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Body of Lies [Paperback]

David Ignatius
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

2 Oct 2008

Roger Ferris is one of the CIA's soldiers in the war on terrorism. He has come out of Iraq with a shattered leg and an intense mission - to penetrate the network of a master terrorist known only as 'Suleiman'. Ferris's plan for getting inside Suleiman's tent is inspired by a masterpiece of British intelligence during World War II: he prepares a body of lies, literally the corpse of an imaginary CIA officer who appears to have accomplished the impossible by recruiting an agent within the enemy's ranks. This scheme binds friend and foe in a web of extraordinary subtlety and complexity, and when it begins to unravel, Ferris finds himself flying blind into a hurricane. His only hope is the urbane head of Jordan's intelligence service - a man who just might be an Arab version of John le Carré's celebrated spy, George Smiley. But can Ferris trust him? And can he trust the CIA?


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847245897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847245892
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Ignatius ranks with Graham Greene in his knowledge of espionage and the human heart - Publishers Weekly

Body of Lies is fiction but reads like fact. CIA officers admire Ignatius because more than any other writer he understands the nuances of their trade. Fascinating - George Tenet, former CIA Director

From the Inside Flap

Roger Ferris is one of the CIA's soldiers in the war on terrorism. He has come out of Iraq with a shattered leg and an intense mission - to penetrate the network of a master terrorist known only as “Suleiman”. Ferris's plan for getting inside Suleiman's tent is inspired by a masterpiece of British intelligence during World War II: he prepares a body of lies, literally the corpse of an imaginary CIA officer who appears to have accomplished the impossible by recruiting an agent within the enemy's ranks. This scheme binds friend and foe in a web of extraordinary subtlety and complexity, and when it begins to unravel, Ferris finds himself flying blind into a hurricane. His only hope is the urbane head of Jordan's intelligence service - a man who might be an Arab version of John le Carre's celebrated spy, George Smiley. But can Ferris trust him?

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Body of Lies - Brilliant Novel 6 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having previously read 'Agents of Innocence' by David Ignatius many years ago, I was interested in this book, having just seen the film. While there's no doubt the film is very good indeed, it's totally eclipsed by the book.
I wanted to read it again as soon as I'd finished it. The characters are extremely well-drawn by the author, especially the Jordanian 'head of intelligence'. Most of the story is based in Jordan, and, as with his other novels, the book gives a real feel of the country in which it's based. If you like this, read 'Agents of Innocence' (based in the Lebanon). I've read that ten or twelve times, & 'Body of Lies' is just as good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 22 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not a great novel reader anymore, but I saw the film and enjoyed it immensely. I did worry that the lack of DiCaprio and the 'spy thriller' genre (into which I have not dabbled) might turn me off compared to the more 'action' feel of the film, but this was not the case. I read the book in an afternoon, and found it very hard to put down. Ferris is enjoyable as a character, but he doesn't feel superhuman or even particularly unrealistic. The lack of action didn't bother me, and in fact made the book feel more like John Le Carre than James Bond, a nice change. Thoroughly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Body of Lies. 2 Aug 2013
By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I came to this novel after having seen the Ridley Scott film version; they are two different animals but each has their own attractions.

Ignatius` novel is, of course, the primary source of the plot - which I won't go into.
The narrative is well paced, slowly building up a fairly believable picture of an espionage operation in the Middle East; the portrayal of the CIA is pretty consistent with factual books I`ve read - the incompetence that exists at some levels of the organisation and the institutionalised denial that they ever make mistakes - Ferris is the main character, but it is Hani Salaam, the GID intelligence officer who is perhaps the most intriguing (literally) character in the book.
The film truncates the storyline, excises much of the secondary sub-plotting dealing with Ferris's private life and beefs up the part of Hoffman; this increases the pace but also subtly places more of an emphasis on the American side of things than I felt was apparent in the novel, which presents a much more balanced view of both Western and Middle Eastern worlds.
On the whole, the book is much more rounded and better paced for this kind of story telling; it is essentially about the methodology of espionage, the construction of untruths, the ruthlessness of creating devices to penetrate and confound the enemy's system with little regard for those civilians - like the architect Sadiki - who are used as pawns in an elaborate and deadly game; characterisation is less important and only a few of the main players are properly developed to any extent.
The film is flashily exciting visually, providing its star cast with good roles but is less engaging and more formulaic overall - still a good watch though.

This is a decent and absorbing thriller which in the main avoids following the usual clichés and makes for a very entertaining read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAUNTINGLY REAL 10 April 2007
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Body of Lies is surely an apt title for this taut thriller from Washington Post columnist David Ignatius because for starters - a body is needed, a dead body. Not just any corpse, mind you: "It took nearly a month to find the right body. Roger Ferris had very particular requirements: He wanted a man in his thirties, physically fit, preferably blond but certainly and recognizably Caucasian. He should have no obvious signs of disease or physical trauma. And no bullet wounds, either. That would make it too complicated later."

Complicated is a mild description of what is to come later as Roger Ferris, one of the CIA's top operatives in today's war on terrorism, is assigned to Jordan following wounds he received in Iraq. To date no one has been able to net Suleiman, the Muslim terrorist behind car bombings throughout the world. He's hidden deep in the desert, unapproachable, invisible.

Ferris is an idealist, determined that 9/11 won't happen again and to this end he initiates a complex scheme used by the British in their war against the Nazis. The British World War II plot was called Operation `Mincemeat," a clever stratagem that allowed the British to feed false information to the Nazis through the dead body of a decoy British agent. Ferris's ploy, dubbed "taqiyya" (ancient Arabic for a necessary lie) is intended to convince Suleiman that American agents have already worked their way in to Al-Qaeda, and he is in danger.

Risky? Undoubtedly, but Suleiman must be stopped and so far American efforts have been slow, ineffective, and riddled with errors.

Film rights for this powerful novel have already been acquired by Warner Bros. Rightly so, as David Ignatius can write with a keen understanding of CIA operations and international terrorism.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic and compelling 12 July 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is as good as, if not better than his first book, Agents of Innocence. Roger Ferris, the CIA agent, is no Jack Bauer type, because this is totally realistic. He gets scared and does not carry a gun. I read it in two weeks and found it interesting and exciting all the way through. The plots within plots are just so clever but easy to follow. The end is satisfying, up to the very last sentence.
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