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The Director: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

David Ignatius
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In David Ignatius's gripping new novel, spies don't bother to steal information…they change it, permanently and invisibly.

Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents' names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads.

Weber turns to a charismatic (and unstable) young man named James Morris who runs the Internet Operations Center. He's the CIA's in-house geek. Weber launches Morris on a mole hunt unlike anything in spy fiction—one that takes the reader into the hacker underground of Europe and America and ends up in a landscape of paranoia and betrayal. Like the new world of cyber-espionage from which it's drawn, The Director is a maze of deception and double dealing, about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones and nothing can be trusted. The CIA has belatedly discovered that this is not your father’s Cold War, and Weber must play catch-up, against the clock and an unknown enemy, in a game he does not yet understand.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ignatius is now far better known for his novels (including Bloodmoney, 2011) than for his decades of insightful commentary on foreign affairs and the CIA. But his reporting and commentary, as well as his contacts at Foggy Bottom and Langley, always inform his fiction. This time his subject is the CIA and evidence that Agency computers have been hacked. It falls to a CIA director only a week into his tenure to deal with the crisis. Graham Weber has been hired to shake up an institution that has become sclerotic and is still reeling from WikiLeaks and Snowden’s revelations. To confront both crises, Weber turns to the Agency’s top computer savant, who is a former world-class hacker, while he confronts the myriad intrigues and intransigences inside the CIA and the vast national intelligence network. Ignatius is on new ground here. The hacker culture and ethos is an insular world, but he does a fine job in portraying it through the rollicking sketch of Def Con, the annual hacker convention that is a prime intel recruitment site. He’s similarly successful with Morris, the CIA computer savant: Morris is überbrilliant, a bit kinky, and spectacularly devious. Ignatius even effectively outlines a plausible hack that rocks the entire world economy. He’s given readers another compelling and enlightening look at what might happen next month. Must-read twenty-first-century espionage fiction. --Thomas Gaughan


“An entertaining, high-tech ride, full of theme park pyrotechnics and more substantial pleasures. As in his previous thrillers, Mr. Ignatius…injects the plot with his wide-ranging knowledge of history, geopolitics and national security issues, while giving the reader an intimate sense of the tradecraft employed by his characters.” (Michiko Kakutani - The New York Times)

“I’m not rolling a log or exaggerating when I call this the best spy novel I’ve read since John le Carré’s Smily’s People way back in 1979… I now intend to read everything that Ignatius has ever written.” (Philip Kerr - Washington Post)

“David Ignatius’s novels have always been a clef in the best sense: closely connected to, and very revealing and insightful about, the trends and tensions in the news… [A] page-turning read.” (James Fallows - The Atlantic)

“One of his best… Ignatius has a gift for portraying the soldiers of the CIA bureaucracy in all their ambition, heroism and pettiness, and what he suggests about the nation’s cybersecurity will keep you up at night.” (Mary Ann Gwinn - Seattle Times)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1009 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 27, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Negative reviews off base May 31, 2014
By Travis
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kudos to Ignatius for keeping up with the times. Those who gave a poor review may have been expecting an old-school spy thriller and they are correct, this is not one of those. But it a respectable piece of work that is a sign of the times and recommended to anyone who can comprehend the severity and complexity of the technical world. Personally, I couldn't put it down and had no desire whatsoever to put it down halfway through. Nor was I reading out of obligation of getting a free copy--paid for with pre-order and worth every penny. Thanks tut o Amazon for early delivery!
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CIA hacked and invaded May 27, 2014
By plane
Format:Kindle Edition
The author comes out with one of the best conspiracy novels published in a long time. His portraits of the characters are superb, and the best and the worst are very well delineated. Graham Weber, a former private business manager is appointed Director of the CIA with the mission of turning it around and making it more efficient. One week after he takes over the agency a young man walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and announces that the CIA has been hacked and hands a list of the agents found to be forwarded to Weber. Weber decides to give the problem to the director of the Internet Operations Center, James Morris, who is the acknowledged Geek of the agency. Morris turns on a hunt like no other before this and we are introduced to the Hacker world of Europe and the U.S.
The plot goes back and forth between deals and double deals and nothing is as it seems. Ignatius introduces us to the British background to the formation of the CIA and to the claim that the agency was molded after MI6 after WWII. He indicates in an afterward that this allegation was true with England holding the reins for many years.
Weber learns that he cannot trust anyone in his team, although he begins what might become a love affair with one of his department heads until the point where she seemingly betrays his trust. Ignatius does not glorify any one character but paints them as they would probably be if faced with these same problems in real life.
A must read book, and one that might be easily finished in one night once the reader gets into it.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THRILLING AND INTELLIGENT! May 29, 2014
The Director by David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and bestselling author of Bloodmoney, is a thriller set in the world of espionage, and stealing classified information like in the good old days is a thing of the past. No one bothers to steal anymore, not because it is not important, but simply because information can be altered and change to suit the needs of the party concerned.

In The Director, David Ignatius has shifted the frontlines of battles to the dark and sophisticated rooms of high-rise buildings as soldiers are replaced by hackers, a world where it is difficult to distinguish between two opposing sides. Graham Weber is the new CIA director. He has been saddled as new the director for about a week when a young hacker informs the bureau chief in Hamburg that the CIA has been hacked, and all information has been compromised. To establish veracity of his claim he hands over a list of agents as proof. As the agency dithered, the young hacker is found dead and Weber must rely only on trustworthy in-house team to deal with the situation.

Author David Ignatius has carried out extensive research to write this thrilling novel which employs the latest in the cyber-world. Building a world of deceit and treachery, where survival demands a code of silence, this story of modern-day espionage is an intelligent and engrossing read which will delight many readers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More reflections on a Wilderness of Mirrors July 5, 2014
I enjoyed the insights into some of the hacker world activities and methods and it's growing primacy in maintaining reasonable control in nearly all areas of world economies and national security. I did not, however, find any of the characters particularly compelling nor even very interesting. Everyone seemed to have their own worldview and their own personal agendas with the possible exception of the new "Director" who is clearly out of his element in this world and quickly struggling just to survive.

My primary impression was that no one in the higher levels of Intelligence really has much grasp of reality. It's a Wilderness of Mirrors. Perhaps that is true but it does not make for a very good novel as far as I am concerned. Despite all the plot twists and turns, betrayals, new allegiances, etc. the ending reeked of a "deadline finish" to me.....something that had to be wrapped up very quickly no matter how little sense it made just to meet the publisher's deadline. At least it sure left me scratching my head over just exactly who did what and why and how in order for things to suddenly reach such a rapid and illogical conclusion.

As far a recommendation let me put it this way - it's a decent enough story for summertime leisure reading....but there are no strong characters, no compelling or clear plot lines other than a lot of ambiguously global threats and in the end you need not wonder if this is the first of a series for there is nothing and no one in this book that is worth any further exploration.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent June 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Two things especially stopped my reading of this book: the characterizations melted together and could not be distinguished from each other, and the style shifted radically when in the underworld of Germany. I admired Ignatius for his political observations on TV. However, thoughtful literary style eludes him, and this book is a disappointment. It's as if he has picked a number of details about life and then thinks that crowding diverse scenes with this kind of detail will make for realistic and/or interesting narrative. It doesn't.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read but, no real surprise ending.
Published 5 days ago by Kevin J. Migdal
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Great spy story, but no romantic intrigue.
Published 6 days ago by gunabana
2.0 out of 5 stars The author's first novel was his best. The later ones
The author's first novel was his best. The later ones, including this, are light and seem like they have been written on the fly.
Published 10 days ago by Bruce Key
4.0 out of 5 stars humanist account of high tech world
Good read! Ignatius maintains suspense while offering well developed characters, flawed in their patriotism; while gently guiding the reader into the intangible but ominous cyber... Read more
Published 12 days ago by KT
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Details ot CIA great but inter personal relationships lack depth of feeling
Published 13 days ago by Francis Raymond Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars It started off well, if somewhat implausible that an ...
It started off well, if somewhat implausible that an individual straight out of teh corporate world would be appointed by President to run the CIA because of his "business... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Sam Mathews
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, but not as good as it could have been
Certainly a timely and topical exploration of the difficulties inherent to intelligence gathering in the modern era. Read more
Published 19 days ago by N. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good
Published 20 days ago by Joe D.
2.0 out of 5 stars David Ignatius has written some very good novels, but it seems that he...
I had a hard time finishing this book. I did not think the characters were likable and were very shallow. Further, the plot was total fancy and unbelievable. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Daniel J. Leahy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful novel! Great on current events!
Published 23 days ago by Pharlap
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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.

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