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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (273 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Baer Narrator: John Rubinstein Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9780739332405
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Former CIA operative Robert Baer pushes fiction to the absolute limit in this riveting and unnervingly plausible alternative history of 9/11.

Veteran CIA officer Max Waller has long been obsessed with the abduction and murder of his Agency mentor. Though years of digging yield the name of a suspect—an Iranian math genius turned terrorist—the trail seems too cold to justify further effort. Then Max turns up a photograph of the man standing alongside Osama bin Laden and a mysterious westerner whose face has been cut out, feeding Max’s suspicion. When the first official to whom Max shows the photo winds up dead, the out-of-favor agent suddenly finds himself the target of dark forces within the intelligence community who are desperate to muzzle him.

Eluding a global surveillance net, Max—in the summer of 2001—begins tracking the spore of a complex conspiracy, meeting clandestinely with suicide bombers and Arab royalty and ultimately realizing the Iranian he’d sought for a decades-old crime is actually at the nexus of a terrifying plot.

Showing off dazzling tradecraft and an array of richly textured backdrops, and filled with real names and events, Blow the House Down deftly balances fact and possibility to become the first great thriller to spring from the war on terrorism.


Also available as a Random House AudioBook and an eBook


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Quotes & Awards

  • One of the finest espionage novels I’ve read since the end of the Cold War. Sharp, witty, and chilling; do yourself a big favor and read this. Nelson DeMille, author of Night Fall and The Lion’s Game
  • Moves at jet speed . . . a crackling spy thriller that will leave readers wondering how much may be true. David Wise, author of Spy
  • Harrowing . . . pulses with the gritty details only a former intelligence officer could know. Watch out, Tom Clancy, there’s a new storyteller in town—and he’s actually lived the life he writes about! David Ignatius, author of Agents of Innocence
  • Unputdownable . . . Bob Baer has developed great characters and put them in situations that are devastatingly authentic. Joseph J. Trento, author of The Secret History of the CIA
  • Lively . . . an insider’s tale about the one unforgivable sin of the intelligence world—not wanting to know. Thomas Powers, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Intelligence Wars
  • Engrossing and challenging—how do you act when you know what really happened on September 11? Baer is so persuasive, one wonders whether he in fact did know. He certainly writes as if he did. William F. Buckley, Jr., author of Miles Gone By and Last Call for Blackford Oakes

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemary | 1/3/2014

    " Great spy thriller written by an ex-CIA operative. Very believable events leading up to 9/11. However, you have to pay attention to keep some of the people straight. He follows up at the end with some facts that he used in the novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jason | 11/27/2013

    " good story. baer should stick to non-fiction. more non-fiction, please, mr baer, thanks. i like to listen to you when you're being interviewed, too. you're a neat guy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Perry | 10/7/2013

    " Speculative fiction about the CIA and 911. Seemed a bit wayward in the first half. @PerryMissner "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 9/22/2013

    " One of the post 2001 thriller novels...this dealing with the possible true 'enemy' of the west, Saudi Arabia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie Stoll | 8/20/2013

    " I gave this book 3 stars because it is written well but the content is really not what I normally read. This is about the CIA, spying, etc., more along the story line of what my husband would read more than me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Glaser | 8/18/2013

    " This novel is chilling. Written by Robert Baer a former CIA Chief in the Middle East and which the movie Syriana was based on writes a very plausible story of how 911 occured. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yvonne | 4/27/2013

    " Fun spy book. Bear writes well - not macho like so many authors of this sort of novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 1/10/2013

    " A really interesting fictitious account of the events immediately preceding the attacks of September 11th. Baer uses all the real names of known Terrorists, Politicians, and Law Enforcement officials that crop up in the Official 9-11 report so it feels more like a biography than a work of fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 10/11/2012

    " A powerful thriller about what might have been happening in the months prior to September 11, 2001. Carefully dated chapters remind you what's coming and Baer is a fabulous story teller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 8/8/2012

    " This book had it's interesting plot points, but it was only okay. The ending kinda sucked too. It probably would have been better if I was more into espionage novels and current events. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 6/5/2012

    " A novel with a lot of facts. Fun read and of course very scary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 9/16/2011

    " An interesting mystery/thriller from a former insider. I wouldn't give his views too much actual credence, but it does make for a fascinating and exciting story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shereif | 9/2/2011

    " The book was very slow moving and the storyline was convoluted. I did find the premise to be interesting, but felt the book was poorly written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beejay | 3/2/2011

    " The author's background makes this well-written, face-paced book far more chilling than those written by writers who come from the life outside intelligence agencies. Definitely one for the conspiracy theorists. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 2/25/2011

    " I always love a good CIA thriller. Not as good as Jason Bourne... but no other books really are. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 1/10/2011

    " A really interesting fictitious account of the events immediately preceding the attacks of September 11th. Baer uses all the real names of known Terrorists, Politicians, and Law Enforcement officials that crop up in the Official 9-11 report so it feels more like a biography than a work of fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 5/12/2010

    " A novel with a lot of facts. Fun read and of course very scary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 7/28/2009

    " This novel is chilling. Written by Robert Baer a former CIA Chief in the Middle East and which the movie Syriana was based on writes a very plausible story of how 911 occured. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beejay | 3/19/2009

    " The author's background makes this well-written, face-paced book far more chilling than those written by writers who come from the life outside intelligence agencies. Definitely one for the conspiracy theorists. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yvonne | 3/15/2009

    " Fun spy book. Bear writes well - not macho like so many authors of this sort of novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 1/13/2009

    " One of the post 2001 thriller novels...this dealing with the possible true 'enemy' of the west, Saudi Arabia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 9/6/2008

    " A powerful thriller about what might have been happening in the months prior to September 11, 2001. Carefully dated chapters remind you what's coming and Baer is a fabulous story teller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 5/2/2008

    " I always love a good CIA thriller. Not as good as Jason Bourne... but no other books really are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 4/20/2008

    " An interesting mystery/thriller from a former insider. I wouldn't give his views too much actual credence, but it does make for a fascinating and exciting story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jason | 6/22/2007

    " good story. baer should stick to non-fiction. more non-fiction, please, mr baer, thanks. i like to listen to you when you're being interviewed, too. you're a neat guy. "

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About the Author

Robert Baer is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States, and See No Evil, which recounts Baer’s years as a top CIA operative. See No Evil was the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer writes regularly for Time.com and has contributed to Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East.

About the Narrator

John Rubinstein is an actor, composer, and director who won a Tony Award for his starring role in Broadway’s Children of a Lesser God. He has narrated dozens of audiobooks, earning several AudioFile Earphones Awards and being named a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2013.