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The Bank of Fear: A Novel Hardcover – June 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688131360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688131364
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cynical intelligence agencies, international financiers and evil Iraqis make global mischief in this clumsy, unconvincing thriller set primarily in contemporary Europe. American Sam Hoffman works as a private financial investigator in London, providing a freelance intelligence service to wealthy businessmen and corporations. When a Filipino cook begs Sam to investigate his employer--Nasir Hammoud, a shady and powerful Iraqi businessman--who, he says, has murdered his wife, Sam discovers a tangled web of financial deception. Setting out to bring Hammoud to justice, Sam enlists the aid of several wealthy Arab friends, cronies of his father (an abusive, alcoholic ex-CIA operative) and Iraqi computer specialist Lina Alwan, the accounting systems' supervisor at Hammoud's London headquarters. The ensuing action lacks believability: trite dialogue is mouthed by cartoon characters whose only motivation consists of advancing the novel's creaky plot. Sam, prized for his expertise, comes off as a dim ingenue, while Lina is unconvincing in her metamorphosis from timid accountant to wily spy. In a denouement that seems almost a non-sequitur, Ignatius ( Agents of Innocence ) brings his Middle-Eastern trilogy to a close on an amateurish note.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

To complete the trilogy formed by Siro (LJ 4/15/91) and Agents of Innocence (Avon, 1988), Ignatius, a journalist whose beat once included the Middle East, now focuses his powerhouse stare on Iraq. Combining the sly wit of a Swiss bank caper with the horrifying account of a megalomaniacal political regime, this novel features a modern Iraqi woman who works in London as a computer specialist for an Arab conglomerate. Her innocent discovery of a questionable computer file at the time when the Iraqi head of state is assassinated leaves her exposed to relentless attack not only from Iraqi agents but from Israeli and American ones as well. A smitten freelance industrial spy tries to help her out-at least until his father, a CIA operative, interferes. Against a backdrop of true events, documentary realism in the torture scenes, and computer strategies, the couple ping-pongs between frisky romance and dire straits. Ignatius writes dialog of sustained virtuosity, and the plotting, if a little labored, is dazzlingly clever. For most popular spy and suspense collections.
Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. His novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment. He lives in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a superb "spy" thriller surrounding the mysterious
and often cruel military regime of Iraq. It took guts to write
a book exposing torture practices of such a regime, and
the nasty financial practices and human rights grievances
of what the author disguises: the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Those in exile from their country are
blackmailed into working for corrupt Iraqi agents...it depicts
this as a multi-tentacled octopus that chokes the life out
of these exiles and forces them to live lives of slavery and terror.
Sam Hoffman is a very likeable hero, and Lena a frightened woman who discovers reserves of bravery. A great read.
I don't know what the previous reviewer was thinking, when he called it a "cliche'd" thriller...I found it very unique and couldn't put it down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Cusick on February 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
No, it may not be 'Nostromo' or 'Brighton Rock', but Ignatius has spun some enjoyably indentifiable characters in this spy thriller. Given the world's current state of affairs, a Hollywood producer would be wise to pick up the options on this novel for film adaptation (assuming it hasn't happened already). Taken in context, this is a wonderfully crafted novel with vivid scenery and palpable suspence. Ignatius creates such lush scenes and characters, while also highlighting America's covert involvement in the Arab world. Taking into account his experience in Middle-Eastern affairs, Ignatius' accounts of Iraqi intimidation on its own citizens, along with the presumption that many of his assertions are based on factual information, this is a frightening look inside the rule of this Iraqi dictator. I happened upon this book while in Thailand and have since read 'Siro' and 'A Firing Offence'. Of the three, I enjoyed this the most. If you're a fan of spy novels, this is as good a read as any.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Jenson on June 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good read, but not quite up to "Body of Lies". I did like Sam Hoffman's sensitivity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Dr. Helen R. Betenbaugh on July 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To the world of intelligence, spying, and intrigue, David Ignatius adds international finance in this work, including the mysterious realm of Swiss banking. The lead characters are once again CIA operatives, but Langley and the D.C. environment figure only sporadically in this tale which moves from London to Paris to various dangerous points in the Middle East. This is a world that is entirely familiar to the author, who spent years covering foreign intelligence as a journalist. Thus, while this is a work of fiction, the tale is entirely plausible, with both plot and characters imbued with authenticity. There is no whitewashing here of some of the more controversial actions of the CIA, nor any attempt to "purify" its employees, from leadership on down. As with all his novels, the reader can learn a great deal about both the intricacies of the spy world and of the equally obtuse world in which billions of dollars are moved from one side of the world to the other electronically for purposes both good and evil, helpful and destructive. It's a page-turner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Newton on March 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Ignatius has written better books. He's at his best when he writes about the Middle East. Once he gets to Europe the books suffer. Actually there's nothing wrong with this book. It's just that he's done better.
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