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The Cairo Affair
 
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The Cairo Affair [Format Kindle]

Olen Steinhauer

Prix éditeur - format imprimé : EUR 17,27
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Présentation de l'éditeur

Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed.

Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated.

Omar Halawi has worked in Egyptian intelligence for years, and he knows how to play the game. Foreign agents pass him occasional information, he returns the favor, and everyone's happy. But the murder of a diplomat in Hungary has ripples all the way to Cairo, and Omar must follow the fall-out wherever it leads.

American analyst Jibril Aziz knows more about Stumbler, a covert operation rejected by the CIA, than anyone. So when it appears someone else has obtained a copy of the blueprints, Jibril alone knows the danger it represents.

As these players converge in Cairo in The Cairo Affair, Olen Steinhauer's masterful manipulations slowly unveil a portrait of a marriage, a jigsaw puzzle of loyalty and betrayal, against a dangerous world of political games where allegiances are never clear and outcomes are never guaranteed.



Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1054 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 417 pages
  • Editeur : Minotaur Books (18 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00ERQA2K6
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  358 commentaires
69 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Qisas - a settling of accounts - at the end of a desert road 6 février 2014
Par Joseph Haschka - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As has been mentioned by at least one other reviewer, THE CAIRO AFFAIR by Olen Steinhauer is reminiscent of the espionage novels by John le Carré and Len Deighton, which focus more on the nuts and bolts of the spy game rather than dramatic action. This isn't a thriller, but, as a complex story with a beginning, middle, and end involving multiple, realistic characters and questions to be answered, it's commendably satisfying. Thus, THE CAIRO AFFAIR separates itself from another spy procedural I recently read, Dynamite Fishermen, which incorporated no mystery or conflict between antagonists worth mentioning and was, I think, much the inferior book for those reasons.

THE CAIRO AFFAIR also resembles the novels by Gerald Seymour in that there's no clear winner among the players, none of whom might be considered heroes or villains in the usual sense constructed in popular fiction, and whatever victory is achieved is perhaps Pyrrhic in nature.

Olen Steinhauer's perspective in his espionage novels that I've read to date is relatively unique for an American writer. From his first series set in Eastern Europe, I thought he was a European national, but later learned that he was raised in Virginia but lived for a while in Budapest. This apparently gives him a worldview that frees him from a de rigueur focus on the U.S. or British spy agencies in his plots. True, the CIA plays a key role in THE CAIRO AFFAIR, but in the end the Egyptian intelligence service takes center stage. I appreciate that lack of provincialism.

A key component of the plot is the lead-up to the recent overthrow of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi. This caused me to pause briefly to consider the change in spy novel venues since I began reading them Back in The Day, i.e. the time of the Cold War when the chief antagonist (from a Western standpoint) was almost always the Machiavellian Soviet KGB and the battleground like as not somewhere in the ideological trenches of Europe. How times have changed! After years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wonder more than just a little if the average American thriller reader is left caring much about what happened in Libya, what's happening now in Syria, or the sectarian Muslim violence sure to escalate in a Hussein-free Iraq and in a U.S.-vacated Afghanistan; it's either weariness with the constant, deadly bickering and/or a growing isolationism. Happily, the intricacy and ingenuity of THE CAIRO AFFAIR storyline mitigated any lack of vested interest or sympathy I personally felt for the time and place.

Steinhauer is a major talent in the genre. I'll continue to read whatever he writes.
40 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An espionage novel a la Le Carre or Deighton 28 janvier 2014
Par Brian Baker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This is a stand-alone novel by Steinhauer, not part of the Milo Weaver "Tourist" series. As such, it should be judged on that basis, and you should also be aware it's not a part of that series.

As the story begins, American diplomat Emmett Kohl is brutally murdered in front of his wife Sophia as they're dining at a French restaurant in Hungary. This sets off a ripple of events that spreads through the international intelligence community as the agencies of several countries get involved in trying to find out why this act of brutality took place.

Did it have something to do with Sophia's illicit extra-marital affair with an American spook based in Cairo? Emmett's knowledge of an aborted CIA op known as "Stumbler", conceived to overthrow the tyrannical regime of Muammar Khaddafi? Was it an echo of something that Emmett and Sophia became embroiled in decades ago when, as a young newly-married couple they'd gone adventure-seeking in Yugoslavia as that country's civil war was just breaking out?

These questions, and several more, are the nexus around which the plot of this story revolves. We follow the investigation as players from several countries try to resolve them; Egyptian agents and officers, CIA operators, even Sophia herself.

It's an engaging tale, but certainly not a "thriller", if that's what you're looking for. It's more a "procedural" story, with some complex turns.

The characterizations are, for the most part, full and effective. The portrayal of the complexity of the espionage game is certainly reminiscent of Le Carre or Deighton, as I said, and Graham Greene also comes to mind.

The biggest drawback in the book is that Steinhauer does do some jumping around in time frame in order to tell parallel stories of how events unfold, and sometimes the time jumps aren't portrayed clearly, leading to some confusion (at least for me) at times.

It's a somewhat leisurely tale told well.

Four stars.
41 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A Tale of Betrayal 13 février 2014
Par JoeV - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The Cairo Affair is a fictionalized behind the scenes look at the machinations of the recent Arab Spring; the story told through a wide and varied set of characters, many of them members of the international "intelligence" community - read spies. Unlike the author's previous books the sense/description of place - including sights, sounds and smells - is mixed. Less so is character development - many of the secondary and tertiary players here blending together, (begging the question of why so many.) And the narrative shifts repeatedly between these characters, sliding back and forth in time and place, which may cause confusion. This reader found it more as a "gimmick" or even a crutch, prolonging the story by simply reliving scene after scene through a different POV.

The constant comparison here is with LeCarre, which I believe is to mean "cerebral", and to give credit where credit is due, this isn't a "mindless romp", (and to lend further credence to the comparison, an "amateur" dives into the murky depths of the espionage world after a harrowing event.) But the one sharp constant note here and the driving force behind the plot of The Cairo Affair is betrayal - lots and lots of betrayal. (This "friend or foe" is a prevalent theme in the Steinhauer books I have read, with characters/protagonists constantly looking over their shoulders.)

So unfortunately the end result is not only a muddled, but a very predictable and repetitive story-line. The steam long gone by the book's disappointing fizzle of a conclusion, and proof positive of Occam's razor.
18 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 THE CONCATENATING EFFECTS OF BETRAYAL 2 février 2014
Par David Keymer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
In 2011, two days after the uprising in Libya against the regime of Muammar Ghadafi, CIA analyst Jibril Aziz learns that five influential Libyan exiles, have disappeared -- kidnapped –from London, Brussels, Paris and New York. He goes to his supervisor and says, “They’re doing it.” The wheels of fate start grinding and over the course of this book, most of the unfortunates who find themselves caught in its gears are chewed up and spit out, if still alive, the worse for wear. What’s “it”? Stumbler, a secret plan, devised two years before to use men like the ones who have just vanished to lead the revolt against the Libyan dictator, but under the thumbs of America. The plan was supposed to have been dropped but here it is again. Is the CIA behind it?

Aziz heads back into the field to talk to his contacts in Libya. En route, he stops off in Hungary to talk to an old contact, Emmett Kohl, who is posted now to the U.S. consul’s office in Budapest but used to be in Cairo. Afterwards, Emmett and his wife Sophie meet for dinner. The dinner turns sour –Emmett knows she was unfaithful in Cairo. But before their dispute can be resolved, a stranger –East European, prison tattoos up and down his arms—shows up at their table and shoots Emmett –chest, face—he’s dead.

Thus starts a complicated novel –a novel of one surprise after another—told by master spy novelist Olen Steinhauer. In this book, everyone lies to everyone else, or at least conceals necessary truths. (Sophie confronts her old lover in Cairo and he apologizes to her for concealing facts. “I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. But I’m telling you now: I won’t do it again.” The narrator’s comments? “That, perhaps, was the biggest lie.”)

The cumulative effect of all this deceit –there’s a fair amount of violence too- is jolting, but it’s also absolutely engrossing. Steinhauer is a master at conveying mood in a phrase, he’s good at rendering character and he handles the most complicated narratives with absolute control. As complicated as the plot of this book is at points, and it’s quite complicated, it never spins out of hand and the reader’s interest in what is happening never flags. Once you start the book, you will not want to put it down.

The narrative stretches from the early 1990s and a disintegrating, increasingly violent Yugoslavia, rent by bad memories and ethnic hatreds, to 2011 and the short-lived hope of the Arab Spring. But this isn’t a book about hopes. One character, a contract soldier hired by the U.S. to do its heavy work in Egypt, muses: “There could be no new world … because the people who filled it would be the same ones as yesterday.” He’s right. The world that’s described here has little room for idealism –and most hopes die as soon as they are birthed.

If I were to try to summarize its theme in a phrase it would be this: it’s a novel about the concatenating effects of betrayal across a span of twenty years. And boy, is it good!
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Still a page turner, yet I liked his past books more 5 mars 2014
Par Kare Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As an avid fan of the fleshed out characters, riveting plots in Steinhauer's past books (have read all but one) I thoroughly enjoy learning about countries, history and people via his tales. This back and forth in time plot and somehow less multi-dimensional characters made this book less engrossing for me. Plus I could not feel any empathy or interest in the main characters. Am sure I am in the minority and look forward to reading his next book, nonetheless
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