The Increment: A Novel

The Increment: A Novel

by David Ignatius
3.8 33

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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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