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The Prince of Bagram Prison [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Alex Carr , Caroline Lee

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Book Description

11 Jan 2010
It's September 11th, 2004, three years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In Washington, DC, Dick Morrow, retired spy chief and head of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, is grappling with his wife's imminent death. In Madrid, a CIA snitch - an eighteen year-old Moroccan boy named Jamal - is on the run after claiming to have seen the fugitive terrorist Hamid Bagheri. In London, former British special forces soldier Colin Mitchell is found dead in a train station bathroom, the victim of an apparent overdose. In Virginia, Colin's ex-lover, Katherine Caldwell, an Arabic specialist and Army Intelligence reservist, is unexpectedly called back to duty. Kat, who worked as an interrogator in Afghanistan, knows Jamal from the prison at Bagram Airbase, where he was held after being captured with a group of foreign fighters, one of whom was Bagheri. Kat's mission, which will take her from Madrid's red-light district to the slums of Casablanca, is clear: find the boy before Bagheri does. But when another member of Colin's special forces team is found dead, Kat begins to suspect that Jamal's safety may not be the primary concern for those who want him found. And when Jamal tracks down his reluctant former CIA handler, Harry Comfort, he not only puts himself in further danger, but rekindles a decades-old struggle between the man who can save him and the one who wants him dead.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing; Unabridged edition (11 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1742146562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742146560
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 16.9 cm

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Review

"A complex and well written narrative that always grips..." (Denis Kilcommons Huddersfield Daily Examiner) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

An edge-of-the-seat political thriller set in the murky world of post-911 espionage --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Never tell them the truth....They'll just use it against you." 25 Mar 2008
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Alex Carr's "The Prince of Bagram Prison" is a disquieting look at the shadowy world of CIA informants and their handlers. As the novel opens, a woman is about to have her baby under wretched conditions in a prison infirmary. Next, we segue to Madrid, where a CIA agent arranges a clandestine meeting with a jittery young man named Jamal. Although the boy dreams of going to America, his wishes are beside the point. The men who hold his fate in their hands have their own agenda, and Jamal's happiness is the least of their concerns. Another key player is Katherine Caldwell, a teacher of Arabic at a military college in Virginia. When she was an army interrogator posted in Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, Kat took pity on Jamal who was being detained there. After Jamal was sent to Madrid, Kat never expected to see him again. However, the two are brought together under very different circumstances when they find themselves on the run from a group of villainous individuals.

The author's strengths are her vivid descriptive writing and skillful portrayal of character. Carr delineates every scene beautifully, whether she is portraying a fetid and impoverished Moroccan slum, a busy and colorful street in multi-ethnic Brick Lane, a crowded and dank prison in Afghanistan, or a chaotic American base in South Vietnam before the American pullout. The cast is intriguing: Kat and Jamal are smart and spunky, but they are both victims of forces beyond their control; Harry Comfort, is, as his name implies, a compassionate and warm-hearted man who has a proprietary interest in Jamal; Dick Morrow heads a team of operatives whose mission it is to locate Jamal and find out what he knows about the whereabouts of a terrorist named Hamid Bagheri; Susan is the alluring woman whom both Harry and Dick love. Adding to the intrigue are the deaths of key witnesses who were about to testify in a trial involving the alleged murder of a detainee in Afghanistan in 2002; Manar Yassine is a former revolutionary living in Morocco whose deep well of sadness stems from the terrible losses that she has suffered living under a brutal dictatorship.

Readers who prefer a linear narrative may be put off by the novel's confusing framework. The author's dizzying itinerary includes Virginia, Spain, Morocco, Hawaii, and Vietnam, and she frequently travels back and forth in time. Moreover, although some threads are tied up satisfyingly, other aspects of the story remain ambiguous. I admire Alex Carr's sense of time and place and her powerful assessment of both the clash of civilizations and the rampant corruption and immorality that make our world so unstable and perilous. However, "The Prince of Bagram Prison" would have had an even greater impact had Carr fleshed out and organized her narrative more coherently.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If she was to live... she had to do so entirely without expectation. Anything else was too painful to bear." 11 Mar 2008
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel begins with loss. One of the "disappeared", Manar Yassini, imprisoned during the brutal reign of Morocco's Hassan II (1961-1991), was an activist working on behalf of the student dissidents until her arrest. After her child is born, Manar is incarcerated for years in the tiny, coffin-like cells of a prison far-removed from the prying eyes of humanitarian organizations. His mother "buried" with hundreds of other prisoners, Manar's son is delivered to an infamous orphanage, where he faces an existence of abject poverty, surviving only through his own cunning. Years later, Jamal is swept up in a raid and delivered for interrogation to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where assorted military agencies question captives post 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At fifteen, Jamal is too young to keep in the system, although his companions are of great interest to the interrogators. Placed in Madrid by the CIA, Jamal is tasked with reporting actionable information he picks up on the streets.

Then something goes wrong. Although Jamal has no idea why his circumstances have suddenly changed, he instinctively flees Madrid; having supplied only lies to his handler, Jamal is ignorant of the chain reaction unleashed when he tosses out the name of a particular person of interest. Forced into hiding, Jamal commits to the only action available- something he never thought to do again- returning to the place of his birth. Meanwhile, reserve Arab language specialist Katherine Caldwell receives orders to return to the region. It was Kat who first questioned Jamal in Bagram, where he was affectionately named the Prince of Bagram Prison. Believing she may be responsible for Jamal's current situation, Kat hopes to intervene on the boy's behalf, all the more necessary when she realizes the disparate agency forces converging to address what Jamal might know and the need to silence him. In the agency's world, this is a death sentence.

From Virginia to Hawaii and to the dark, beating heart of Morocco, where Hassan's years of repression still cast a nightmarish pall of violence and its repercussions, old agency operatives move inexorably toward one another, bitter resentments meant for final settlement. Harry Comfort, Jamal's original contact in Madrid, now retired to Hawaii, receives a desperate call for help in the middle of the night; meanwhile, Kat moves toward the resolution of conflicts that have plagued her since 9/11. This is a world of compromise and deceit, where a mother aches for the son who was taken from her at birth, where all of life is rendered insignificant in the face of poverty, a world sometimes brutal, often heartbreakingly beautiful, humanity reduced to the odd moments of grace as history grinds on. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed review 8 Oct 2010
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jamal, a 15 year old detainee at Bagram, agrees to inform for the CIA and is relocated to Spain, where his handler, Harry Comfort, is close to retirement. Harry's successor pushes Jamal for information and Jamal responds by inventing a story about seeing a man from Bagram in Madrid. This sets off a flurry of killings. Jamal's Army interrogator, Kat, is sent to Casablanca with an ex-CIA chief to find Jamal after he disappears. The CIA wants to kill Jamal and Kat doesn't want that to happen. There's a whole lot more going on, involving a dead detainee and a coverup of nefarious American shenanigans, but describing it here would risk spoiling the surprises.

Although this is an intelligent, crisply written thriller that creates a strong sense of place, the motivations for the various actions taken by the characters aren't always clear and the plot at times gets a bit muddled. Kat is a reasonably full character but most of the others (particularly the males) are stock military/spook types. A romantic entanglement felt out of place, like it had been added to move the plot along--it didn't feel real. The facts that are being covered up seemed a little far-fetched to me, and the ending seemed contrived. In short, I liked the writing style more than the story or the characters. I'm encouraged to try her other novels (the author, Jenny Siler, wrote this one under a pen name). I'd give this novel 3 1/2 stars, edging toward 4 -- a worthy effort that comes close to succeeding as a solid novel, but doesn't quite get there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel the world in this fascinating, fast-paced thriller 20 July 2014
By Catherine Costanzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Two enthusiastic thumbs up for this riveting, fast-paced yet literary thriller that I absolutely could not put down. This book pierces and carries us out of the privileged bubble in which most of us middle-class westerners live to take us through the impoverished life of a boy-turned-CIA-informant born in a desert prison under the harshly repressive Moroccan King Hassan II. Though the action moves quickly, we are treated to gorgeous descriptive language that transports us immediately to whatever scene is at hand - whether a Moroccan slum, Viet Nam during the last days of the war, or the retirement haunts of ex-CIA officers. One ongoing theme is the often shameful gulf between well-off people of good intentions and the marginalized people who are the objects of their compassion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Alex Carr. 17 Mar 2013
By Searl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I am embarrassed at my earlier reviews since THIS book is by far my favorite to date. A first read of Carr and I cannot wait for more. Wonderful description of life, cultures and beauty few westerners have experienced. An intriguing beautiful mystery, thriller, travelogue.
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