Review

The Ghost War

by Alex Berenson

In
THE GHOST WAR --- the follow-up novel to the Edgar Award-winning
THE FAITHFUL SPY --- New York Times reporter Alex Berenson
resurrects CIA agent John Wells and ratchets up the suspense. This
is a well-crafted thriller with engaging characters and a
frightening scenario about events that bring two superpowers to the
brink of war.

Wells is back from death’s door after saving the United
States from a murderous terrorist attack in New York City. He is
now living in Washington, D.C. with his girlfriend and handler,
Jennifer Exley, while awaiting his next mission. He has healed
physically, but his mental state is not so stable. During frequent
bouts of insomnia he hops on his Honda and drives at breakneck
speed, taking dangerous risks that make some higher-ups within the
CIA question his judgment --- and his sanity.

Years ago, while in Afghanistan and under deep cover for the CIA,
Wells converted to Islam. His newfound faith brings him spiritual
comfort, and he doesn’t hide his admiration for the strength
and hospitality of the Afghan people. Wells is the only American
ever to infiltrate al-Qaeda, but his conversion to Islam has caused
some within the CIA to distrust him and question his loyalty.

After the CIA receives reports that the Taliban’s tactics in
Afghanistan are becoming more effective and their communications
networks and command-and-control structure have become increasingly
sophisticated, Wells is the only asset with the insight and skills
to spearhead the covert operation. What he discovers is
chilling.

In another part of the world, the CIA makes a bold attempt to
extract a scientist who has intimate knowledge of North
Korea’s nuclear program. The mole, whose code name is
“The Drafter,” has provided critical intelligence
information to the United States government about North
Korea’s nuclear capabilities and has become the CIA’s
most important asset inside the rogue state. But after the North
Koreans discover the mole’s identity, the CIA finds evidence
of a mole within their own ranks. It becomes increasingly apparent
that the traitor within the CIA has almost total access to
intelligence in the East Asian Operations. Disclosure of this
highly classified information will lead to disastrous --- and
deadly --- consequences.

Meanwhile, tenuous relations between the United States and China
take a turn for the worse. Someone at the highest level within the
Chinese Communist Party is pushing for the country to ally itself
with the nuclear ambitions of Iraq. Complicating matters, the
fallout from international public opinion after the United States
is provoked into a naval confrontation by the Chinese brings the
two superpowers to the brink of war. With limited human
intelligence operatives on the ground in China, Wells is once again
given a mission to travel to another dangerous spot. This time he
must obtain firsthand information from a Chinese official with
access to the highest level of intelligence about what is going on
within the secretive Chinese society.

THE GHOST WAR is a novel about a war that, thankfully, has not
happened. It is also a story of ambition, betrayal, sacrifice,
redemption and the remarkable power of faith to transform --- and
save --- lives. With this timely and compelling sequel, Berenson
has exceeded the promise of his acclaimed debut and the
expectations of his readers, who already are eagerly awaiting his
next book.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on January 22, 2011

The Ghost War
by Alex Berenson

  • Publication Date: February 12, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399154531
  • ISBN-13: 9780399154539