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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 November 2016
When a CIA agent is kidnapped in Gaza, her husband must decide what, if anything, he can do to help. David Rose has a story to telll and he tells it without embellishment and with virtually no sub-plots. I really enjoyed it because it moves along at a cracking pace, but there is very little nuance and you don't have to think too carefully about some of the plot developments, particularly the ending.
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on 14 February 2014
This is David Rose's first novel and he uses his knowledge of America and the Middle East to great effect. This is very well written, informative and exciting. It has something of the quality of Henry Porter's books in showing how appalling are some of the features of the 'War on Terror'. I hope he writes more novels but I would be disappointed if her were to repeat the characters - it would be good to move on. Africa perhaps - crying out for attention from the espionage writer community.
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on 2 June 2014
This is, at once, the story of a dual-career couple whose relationship is challenged by the competing demands of family and vocation and also a gripping thriller centred on the ordeals of a CIA agent who is abducted while on an assignment in the Gaza Strip. The first novel by a top-class, award winning investigative journalist, the storyline is clearly informed by the author’s in-situ knowledge as a writer who has never shied away from tackling the most harrowing human experiences nor the most controversial political issues. No surprise therefore that it is has the ring of accuracy in its descriptive detail of events and context. The resilience and courage of the central characters are a little less believable, particularly that of the main character who retains an ability to think clearly and solve problems after undergoing torture and being entombed in a coffin-like casket. The descriptive writing conveys a cinematic vividness of detail and the build up of tension in the plot make this a novel that is gripping from start to finish. I read it on a return train journey between Oxford and Edinburgh and was too engaged in the plot to experience the usual tedium of long distance travel.
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on 8 February 2014
My understanding of Palestine was pretty much limited to the Old Testament until I read this novel. Know what? Nothing much has changed in 5000 years except the weaponry. It's still cousins killing cousins for the sake of a hot dusty mess. David Rose writes so well when he ignores the rules of the thriller and just does what he wants, but it looks as though his publishers Quartet kept reminding him about the demands of the genre. No need - the characters and the situation are enough when you have the knowledge and authority of Rose. The simple act of passing through an official checkpoint becomes an exercise in tension. You may well be better off buying the Kindle version, though: the book is poorly designed. The cover is a crowded mess of generic images in a vile palette, with stiff flaps like a faux dust-cover which make reading uncomfortable. The heavily inked chapter headings show through the shiny paper, and the print had just failed to take in occasional small patches at the foot of some pages. The proof-reading was a little insecure, as well. But the story is a real winner, and an ideal TV series. Read it now and get ahead of the trend.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 27 January 2014
Morgan Cooper is a CIA agent married to a successful Civil Defence lawyer, Adam. They have two young children and live in Washington. Due to Morgan's CIA fieldwork abroad and the demands on Adam's time, the couple are apart for long periods of time putting a strain on their marriage. Morgan's latest task, posing as a businesswoman, takes her to the Gaza Strip where she meets up with her contact agent Abdel Nasser. Her real task is to monitor and report back to her bosses accurate information on the state of the warring Fatah (supported by Israel and the USA) and Hamas factions. She has previously been part of a counterespionage unit gaining vital information about undercover officers and agents including Kosovo. Shortly after arriving in Gaza, Morgan is kidnapped along with Abdul Nasser. She doesn't know why nor where she is. She finds she is a captive of 'Jaibiya', an extremist organisation with al-Qaeda links whose leader is Karim. She is subjected to deprivation and torture , admitting to being a CIA agent to save the life of Nasser.

Adam learns of the kidnapping and despite CIA bosses reassuring him that they were doing everything possible to find Morgan, it was clear they either had no leads or if they did they were not letting on. Adam decides to take matters into his own hands and takes off to Gaza, much against the CIA's wishes. It becomes clear as Adam explores matters that Morgan's kidnapping is not straightforward and thoughts of conspiracy arise. It seems Karim knows more about Morgan and her past than he is admitting to.

David Rose has written a tense, all-action political thriller. It is full of deception, subversive motives, acts of cruelty, violence and misleading information. No one seems trustworthy. The situation seems hopeless but neither Morgan nor Adam are prepared to throw the towel in. The characters are well-drawn and they and the locations depicted are brought to life and believable. The plot is well-constructed and builds to a tremendous crescendo as the activity steps up several gears accompanied by increased danger. This is based on real events with added fiction, giving an authenticity to the on-going, never-ending Gaza conflict and the bitterness and hatred between the fighting opponents with added intrigue from interested outside agencies and allies. A tremendously gripping and exciting novel precarious to the end. A marvellous and captivating read.
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on 13 January 2014
This is apparently Rose's first novel. You'd never guess. It is an accomplished, evocative and powerful piece of writing. He clearly knows the places the novel is set (Gaza, Washington DC and Oxford, England) as the reader can almost see and even smell the terrain in the more dramatic scenes. Some of it is disturbing, much of it is deeply moving and there are even moments of brilliant humour (a certain type of tabloid journalist will recognise himself in a short exchange in Tel Aviv). Above all, it's a recognisable story of a couple who find it difficult to balance work and family commitments but in this case, in rather unusual circumstances. I recommend it to both men and women, and to anyone looking for a book to make into a movie!
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on 24 May 2014
I am not a thriller addict but this tale really moves along at a pace and weaves in so many themes, personal, current events, spies, betrayals, taking chances in life, that you just cannot put it down. The author really knows his Gaza and the Palestinian scene so that it is nearly a course in Middle East politics that you just absorb as you go along. I can just picture it as a film, and was casting it before I finished it! As the various double crossings and infidelities develop you just have to follow along and hope Morgan Cooper survives even if you are angry with her! Really great story.
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on 5 February 2014
This is fine contemporary thriller, very likely to result in a movie. The plot is well-worked, the characters interesting and the narrative compelling. The reader's interest is held to the very end. The author provides a convincing and atmospheric description of the intelligence world in the US and the Middle East. Highly recommended reading.
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on 29 January 2014
Moving from Oxford to the tunnels from Egypt into the Gaza strip the story whips along in parallel - the kidnapped wife's ordeal is one narrative and the husband's attempts to find her is the other.The description of the Gaza strip and its supply tunnels is excellent and unforgetable
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on 16 February 2014
This is an absolutely brilliant thriller which I have no hesitation in recommending. It really does tell you all you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I literally couldn't put it down. I urge you to read it
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