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3.9 out of 5 stars
9
Duet in Beirut
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 May 2014
'Duet in Beirut' is the author's first novel and the start into his post Israeli military career as an author. It involves a rather surprising mission (for a spy novel) and is largely happening (as suggested by the title) in Beirut.

The protagonsits are both Mossad / ex-Mossad members of a team that has been unsuccessful in an assassination attempt in Beirut about a year prior to the book's main storyline. This, together with their family lives back in Israel adds an enriching component to the book, making it more than just an action filled spy novel.

Where I feel the author scores particularly well is in portraying the soul searching many serving members of intelligence / military outfits go through, especially after missions involving killing / assassinating in the interests of one's country. Some of the politics of secret service organizations (as much as the military censor would allow) is also portrayed, and done so with a relatively mature and balanced perspective (similar in this respect to the coverage of strategic military decision making in Marlantes' Matterhorn).

What the book perhaps lacks is a credible counterparty to the Mossad team - in this respect it is certainly not up to the level of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or similar John Le Carre novels).

But overall a very solid debut and a good way to spend some relaxing hours, with a solid mix of action and reflection. Can very well imagine reading other books by the author as they come out.
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on 12 September 2013
I freely admit the Mossad intrigues me. I have read both fiction and non-fiction about the organization. Duet.is a penetrating look into the minds of 2 veteran agents, their internal conflicts, their changing attitudes toward the organization and the affect that their careers have on their personal lives. It is clear that the author knows his subject extremely well. Of particular interest is the relationship between the Mossad and the IDF. The physical locations both in and out of Israel are clearly defined and brings the reader into the action. The mixed emotions of the 2 main characters are very well defined. The author provides exactly the right mix of the personal and the professional in each of the two. The story unfolds flawlessly although a few editorial errors occasionally rear their heads and interrupt this reader's concentration. Overall, this an extremely good read and I heartily recommend the book to fans (and non-fans) of both Israel and spy-action novels.
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on 30 July 2017
A good tale. Overdone translation and could have done with better editing then it would have been even more enjoyable. The sexual encounters obviously meant to titillate are gross and digress from a rattling good story.
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on 7 March 2016
All good
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on 9 November 2013
First class exciting insight into that most secret world of the real James Bond. Seriously difficult to put down. A brilliant nerve tingling read.
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on 23 May 2014
This is a somewhat short book, with a very straightforward storyline, no twists and turns, no real suspense. The whole book is padded out with extensive unnecessary descriptions on even the smallest detail. The first half of the book sets the scene, which after taking so long to do so you would expect a stronger finish.
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on 31 October 2013
I didn't know what to expect and I found it slow and the end rather unsatisfying, it left me high and dry.
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on 12 October 2013
the planning detail is worth the money paid for the book, it's a rare insight into the real murky world of the ruthless mindset of antiterrorism the world all over Warts and all.
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on 13 January 2014
A thriller plot that involves an undercover team in a foreign city going after a high profile target may sound very routine, especially if the hit squad is from the Mossad, but that is as predictable as Duet in Beirut gets.
The author, Mishka Ben-David, has been a high ranking officer of the Mossad, and the action, planning and methodology woven into the story have the ring of truth as a result. Ben-David creates considerable tension, not least because the original `hit' goes wrong when the shooter, Ronen, fails to pull the trigger because the target appears with his young daughter.
As everything unravels Ronen is consumed with guilt, self-loathing and anger and returns in secret to Beirut to complete the mission; because the undercover teams are close, and because the commander, Gadi, feels ultimate responsibility for the failure, he goes after Ronen - unauthorised - to try and prevent him shooting his terrorist target.
The story unfolds in Beirut, and in Israel, as senior Mossad and government figures debate what needs to be done, believing that were the hit to be carried out it would have terrible repercussions for Israel itself.
Duet in Beirut deserves the description `nail biter' as the tension ratchets ever higher; it is a superb, convincing read and a powerful reminder that a nation that feels forced to take tough steps against its enemies still has a beating, human heart.
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