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The Ghost War (A John Wells Novel) Paperback – January 27, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Having foiled an al-Qaeda plot targeting Times Square in 2006's The Faithful Spy (which won an Edgar Award for best first novel), maverick CIA agent John Wells confronts a very different threat in this pulse-pounding sequel from New York Times reporter Berenson. When the CIA's efforts to extract Dr. Sung Kwan, a North Korean scientist and an invaluable source on Kim Jong Il's nuclear ambitions, result in the deaths of Kwan and the rescue team, Wells's significant other, Jennifer Exley, searches to identify the person in U.S. intelligence who compromised Kwan's security. Meanwhile, Wells returns to Afghanistan, the scene of much of the action in The Faithful Spy, to find out what outside country has been helping the Taliban reassert itself. While the mole hunt will be familiar to genre buffs and the characters and the perils they face aren't as nuanced as those in John le Carré or even David Ignatius, the author's plausible scenario distinguishes this from most spy thrillers. Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Seasoned narrator Guidall takes listeners on a global journey of espionage and intrigue, breathing life into CIA agent John Wells, whose voice teems with emotion. Wells’ assignment involves ferreting out a CIA mole, and the tenseness of the task is evident in Guidall’s terse tones. When it becomes clear that the mole is selling secrets to the Chinese, and Wells tries to recover a CIA undercover agent in North Korea, Guidall instills Wells’ voice with carefully placed pauses. These pauses highlight Wells’ confusion and despair at the realization that a conflict between world powers may be imminent, and there seems to be nothing he can do to stop it. Berenson’s follow-up to The Faithful Spy (2007) is a winner. --Sheri Melnick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It doesn't last long. He may be happy with his love life, but it isn't enough to domesticate him. Tensions flare up back in Afghanistan, and he takes the opportunity to put the turban back on and slide back into his undercover life.
I’m a huge fan of Alex Berenson’s novels, and his protagonist John Wells. I’ve read them all – more than once – and followed Well’s fictional life from the first story (The Faithful Spy as mentioned above and see the full listing below) describing how he lived as an undercover agent with Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, succeeding in earning their trust and becoming the only American agent to actually live and fight with elements of bin Laden’s army.
I love these stories because of the uniqueness of the Wells character, particularly in these early novels where he fights his own internal battles between the Islamic faith he had adopted and learned to respect and even love, and his western life that continued to be under threat.
Over many years of reading novels of this genre, today I have only a very few authors whose works I am certain to purchase. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels are one. Alex Berenson’s John Wells novels are another. I have been looking forward to this since it was announced months ago, and I had pre-ordered it immediately. When it appeared on my Kindle this past evening as soon as it was released, I opened it up and began reading. I wasn’t disappointed.
For those new to these John Wells stories, this book will be satisfying and it's not necessary to have read the predecessors. Once you have read this story, however, you may well want to go back to the beginning to follow Wells development. Here are the John Wells novels in order of their publication, with links to the books here on Amazon (Kindle versions are linked but hardcover and paperback editions can also be selected on the same page):
Book 1: The Faithful Spy (first published April 2006)
Book 2: The Ghost War (February 2008)
Book 3: The Silent Man (February 2009)
Book 4: The Midnight House (February 2010)
Book 5: The Secret Soldier (February 2011)
Book 6: The Shadow Patrol (February 2012)
Book 7: The Night Ranger (February 2013)
Book 8: The Counterfeit Agent (February 2014)
Book 9: Twelve Days (February 2015)
Book 10: The Wolves (February 2016)
Book 11: The Prisoner (January 2017)
No plus points for the writing. It is so so. Sometimes it is very pedestrian (as if the author took a course in creative writing) and sometimes quite inspired (for instance when talking about China). Like so many modern books each chapters is like a couple of scenes in a movie, typically one location per chapter.
The few reviewers who consider this book left-wing or liberal propaganda are just ridiculous. He makes the foreign power in the book look like s*** and has a very few critical side comments towards the US. The US end up looking good and pointing out some US bureaucracy is not treason.
I give the book three stars. Had the writing been better, the book would have been worth four stars. It is a good book for a causal read.
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