Another taut, believable thriller from Washington Post columnist Ignatius (Body of Lies, 2007, etc.), who pits a world-weary CIA agent against an administration looking for any reason to go to war.
The thrill of fieldwork has long left CIA veteran Harry Pappas. He’s done it all, seen it all and lost a piece of himself in the process. Now stationed at headquarters in D.C., running the agency’s efforts to stay on top of Iran, Pappas cloisters himself with his small staff and monitors Teheran’s nuclear capabilities. It’s all pretty much business as usual, until a message from an unexpected inside source sets off a rush to judgment. Harry, still reeling from a personal loss, plays on an old relationship and takes a desperate gamble that leads him to the Increment, a British team that will risk everything in this complicated story of spies, diplomacy and nuclear confrontations. Deploying his considerable storytelling skills, the author once again immerses readers in a totally believable universe. Jargon, geography and detail all ring true as his meticulously crafted, tightly woven tale moves from Washington to London and Iran. The plot grabs everything in its path like a snowball rolling down a hill. As the action unfolds, Pappas proves both a capable protagonist and a man of principal: Rumpled and analytical, he has no delusions about his colleagues at the CIA and other intelligence services, but his sense of right and wrong compels him to keep trying to make a difference. Ignatius matches dead-on dialogue to an increasingly complicated plot without sacrificing clarity.
A thinking person’s thriller with a timely take on recent international politics.