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Extended Audio Sample The Faithful Spy: A Novel Audiobook, by Alex Berenson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,504 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Berenson Narrator: John Heffernan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The John Wells Series Release Date: April 2006 ISBN: 9780739333617
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A New York Times reporter has drawn upon his experience covering the occupation in Iraq to write the most gripping and chillingly plausible thriller of the post-9/11 era. Alex Berenson’s debut novel of suspense, The Faithful Spy, is a sharp, explosive story that takes readers inside the war on terror as fiction has never done before.

John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.
Now, on the orders of Omar Khadri–the malicious mastermind plotting more al Qaeda strikes on America–Wells is coming home. Neither Khadri nor Jennifer Exley, Wells’s superior at Langley, knows quite what to expect.

For Wells has changed during his years in the mountains. He has become a Muslim. He finds the United States decadent and shallow. Yet he hates al Qaeda and the way it uses Islam to justify its murderous assaults on innocents. He is a man alone, and the CIA–still reeling from its failure to predict 9/11 or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq–does not know whether to trust him. Among his handlers at Langley, only Exley believes in him, and even she sometimes wonders. And so the agency freezes Wells out, preferring to rely on high-tech means for gathering intelligence.

But as that strategy fails and Khadri moves closer to unleashing the most devastating terrorist attack in history, Wells and Exley must somehow find a way to stop him, with or without the government’s consent.

From secret American military bases where suspects are held and “interrogated” to basement laboratories where al Qaeda’s scientists grow the deadliest of biological weapons, The Faithful Spy is a riveting and cautionary tale, as affecting in its personal stories as it is sophisticated in its political details. The first spy thriller to grapple squarely with the complexities and terrors of today’s world, this is a uniquely exciting and unnerving novel by an author who truly knows his territory.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Faithful Spy offers a well-informed, often chilling look at how al-Qaeda might launch a major new attack in the United States—and how one intrepid undercover agent might do his darnedest to foil it…The Faithful Spy is a first-rate thriller.”

    Washington Post

  • “A thriller worthy of Le Carré.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “An intriguing thriller studded with alarming possibilities.”

    New York Daily News

  • “One could hardly ask for a more skillful, timely, and well-rounded translation of our worst fears into satisfying thrills; a sure bet for fans of Jack Higgins and Vince Flynn.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A 2007 Barry Award Finalist for Best First Novel
  • A 2007 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Finalist
  • Winner of the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindyplanchard | 2/18/2014

    " I was tempted to believe this was an auotbiography! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 2/5/2014

    " First of the John Wells series. A good airplane read of a near miss dirty bomb in Manhattan "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 karl | 2/4/2014

    " Mr. Berenson's 1st spy novel is a good one. The hero (John Wells) is a CIA spy, who has been living & fighting with the Taliban in the post 9/11 era. He not only hears of something going to be bad for US (not knowing exactly what it is - since the higher ups are not convinced he truly has converted), but is sent to US to help make it happen. Meanwhile, the CIA thinks he has turned on them - so essentially they are after him too. Lots of action - the hero is just like a Vince Flynn hero (loves America, tough as nails). Also, some good technical stuff - like about rockets, dirty bombs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 B | 1/18/2014

    " Like a shorter Clancy or Ludlum "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathrine | 1/12/2014

    " If you like Vince Flynn books, you will love The Faithful Spy. several twists & very "24" like. I can't wait to dive into Alex Berenson's second book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Hermann | 12/7/2013

    " Wow, this is definitely a must read for anyone who is into spy novels. I couldn't get over the feeling that somehow and in someway this story could have been taken straight out of the papers. Very beleivable and compelling, I had a hard time putting the book down. If you get a chance read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin Burcell | 11/14/2013

    " Loved this book. Great thriller. Edge-of-your seat, adrenalin-rush that will leave you breathless, and stay with you long after you put the book down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 9/30/2013

    " For the most part it was a good read. Sometimes these types of books go a little overboard on the believability meter. This one stayed fairly close to reality. Recommend this as a good easy read that keeps you interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey Hammerhead | 9/14/2013

    " This book won an Edgar in 2007. An excellant spy book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gavin Greenwood | 9/2/2013

    " A fairly decent first attempt at non-fiction. Focus is bioterror ala Al Qaeda. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leigh Cross | 8/31/2013

    " Entertaining, easy read. Well-written, decent characters, entertaining storyline - nothing special but a great airplane/beach read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tal | 6/10/2013

    " Reading my first book by Alex Berenson. Good mystery. Looking forward to reading more of his books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 5/24/2013

    " So I finally read the first book of the series - Amazing! If you like spy novels and action books this series if for you.It is a perfect kickoff to the series, and is well worth the purchase. I own it on Kindle so if you want to borrow let me know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich | 1/21/2013

    " Good plot. Loved the placement of a CIA agent inside Al Qaeda. Do you think? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Killen | 10/19/2012

    " This was a nice thriller, especially since some of it happens in places with which I am familiar. The books plausibility makes its suspense gut-wrenching. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbiedoesdctoo | 7/18/2012

    " The Bodacious Babes loved this book. It was a total pageturner with more twists and turns than you could count! Great characters, great descriptions and a good understanding of the real world laced into the fictional story line. And that was before we went into a food coma and drank all the wine! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karlene Elliott-mclean | 6/24/2012

    " A thriller that I enjoyed very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zhiqing | 4/24/2012

    " A page turner for sure. Would have gotten 4 stars if it weren't for the excessive patriotic propaganda throughout the book. Modern day espionage somehow just lacks the elegance of Cold War spy novels, which were all about mind games... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Davin | 4/10/2012

    " A really good book. It will keep you turning the pages. It does not take long to read it. It is very engaging. I would recomend it to anyone. I do like the twist at the end. I will read his other books because of this one. I hope they are as good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 8/3/2011

    " Wonderful suspence novel, left me feeling scared and wondering how much was and wasn't fiction. Could not put it down. Set in Afganistan and US. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 7/13/2011

    " I think I have another favorite author and CIA hero! Very interesting and intriguing tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chelsea | 6/6/2011

    " A fun page-turner that seemed terrifyingly realistic! Fun for a quick thriller. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jake | 5/6/2011

    " Audio Book. It was pretty depressing. A CIA operative infiltrates Qaida and lives in Afghanistan for years. It sounds like a rough existence. Then he gets sent on a mission by Bin Laden but not told what the mission is. He goes home where his mom is "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Al | 4/15/2011

    " Espionage and violence in the age of Islamist terrorism. Berenson's protagonist is in the Jack Reacher mold. Good airplane reading, but not as good as the espionage masters like Furst and Ambler. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cody | 4/11/2011

    " Listened to the audiobook from Audible. I enjoyed it. Quick, plausible, entertaining, and occasionally frightening. I plan on reading the next book in the series eventually. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arman | 4/3/2011

    " USA's fears of al-Qaeda available in this book's content "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brigid | 3/14/2011

    " Readable, but not too exciting account of a deep cover spy on the Taliban, and what happens when he finally comes home.

    A little draggy in spots. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathrine | 3/7/2011

    " If you like Vince Flynn books, you will love The Faithful Spy. several twists & very "24" like. I can't wait to dive into Alex Berenson's second book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amber | 2/27/2011

    " Berenson does a good job of staying away from the controversial political issues and focuses on the fictional intrigue. He incorporates a smart interpretation of Islam and makes John's struggles with faith believable. Overall, this is a good read and I'm willing to give Number 2 a shot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rock | 2/21/2011

    " Better than 3 stars, but couldn't really justify 4. Probably would not have won an Edgar on my vote. "

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About the Author

Alex Berenson, is the American author of three works of nonfiction and nearly a dozen suspense novels in the John Wells series, of which eight have made the New York Times bestseller list. The first novel in the series, The Faithful Spy, won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel. A former reporter for the Denver Post and the New York Times, he covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans to the financial crimes of Bernie Madoff. He graduated from Yale University in 1994 with degrees in history and economics.