From Publishers Weekly
Robert and Dayna Baer's initial meeting was slightly unusual—both were on a covert mission in Sarajevo for the CIA. In this intermittently intriguing memoir, they describe their careers in "the Company," their romance, and the difficulty they have in establishing a balanced life outside the world of secret agents. Their travels take them to interesting places in interesting times—from Bosnia and Lebanon during civil wars, to Syria under the Assads, the mansions of sheiks, and the safe houses of terrorist groups. As the Baers drift away from family and see friends die, they learn the costs of covert life. Told in chapters that alternate between each partner's perspective, their story is best when discussing the minutiae of agency work. In understated prose, the couple effectively narrate the long bouts of tedium interspersed with moments of paranoia and fear that make up a CIA agent's life. On most assignments, they never learn if their efforts have any positive result—often, they don't even know their co-workers' real names. When the personal becomes the subject, however, the understatement feels inadequate. The Baers give us so little insight into their mutual attraction that it feels like another state secret. After they leave the agency, they seem adrift, and the book loses focuses as well. (Mar.)
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When they met in Croatia in the early 1990s, he didn’t know her real name. His alias was Howard, but he introduced himself as Bob. By that time, he was a seasoned CIA spook, with 15 years of international intrigue under his belt. Dayna, a relatively new field agent, was expecting that her new friend's veteran’s counsel would increase her quickly growing knowledge of the spy game; she wasn’t expecting to fall in love. This fascinating memoir, written by Bob and Dayna in alternating chapters, traces their lives from before they met—she was carrying out security checks in L.A.; he was in Tajikistan, scoping out the former Soviet republic—and follows them as they fell in love and began to build a life together. The book is full of insight into the world of international intelligence-gathering, and it contains some interesting surprises, too (at one point, after he resigned from the CIA, Bob came awfully close to taking a job in Kabul, working with the Taliban). An engaging narrative that should appeal to readers of spy-themed literature, factual or fictional. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Expect the publisher of this real-life spy and love story to take full advantage of the off-the-book-page human-interest angle. Comparisons to Mr. and Mrs. Smith and to Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson (and the recent biopic starring Sean Pean and Naomi Watts) won’t hurt a bit. --David Pitt