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The Director: A Novel Hardcover – June 2, 2014
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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*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
“Another brilliant thriller from the Dean of International Intrigue. Deception, deceit, and dishonor―The Director doesn't let up and absolutely doesn't disappoint! I loved this book!”
- Brad Thor, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Hidden Order
“The best part of The Director is watching Ignatius grab the history of American intelligence and use it to divine our technological future. Here's your chance to see inside the CIA. Sculpted with an insider's eye, The Director shows you real people, real espionage, and the real threats to our national security.”
- Brad Meltzer, best-selling author of The Fifth Assassin
“[A] frighteningly convincing spy thriller.”
- Publishers Weekly, Starred review
“As a writer, Ignatius doesn’t know how to tell a bad story. His unparalleled understanding of the intelligence world propels his work so far above others who dabble in the field that there's little comparison.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Ignatius has given readers another compelling and enlightening look at what might happen next month. Must-read twenty-first-century espionage fiction.”
- Booklist, Starred Review
“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
“A lively read.”
- Foreign Policy Magazine
“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
“Ignatius uses all his Washington insider experience to give his story its sharp authenticity.”
- Daily Mail (UK)
“If you think cybercrime and potential worldwide banking meltdown is a fiction, read this sensational thriller and reconsider any investing strategy you might have.”
- Bob Woodward, Politico
“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
Top customer reviews
Less believable is the main character, a Silicon Valley Billionaire who has to have computer hacking explained to him at almost every turn. Thinner still is the idea a "rogue" CIA agent can spent over $18 million in agency money in one week (approved by accounting no less) and nobody notices, remarks on it, or wonders, "gee where did all that go..."
This believability is the problem with the set up too - a Friday walk-in hacker in Hamburg offers to spill the beans to the CIA on some global conspiracy, but is shown the door by a not too successful mid-level pencil pusher. In theory this guy will return Monday with all the dope. Right
Amazingly the guy who goes off to interview him at his Monday return, gee he gets the blame for the predictable end, and maybe should get fired too...for??? Someone else's screw-up? And this is the central premise of the book???
Well after that at least it gets going - and it is nice to know that while the CIA guy gets an Escalade, his boss gets a Navigator - status doth prevail. Its also nice to know everyone here is a weasel, ready to dump anything for their "job." I mean, can a civil service income mean that much---to a Silicon Valley billionaire -- to an MIT PhD in charge of the CIA hacking division--to "guards" who kidnap and imprison the CIA guy, incommunicado, for a WEEK. He must not get many calls he needs to return.
Then of course there is the matter of the CIA being a plot by the English to control the universe, and over the objections of the US, runs its banks as well through the ultra-obscure Bank for international Settlements in Basel--oooh it had Nazi gold, once, 60 years ago, and ooohhh, its super secret, although housed in a 14 story ziggurat across the street from the Hilton. Plus there is a super high level traitor in the Gov who is in league with the Russians - but NOBODY KNOWS!!!
There is a point where you have a simple little cupcake, frost it, cover it with sprinkles, and then add a creme center, and a cherry on top, and dust it with coconut flakes, throw on some gold foil, and...too much for a poor cupcake to handle.
One of these plot lines would have made an entertaining novel, many people before have made a meal out of unseen conniving at the BIS, it used to be a specialty of Paul Erdman, for example.
Plus we're skipping the weird sexual tweaks several minor characters indulge, and gosh, even more insider secret poop from John Foster Dulles' SISTER, and commentary on three or four or more Phillip Glass operas.
Save this for the one cent sale, and read it on a long plane ride.