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Body of Lies [Anglais] [Broché]

David Ignatius

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58 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Screenplay, not a novel. So wait for the movie 22 juillet 2007
Par Douglas B. Moran - Publié sur
This is a very bad book, for reasons covered by many of the other negative reviews. However, it was about Chapter 10 that the underlying reason struck me. This wasn't written to be a book, but rather is a precursor to a screenplay for a big budget Hollywood action movie [...] Things that make no sense for a book make perfect sense when viewed as part of a screenplay.

The author is horrible on the "love story" components - it ranges from plodding to painful. Yet the love story is such a large portion of the book that it squeezes out the spy story.

And the spy story seems to be warped to favor visuals and dialog over thinking.

The author does not live up to his reputation as a writer of spy stories (from recommendations - this is the first of his books I read). The implausibilities and nonsense are glaring and far too numerous. The love story destroys the pacing of the spy story. The ending is badly forced (both in pacing and content) - it feels like the author was approaching a deadline and decided he had to wrap it up very quickly.

And especially annoying, the author cheats. When you tell a story from the perspective of one of the characters, you can't suddenly start excluding the reader from that character's conversations as a (lazy) way to create suspense. You can't have characters who are experts at keeping secrets (1) randomly reveal that they have a secret and then (2) reveal it to the main character just because he essentially pleads "Aw come on, tell me" a couple of times. This is a lazy - if not contemptuous (of the reader) - way to reveal information, although the demands of a screenplay may dictate such shortcuts. And you can't have a CIA case officer who is repeatedly incurious about significant events.

Because of the author's reputation, the promise of the opening chapters and the intriguing idea (hence two stars rather than one), I got sucked into reading to the end. But I came away feeling not just let down, but cheated and abused by the author.

The book dishonors its two main inspirations (cited by the author in an interview): the WW2 British operation described in the book "The Man Who Never Was: ..." and the Jordanian intelligence operation that caused the Abu Nidal terrorist organization to self-destruct.

Examples that avoid spoilers:
1. The body is presented to the terrorists in a shoot-out in hostile territory in which he - the most important person present - is riding in the only unarmored car in the convoy. Plausible?
2. The "pocket litter" (inherited from "The Man Who Never Was") is poorly thought out. First, many espionage books (fiction and non-fiction) talk about case officers emptying their pockets and doing a complete document shift (Aside: pocket litter was already a known problem in WW2 - movies show aircraft crews were reminded of this). Second: One of the items included on the body was a receipt for a gas purchase. Think: You are a CIA case officer buying gas on the way to the airport to fly to Pakistan. Supposing you even bother to ask the gas pump for a receipt, do you put the receipt in your pocket or in the car's glove box (to deal with when you return)? Everyone I asked picked the later. Or how about leaving it in your hotel room in Pakistan? (Note: pocket litter was important in TMWNW because he was traveling between rear areas and wouldn't have taken the precautions of someone going into combat.)
3. The case officer visits the site of a staged car bombing during preparations. Why? It unnecessarily simplifies making the connection by anyone doing surveillance of him. Furthermore, they evacuate people from the target several _days_ before the attack, greatly increasing the chance of the operation being "blown." Why? The only reason I could figure that that it greatly simplified exposition in the planned movie.
4. The problems with the condition of the body are acknowledged and then ignored. In "The Man Who Never Was", they plan for him to be exposed to the (harsh) elements (both actual and assumed by the discoverers) to obscure evidence it has been in storage. In this book, the body will be seen by the enemy within minutes of his supposed death. It is not credible that they would not notice the difference (blood oozing instead of spurting).
5. The "poison" that the CIA plans to inject into the terrorist organization doesn't seem to fit the bill - it seems to be more of a mild diuretic.
50 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A spy story from the front lines of the Long War 3 avril 2007
Par nwreader - Publié sur
BODY OF LIES is startlingly contemporary--a story of the front lines of the intelligence war against Al Qaeda by a journalist who has covered both the CIA and Iraq for a quarter of a century. It is at once sobering, touching and invigorating. Fans of Ignatius's earlier works should know that this book is his best; those who have not yet discovered this prolific spy novelist (whose day job is as columnist for THE WASHINGTON POST) should do so. Inside a detailed and authoritative story of how both Western and Arab secret services fight what has been called "the long war" against violent Islamic terror, Ignatius has created a story of identity in the hall of mirrors that is the contemporary Middle East, and a love story that is powerful in its evocation of the ways that love can make us treasure life, and at the same time lay it down for those we love. Cancel your weekend plans; you won't be able to put BODY OF LIES down.
27 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 another dud 16 juin 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
After his fine "Agents of Innocence" in 1988, Ignatius, a well regarded columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a string of spy novels which have been genre duds. This latest novel disappoints as well. The protagonist, a CIA operative, finds himself, after a thrilling opening encounter in Iraq, in Jordan working for the agency attempting to infiltrate Al Qaeda, in an on/off standoff with the Jordanian security forces led by a George Clooney-esque leader of impeccable taste, sartorial splendor and ferocious anger. Our hero is caught between his friendship with this all wise/knowing Arab, his agency loyalty to his pushy conniving Rumfeldian supervisor back in Langley, his gorgeous buxom politically connected wife/DOJ lawyer living in Kalorama, and his new little cream puff, a wealthy scion of a New England family who sees the essential goodness in the Palestinians and wants to bring our hero along with her. After methodically setting up a well crafted implementation of the preparation of the central scheme ("The Man Who Never Was") to capture the evil bomber, a la Frederick Forsyth's "The Day of the Jackal," Ignatius blows it by never letting the admittedly clever ploy play itself out in front of the reader, he kills off this beautifully constructed scheme (a body) in a meaningless third party hearsay reference. This, after such an enjoyable buildup, surely kills off the story as an espionage thriller. It is clear by the end that Ignatius never intended to complete the spy thriller, he was more interested in the love story. I should have known this book was going to disappoint when reading the jacket recommendations Chris Matthews praised it as
"an action thriller." Hardly.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Man Who Almost Was 3 août 2007
Par T. Corrigan - Publié sur
Having seen David Ignatuis interviewed by Charlie Rose, and seduced by the device of a "loaded" human corpse as a Trojan Horse strategy to convince Al Qaeda that we had somehow infiltrated the core of their network, I eagerly set out to read "Body of Lies." At the outset I realized that the book had something to live up to: Ewen Montagu's World War II classic, "The Man Who Never Was."

Ignatius' book is neither a total failure nor a total success. His strong suit is plotting and holding together a complex and multi-layered concoction of head games, played out by masters to whom the pawns are readily sacrificed, and dismissed. He is weakest in the love angle, where he becomes trite and predictable, getting precariously near to "sudsy" when the love interest of Alice Melville becomes a major focal point.

Against a mounting background of suicide bombing incidents in Europe, Roger Farris, former journalist and present CIA agent devises a plan to plant a suitable corpse, christened Harry Meeker, where Al Qaeda agents will be sure to find it. Harry is decked out with suitable pocket detritus; and he is properly cuffed to a dossier intended to convince higher ups in the terror pecking order that they have been compromised in the worst possible way. The major target is the elusive Suleiman the Magnificent, a less than humble operating ID for Al Qaeda's principal bombing strategist.

There are plot distractions that demand a fair bit of suspension of disbelief, as when Farris' boss, Hoffman, yanks him back to D.C. from his Jordanian posting, a bit more than seems plausible. This observation particularly applies once the reader has met, and begun to appreciate, the brilliance and guile of Hani Salaam, chief of Jordanian intelligence.

Here I file a complaint that makes me a nitpicker: Hani Salaam is such a meticulous individual that I would have expected a writer to have afforded him more grammatical respect crafting his dialogue. Salaam is such a captivating character that he deserves it.

For insights into spy games, Predator surveillance craft, and a few brilliant instances of double-triple-quadruple cross, "Body of Lies" deserves a reading. Hoffman's computer geek crew, Hani Salaam and Ajit Singh will hold your attention. The rest is a matter of patient forebearance.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Cardboard characters on a cardboard sea 28 juin 2007
Par Noirist - Publié sur
Unfortunately I did not find this novel as compelling as my fellow reviewers. The prose was mechanical and the plot formulaic. Worst of all were the cardboard characters that Mr. Ignatius moved around the cut-out diorama of his book. Quickly I lost interest and ultimately I had to put it down. I found Robert Baer's "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism" much better written and much more compelling.
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