A Faithful Spy – Alex Berenson – 8/10

I have a weakness for spy thrillers, but most of the ones I
have read have either been FBI/CIA/NSA within the USA (usually by David
Baldacci
, for whose plots I express unreserved awe mixed with amusement) or
secret international sect protected by naughty governments around the world is
exposed by brainiac with sidekick (Dan Brown and his copycats – some reviews here,
hereand here).

This one was a little different – following a CIA sleeper
agent inside Al-Qaeda. One of the reasons I really enjoyed this was that Berenson
considered the alienation and solitude of such a man quite carefully –
remaining undercover for 8 years in such a hostile environment, and then the
culture shock of returning to the USA after so long among fundamentalist and
militant Islam.

There was also a heavy focus on the Islamic motivations
behind Al-Qaeda, and the characters of a few of the “bad guys” were quite
thoroughly developed.

Of course we had the stock physical attributes – stocky,
attractive and slightly exotic male spy, leggy blonde promiscuous sidekick with
a past, uptight jobsworth bureaucrat with too much power… so that was a bit
disappointing.

Definitely worth it for spy thriller lovers – much better
than most of the usual fare!

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