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The Ghost War
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  • 4 1/2 Stars For a Fun Ride
    Returning to Washington after a harrowing case in the Middle East, CIA agent and al-Qaeda infiltrator John Wells is selected to investigate a surge in Taliban activity with possible Asian ties. BT.
    This was another entertaining 'hold on to your seat' thriller from Alex Berenson that I really enjoyed. I love a hero that's almost indestructable because that's what makes good escapist fiction. With his topical plotting and thrilling stories I am very much looking forward to the next John Wells thriller....more info
  • Commentary on the Books of Alex Berenson
    Watch Video Here: In this review I don't dwell on the plot of either "The Faithful Spy" or "The Ghost War". There are no "spoilers" or detailed plot descriptions here. Instead, I give my opinion on the author's techniques and what kinds of readers would enjoy his books. You can decide if you would like to give one as a gift and/or read it yourself. This review is from by Frank Derfler, author of "A Glint in Time" ...more info
  • a very talented new writer
    very good reading experience except the chinese politburo part with those cartoon-like ministers characters. other than that, this book rocks!
    alex berenson has shown great creativity talent and smooth and sincere writing style, not pretentious at all. the john wells character could become as popular as vince flynn's mitch rapp or jack reacher of lee child's, those already widely and wildly loved heroes.
    keep it coming!...more info
  • Do You Need to Read The Faithful Spy First?
    I read the Ghost War based on a NYT review. I liked it a lot- especially for its new ideas and plot elements, I then read The Faithful Spy- which as other readers have pointed out, is even better. If it helps other readers, I like Da Silva's books very much, yet found The Faithful Spy even better than any of them.

    To help those who wonder if it matters which to read first- my answer is yes. The Ghost War gives away a number of the twists in the Faithful Spy. So read The Faithful Spy first. If you like it as much as I did, you will then want to read The Ghost War. ...more info
  • Illustrates the Big Ending approach to popular fiction
    I'm usually reading two books at a time, one at the castle after I've finished my domestic chores - take out the garbage, clean the kitty litter box, dry the scrubbed dishes - and one on workplace lunch breaks when I'm free to ignore the rest of my world's imperative needs. But both volumes are unlikely to be of the same genre as I risk becoming confused, so it was unusual that I took up THE GHOST WAR and The Tourist at the same time. As a review is an extremely subjective measure against a constantly shifting standard, I have the opportunity here to at least compare the two.

    If I was to draw a parallel, THE GHOST WAR by Alex Berenson might also be compared with a James Bond novel. Regardless of the action that leads up to the dramatic finale, the conclusion is necessary to reader satisfaction; without it, the novel is a flop. Moreover, the continuing presence of the hero - 007 or CIA agent John Wells - is necessary for the series to continue. And, as far as the storyline is concerned, Bond and Wells maneuver in a world that is Good versus Evil; there are no subtleties and no shades of gray, and the victory for "our side" is unqualified. On the other hand, THE TOURIST could be compared with any of the truly excellent works by the British thriller writer Gerald Seymour, in whose novels about confrontations at the world's rough edges the entertainment value for the reader lies not with a relatively anticlimactic end game, but rather with the evolution of the storyline. Seymour's heroes are talented but disposable mid-level functionaries laboring in the bureaucracies of national police and intelligence agencies on both sides. Seymour's world is comprised of moral nuances and relativistic shadows. Victories, if they can be called such, are Pyrrhic in nature.

    About to enter my seventh decade, I've learned to better appreciate the subtleties of the world's national and ideological conflicts, especially as portrayed in entertainment media, whether written or visual. Thus, for example, I'll sing the praises of the remarkably intelligent BBC film adaptations of John le Carre's hero George Smiley (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People) over any of the blatantly simplistic Mission Impossible flicks. For that same reason, I'm awarding THE GHOST WAR four stars compared to the five I gave THE TOURIST, even though I'll concede that the Wells character of the former has matured as a fictional hero since his debut in The Faithful Spy (A John Wells Novel), and I look forward to Berenson's third offering in the series, The Silent Man. ...more info
  • Stick to writing fiction.
    This was an acceptable rainy afternoon read until the writers politics came into view. I don't want to be preached to when I'm immersed in a work of fiction. I had enough when the writer decided to give me information, that I didn't want, on kids and cholera in Pakistan.

    I looked at the other reviews and came across this: 'Nevertheless, Berenseon let his personal anamosities bleed over into his writng, when on page 316, in response to the savage beating Wells was about to receive from his torturers, he internalizes it by concluding it was karma for all America had done to all its detractors over the years. So take it like a man." I am sick of liberal writers thinking they have the right to make readers pay for letting them spout off to us with their endless blather.

    Alverna...more info
  • Preaching
    I enjoyed Berenson's first book The Faithful Spy and looked foward to The Ghost War but I was very disappointed with his second work. The characters no longer feel believable and the plot is predictable. Most disappointing is Berenson's blatent political preaching and name calling. If I was interested in that I would read one of the numerous political rantings that are available. I won't be reading his next book....more info
  • A Page Turner
    This is a well written yarn which keeps you turning the pages. I like Daniel Silva better buy not by much. I just finished this one and have ordered another....more info
  • A must read!
    I ordered this book because I loved Alex Berenson's previous book "The Faithful Spy" and also because I plan to meet the author in April at a book and author dinner. I took it with me on a trip to Mexico and read it on the beach. It is a great book, a real page turner. ...more info
  • Provides a tense story
    Veteran audio narrator George Guidall provides a tense story of a CIA agent who returns to the fold restless, recovering from wounds from his last job, and facing new Taliban terrorist activity requiring Wells' expertise to investigate in the gripping Alex Berenson story The Ghost War. ...more info
  • Action-packed, old-fashioned thriller
    We first met CIA agent John Wells in the book "The Faithful Spy". While it's not necessary to have read the first book, you need to know that Wells is a national hero after averting a terrorist attack on US soil. Now acting as a desk agent within the CIA, he craves the adrenalin rush that his former assignment provided.

    "The Faithful Spy" was a good old-fashioned thriller. This book is in a similar vein, although it suffers somewhat from trying to cover too many bases. It kicks off with the CIA going into North Korea to rescue a valuable mole. This part of the story is genuinely tense and gripping. However the book loses momentum as it strains to juggle a complicated plot that encompasses (among other strands) the Iranian nuclear weapons programme, Taliban training camps in Afghanistan, an international arms dealer, the hunt for an undercover mole within the CIA and an ambitious General within the Chinese politburo. As with the first book, the pace gets bogged down by Berenson's need to personalize events by fleshing out even minor characters.

    The first book set up the intriguing proposition of an agent who has lived undercover with the Taliban for so long that he struggles to adapt to the US way of life. In this book, that struggle seems forgotten and Wells' character is never particularly developed.

    This is an action packed and highly contemporary read, but it fell short of the first book for me. Having said that, the ending sets up a sequel and I'll almost certainly be going back for more.

    (Be aware that this book was published in the UK under the title "The Ghost Agent")...more info
  • Very good escape fiction -- Not too much disbelief to suspend
    Berenson showed in his first outing that he's OK with over-the-top endings, and he doesn't disappoint in this one. He moves the plot along well, his characters flesh out to more than one dimension, and apart from the wild finale only a couple of things ring implausibility bells for a former member of the intelligence community. (Like the notion that a Marine guard at the American Embassy in Beijing, compromised and recruited by the Chinese, would be able to get into the CIA station offices and collect information on a thumb drive.) But if you can get past that wildly fictitious "what if," the rest falls into place and before you know it, you're at the epilogue, wishing the story would continue. I was waiting for one final loop to be closed, but Berenson reminds us that in real life, that doesn't always happen. A good read, with interesting backdrops -- a good portrait of the People's Republic of China, an equally good portrayal of combat against the Taliban in the Tora Bora region, and a wholly plausible glimpse of bureaucratic politics within the CIA as well as the mechanics of a counterintelligence investigation....more info
  • Solid spy thriller
    I read Berenson's first book, "The Faithful Spy" and just finished "The Ghost War." John Wells is back in this book and the twists in the book kept me turning the pages.

    China and Iran are becoming friendly. Too friendly for U.S. intelligence sources. Meanwhile, North Korea has a "mole" who has spied for the U.S. and needs to get out of North Korea. John Wells is involved in a great deal of the issues/plots in the book including his return to Afghanistan where he encounters paid mercenaries from the former Soviet Union.

    The book never slows down and Berenson leaves a couple of doors open at the end of the book for future books since Wells is a hunted man by some bad guys and a man who will probably be hunting down some bad guys in future books. I thought the book almost had too many plots, but Berenson pulls off a great read. Do yourself a favor and read his first two books as they are well worth the time....more info
  • Different titles same book
    CAUTION the book "The Ghost War" and "The Ghost Agent" by Alex Berenson is the same book. When I ordered from Amazon I thought I was getting two different books by the same author. It looks like one is an American publisher and one an English publisher....more info
  • 4 1/2 Stars -- Another Exciting Thriller From Berenson!
    With just his second book, Alex Berenson, in my opinion has joined the ranks of today's elite spy thriller writers. The Ghost War, like its predecessor featuring CIA agent John Wells, is a tension-mounting thriller that has Wells returning to Afghanistan to investigate evidence the CIA received pertaining to a surge in Taliban activity backed by an unknown foreign power. But what he finds there is far from what he expected. Without going into detail, The Ghost War will have you on the edge of your seat as it tells its tale of the world hurtling toward confrontation as a result of a power play in China, an Iran determined to go to nuclear, and a mole within the ranks of the CIA. As with The Faithful Spy, Berenson's The Ghost War is well-written, exciting and very true-to-life. Further, the author has created characters that are believable and interesting; and John Wells is a character I definitely plan to go along with when the third book in the series, called The Silent Man, is published in March. Like most books, The Ghost War has some very minor flaws but they really aren't worth taking up your time describing. Rest assured, The Ghost War is a very worthwhile read, but I recommend that you read its predecessor, The Faithful Spy, first....more info
  • Don't Mince Me In
    The Ghost War: I like it. I like action, not chit-chat about "relationships." I don't want to sit around and listen to people discuss "issues." I like people who get pissed off and do something about it. I like to pull for the good guys (girls count as guys in that context). I like to hiss and boo despicable villains. Forget about understanding them. Let me relish their comeuppance.

    I like the good guys to get in tight spots, downright impossible situations. Then I want to see how they manage to come out okay, so they can move on to the edge of the next cliff.

    I like spies and sneaky stuff. Moles. Lethal gadgets. Secret meetings. Drop codes. Tiny little signs of a code gone awry. I can even handle invisible ink if you give me some lemon juice.

    I want it real, not tongue-in-cheek like James Bond.

    Love stories? Sure. The guy loves the girl and something gets between them. Just make sure that obstacle is dangerous, not some misunderstanding they have to work out over a picnic along the bank of a rippling brook in the shade of a weeping willow. At least bring in a storm with some thunder and lightning. Maybe a poisonous snake.

    You like this kind of book too? Then read The Ghost War.

    First a caution: I got hold of Ghost War before I knew about Alex Berenson's first novel, The Faithful Spy. That won the Edgar Award. The Ghost War works fine as a standalone, but the good guys, John Wells and Jennifer Exley, do their stuff in both books. Now I'm going back and read Faithful Spy, but I think it's better to read them in sequence.

    You don't like this kind of book? Okay. Lots of other kinds out there. Covered bridges and whatnot.
    ...more info
  • Not as good as the first
    A failed mission to pick up an agent in North Korea's nuclear program leads to a search for a mole in the CIA.
    The trail of the mole leads unexpectedly to a power struggle at the highest level of the Chinese government.
    Coupled with John Wells' trying to make sense of his life, Mr. Berenson weaves a good story.
    Although the second book does not reach the level of the first book, "The Faithful Spy", I found this a good read.
    After reading this book, I felt it was more of a bridge between the first book and his upcoming third book.
    John Wells' fans will enjoy it but I am looking forward to the third book to see if he regain the level of his first book....more info