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A Firing Offense Hardcover – April 29, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (April 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679448608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679448600
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here's a thriller that provides plenty of exercise for the brain as well as the viscera, as Ignatius ingeniously explores what happens when a reporter crosses the line between information and covert action. Looking into the secret life of a respected colleague, hotshot journalist Eric Truell finds a much better story than he expected--and a huge moral dilemma, which gets bigger the more he digs. Ignatius's equally smart and exciting The Bank of Fear is available in paperback.

From Library Journal

In this crisply written, fast-paced espionage thriller, an up-and-coming journalist finds he has made a Faustian bargain when he takes information from the CIA. New York Mirror foreign correspondent Eric Truell's expose of French governmental corruption leads him to probe the dynamics of power behind a pending French-Chinese communications contract?a deal that could mean the loss of billions for American businesses. Truell's CIA sources use their information to lure the ambitious but naive reporter into playing their own dangerous game in the murky new world order, where real power resides not with governments but with private enterprise. Ignatius (The Bank of Fear, LJ 6/1/94) brings to this novel his own experience as a reporter and editor. The writing is clean and straightforward, and the situations both in the newsroom and on assignment ring true. Altogether, an exciting book; for general collections.
-?Linda Lee Landrigan, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Great character development.
Robert C Porter
A spellbinding read that I would recommend to any fan of the espionage genre.
Jon Ash
I am a big David Ignatius fan and expect to see many more books from him.
mjs1691

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Greg Iles (GIles34@aol.com) on November 11, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a thriller author myself, I read a tremendous amount of "the competition." I had seen some media people discussing this novel on television when the hardcover came out, and was not suffienctly intrigued to buy it. But I picked it up in paperback last night and read it in two sittings. First, Ignatius's writing ability is far above average. With seeming ease, he writes with great economy and insight. A FIRING OFFENSE is bare of the cheap devices usually employed by thriller writers (in fact, it hardly even contains violence) yet I could not turn the pages fast enough. Ignatius handles the moral complexities with a sure hand, reminding me a bit of vintage LeCarre. The accumulated wisdom of an international journalist also feels genuine, and adds greatly to the novel. The fact that this novel did not break out is a sad commentary on the taste of the general readership in this country. Best of luck to Mr. Ignatius, who should have a bright literary future.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 1997
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to capture what journalists do for a living. Much of it seems dull and a lot of it is also silly--and yet journalism is fascinating to people inside and outside the business. Not since Tony Hillerman's A Fly on the Wall has a reporter written a book that so authentically captures the texture of reporting--the thrills, the pain, and, most of all, the moral ambiguity. My favorite moment in the book is when the reporter-protagonist, having gotten admission to a fancy restaurant where diners are being held hostage by terrorists, thinks to ask one of the diners what he had been eating when the gunmen burst in. I used to be a reporter and I can imagine myself asking that question, knowing it seems silly--and knowing also that small details like that one make or break a piece of reporting.

At the same time, Ignatius has created a completely believable spy story, with genetic engineering, Chinese disinformation, and CIA incompetence blended into an original and exciting brew. Even the obligatory sex scenes are good!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andy Dowdle on November 30, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is about a man who works for a major newspaper in the US. He has sources from the CIA that give him material that boosts his career. In return, this CIA agent would likve a few favors from him. The reporter get tangled in a web of deception and conspiracy. This book had an okay start but the ending was supurb. It was thrilling, suspensful, and exciting. I really reccomend this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lee freke on January 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Bob Novak/Judith Miller debacle has returned the public's attention to media ethics. With Al-jazeera having a franchise on Al-qaeda news releases, and several TV shows nothing more than Administration apologists, we have rediscovered that in the news not only is the messenger suspect, now the source and the message cannot be trusted.

David Ignatius's "A Firing Offense" fleshes up these abstractions which never appear on the Evening News (except when it involves the US military paying Iraqi journalists). A drained reporter, Eric Truell, is looking for a story to break his ennui as head of the Paris bureau of the New York Mirror. When a blockbuster story involving corrupt business practices in China falls in his lap, Truell makes a Faustian bargain with an undercover operative, disregarding the ethical implications. He has just committed a firing offense.

Ignatius, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has his finger on the pulse of his material. He has a perfect grasp of the small details that build a story. Yet, it is in the larger picture he excels: the corrupt business practices of corporations; the recruitment of journalists for espionage; the inaneness of roundtable TV and event-driven news; and the extraordinary power of the newspaper columnist. A few of the issues captured in this appealing story about a hunted newshound.

In a world increasingly fragmented by a digital divide where any uncorroborated rubbish can be printed at the click of a button, a world defined by Nielsen ratings, where deep background briefings determine cachet, the lessons of the Firing Offense need to be taken to heart.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bookskinny on December 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was listed a few years ago on a respected reviewers "best bets" and although I recorded the title for reading at some future time it was only recently that I remembered the title again while browsing and decided to give it a try. In the book, Ignatius has captured the essence of a young reporter's conflict between writing a good and important story and compromising his beliefs. The development of the central character, Eric Truell, is masterful and the inside look at the workings of the intelligence community is fascinating. The plot moves quickly and keeps you interested. I particularly like the way in which the chapters and the scenes flow which makes the reader want to continue reading even beyond bedtime! I recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers and adventure but is looking for something a little bit different than your typical international espionage fiction. It's very readable and worth a try!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Frank on January 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a well-written page-turner centering on the adventures of a foreign correspondent caught up in French foreign intrigues.
The book has a few faults. Among the faults are announcing the death of Arthur Bowman on page 3 and then "flashing back" for the next 250 pages until Arthur Bowman finally dies on page 254. Too much of the book is spent with the reader KNOWING that Arthur Bowman dies, and even WHERE he dies, and just waiting for it to happen.
The female characters in the book are superfluous -- they're either in the book as decorations or a cheering section.
Lastly, for all the research has done, and real-life experience the author obviously has on the subject, it's jarring to see the author describe a CIA bulletin board reminding agents to "get their malaria shots." There's no such thing as a "malaria shot."
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