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The Wolves (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 9, 2016
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Praise for The Wolves
“Masterful...The Wolves is driven by a terrific and well-executed plot, but where Berenson truly shines is in his explanation of how certain parts of the world work. These would include spycraft and the dark tradeoffs made by governments at the highest and lowest levels. Its conclusion sets up enough potential issues to keep things going for as long as Berenson wants them to. If what has gone before is any indication, let’s hope that he keeps going for a very long time.”—Bookreporter.com
“As always, Berenson brilliantly blends global politics into an adrenaline-pulsing spy novel. But, most of all, there is Wells, a stone-cold killer who nevertheless does what we all wish we could do: stand up to the powerful and make them pay.”—Booklist
"[E]xhilarating... when the call of duty summons, Wells rises to the occasion.”—Publishers Weekly
“Berenson’s style is as seductive as his storytelling, and The Wolves has a bite that doesn’t let go from the first page straight through to the last.”—Providence Journal
Praise for Twelve Days
“Lots of thriller writers know how to work a ticking clock, and lots more come to the genre with some experience in international politics, but few put the two together as effectively as Berenson does in this compelling, globe-trotting time bomb of a novel. Action fans will get all they came for . . . but those looking for genuine insight into the subtleties of the geopolitical chess game will be equally satisfied.”—Booklist (starred review)
“This well-written and fast-moving novel delivers more than a good plot. It illustrated how in the midst of regional chaos, a great power can jump to calamitous conclusions. This one is well worth the thriller enthusiast’s time, which holds true for all the novels Berenson has written to date.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A fast-paced, enthralling fight to the finish . . . the sort of spy thriller that locks you in a fast and ferocious grip and won’t let you go.”—Associated Press
“An extremely suspenseful read that fans will not forget any time soon.”—Suspense Magazine
“All espionage thrillers should be this good. This is a series that you should—must—be reading.”—Bookreporter.com
About the Author
This is Alex Berenson’s tenth novel featuring John Wells. As a reporter for The New York Times, Berenson covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq—where he was stationed for three months—to the flooding of New Orleans to the world pharmaceutical industry to the financial crimes of Bernard Madoff. He graduated from Yale University in 1994 with degrees in history and economics, and lives in New York City. The Faithful Spy won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
The quality of the writing isn’t the only thing that sets apart the John Wells series from others such as Mitch Rapp and Scot Harvath—Berenson has gotten away from using the “doomsday scenario” involving WMDs and Muslim terrorists in every novel, and instead his plots are intelligent and far more subtle.
In The Wolves, it begins as a simple quest for vengeance. It follows The Counterfeit Agent and Twelve Days as the third book in a series arc centered on billionaire Aaron Duberman. The brief summary: Duberman, who is Jewish but an American citizen, tried to use stolen nuclear materials to start a war between Iran and America. His motivation was to protect Israel from a nuclear Iran.
The Wolves begins after Wells, with help from Ellis Shafer (CIA) and Vinny Duto (former CIA, now a senator), foil the plot. But now the president—who had been sucked in by Duberman’s subterfuge—is protecting himself by hiding the truth from the public, and as a result Duberman gets to skate unpunished for his actions.
Wells decides to go after Duberman on his own. The plot, however, quickly escalates as it morphs into something far more sinister than simple vengeance—and Wells becomes ensnared in a game of cat-and-mouse with politicians and spies from China, Russia and the U.S. … and it all unfolds on the streets of Hong Kong.
Berenson offers a portrait of a warrior who is tired of doing “the right thing” only to come home to politicians bent only on staying in power. Wells is a conflicted protagonist, with emotions and actions and dialogue that are brilliantly written—and the result is an incredibly satisfying novel.
I have just one complaint about this book—someone on the editing team at Putnam really messed up on the Kindle edition (and probably in the print as well, though I haven’t seen it). I found at least seven or eight glaring typos / editing mistakes—and it’s not like I was even looking for them. In one instance, the wrong name was attributed to dialogue. In another, extra quotation marks were randomly included in the middle of a sentence. There were several others, and while I don’t normally get hung up on such things, it’s not like this is an Indie publisher or amateur author.
This is an imprint of Random House.
I’m sure they’ll fix the Kindle edition fast and upload a new version to Amazon, but as someone who really loves this series, the fact the mistakes even exist in the first place is incredibly annoying—because for whatever reason Alex Berenson’s books have never reached the same level of success as some of his contemporaries in the same genre. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but if Putnam were really betting on Berenson and this series, then wouldn’t they put a better team of editors etc. on this book? Anyway, that’s my two cents.
As for the book, it’s a must-read. Long-time fans should love it, and the backstory is told sufficiently well that if you haven’t read the previous books you should still enjoy this one.
Doberman seeks refuge in his fortified mansion in Hong Kong, where he can conveniently oversee the casinos in HK and Macao that cater to the corrupt officials from China, one of which visits frequently to satisfy his urges for baccarat and other more primal pleasures. The story develops into an entertaining mix of Chinese generals and Russian spies, with the American CIA and NSA keeping an eye on things and (sometimes) helping Wells track Doberman, hoping to extract his ultimate punishment.
The story ends with an intriguing hint of where it is likely to go next, not a cliff-hanger exactly but my guess is that we will see Vinny Duto getting closer to his own political ambitions, with Wells somehow entangled in the ensuing drama.
The Wells saga began with a very compelling story of his emergence from years embedded deeply in Afghanistan, having been profoundly influenced by the fighters he fought with (and against) to the point where he became a Muslim himself and continues to hold that faith as a core part of his values. My only disappointment with this series is that the subsequent books have steadily drifted away from that aspect of Wells, which was something that not only made him unique but gave the stories an extra element of conflict that was quite excellent.
This latest John Wells novel is completely satisfying, nevertheless. I found myself hesitating only for a very short time in picking it up for the Kindle, rather than wait for the price to drop once the paperback was released, and I'm not sorry that I did.