to movie moguls and will be heavily promoted. A sure bet for all thriller collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09.]
—Barbara Conaty

Kirkus Reviews
Another taut, believable thriller from Washington Post columnist Ignatius (Body of Lies, 2007, etc.), who pits a world-weary CIA agent against an administration looking for any reason to go to war. The thrill of fieldwork has long left CIA veteran Harry Pappas. He's done it all, seen it all and lost a piece of himself in the process. Now stationed at headquarters in D.C., running the agency's efforts to stay on top of Iran, Pappas cloisters himself with his small staff and monitors Teheran's nuclear capabilities. It's all pretty much business as usual, until a message from an unexpected inside source sets off a rush to judgment. Harry, still reeling from a personal loss, plays on an old relationship and takes a desperate gamble that leads him to the Increment, a British team that will risk everything in this complicated story of spies, diplomacy and nuclear confrontations. Deploying his considerable storytelling skills, the author once again immerses readers in a totally believable universe. Jargon, geography and detail all ring true as his meticulously crafted, tightly woven tale moves from Washington to London and Iran. The plot grabs everything in its path like a snowball rolling down a hill. As the action unfolds, Pappas proves both a capable protagonist and a man of principal: Rumpled and analytical, he has no delusions about his colleagues at the CIA and other intelligence services, but his sense of right and wrong compels him to keep trying to make a difference. Ignatius matches dead-on dialogue to an increasingly complicated plot without sacrificing clarity. A thinking person's thriller with a timely take on recent international politics. Film rights to Disney and JerryBruckheimer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393071405
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/03/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
235,419
File size:
613 KB

Meet the Author

David Ignatius, best-selling author and prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Washington, DC.

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The Increment 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
David Ignatius creates and builds upon an engagingly textured environment of spies and third world nuclear threat to create a realistic and fun espionage thriller. While I'd give Ignatius' effort three starts for the intricacies of the fiction as literature, I'd move it to a solid four stars for the well-woven and well-paced plot. The story revolves around a young Iranian scientist who sends the CIA a subtly coded message exposing Iran's efforts in developing nuclear weapons. His mode of communication is the "contact us" link available on the CIA's public website. Ignatius writes, "...occasionally the strange people who sent anonymous messages to the CIA were for real. They knew secrets; they were angry at their government, or the security service, or maybe just at the boss down the hall." In this case, the message was very real, and this communication becomes the launching point for Ignatius' tautly written novel. The story bounces between CIA headquarters outside of Washington, D.C., Iran, London and other points in the Middles East. It's in London where we learn the meaning behind the novel's title. The Increment is the informal and off-the-books British force that's pulled into only the highest of security missions, and the only forces that truly have James Bond's legendary 'license to kill'. The plot hums along, and the characters, while sometimes clichéd, are believable. The main threads of the story follow an aging America CIA agent in charge of operations in Iran. He's grizzled and jaded, and the most morally consistent and clear of all characters in the story. An old friend and colleague is a senior officer in the British spy agency who's brought in to help with the operation as it moves to Tehran. The Iranian scientist is sincere and sad. While not terrifically deep, Ignatius crafts this character strongly enough that the reader will actually care and root for his success and safety. Few characters are exclusively what they seem. They're a little good, and a little bad. Characteristics lean towards one side or the other based on whose side they appear to support. But as the plot develops, it becomes clear that some larger chess pieces are orbiting around the primary characters. I don't read particularly quickly, but this story I knocked off in only 3 days. At times "The Increment" is more mystery than adventure, and the thrill is in the creation, build up and execution of Ignatius' well though-through plan. He smoothly slams home a twisty, curvy conclusion that I wasn't expecting. All in all this was a satisfying read for what it is: a fun thriller with a very old-school spy vibe. I definitely recommend this read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished this on the day of the vote for more sanctions (12-1-11) and their discussions were almost right out of this book. The book raises some big questions.
darc More than 1 year ago
I was anticipating the reading of this book- after hearing the author on NPR...but although an engaging and fast read (the reader wants to "see" what will happen next), it wasn't too complex. Stringing in the native language (farsi?) was interesting, and i could see a journalist who spent time there doing that~ but something was missing from the plot. I needed a little more, though the corruption possible in western governments and their diplomatic ties was interesting to learn, and hear about. The idea of an Iranian not happy with the direction his country has headed, after having a revolutionary father, and being educated in the western world, that would have mass appeal - to Americans and British, but not so sure about a wider audience. The corruption and capitalism revealed in the plot was a nice catch for this high school history/govt/economics teacher. Would make an interesting film, should he sell the rights.
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Adammudd More than 1 year ago
Spy novel quite relevent to to 2012 issues, even if it is a few years old. Well written.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story of modern day spying in Iran. Clearly, you can tell that the author knew the country, and had done his research into the subject matter. This is the second David Ignatius book that I read. He has an excellent style of writing that draws you in to the story. What struck me the most is knowledge of the area and a strong building of his characters in his books. A very good read.
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