The Faithful Spy is divided into two parts, “The Homecoming King” which is absolutely brilliant and “The Believers” which is very good, but not as good as the first part. The “ticking bomb” scenario at the end is a bit stale, something most action novels have, but it is very well written.
In Part One the reader gets a deeper understanding of Islamist fanatics, even though this is a novel it seemed to me that the author did his research and managed to present it in an informative, interesting way which will lead one to better understand the world’s headlines. The protagonist’s return to America, after absences of a decade living with deeply devout Muslims, is an amazing analysis of a man between two worlds who is trying, unsuccessfully, to merge them both together. He is seeing his beloved country, its decadence and decay, with new eyes and a fresh perspective.
Part One could have been a whole book all by itself. If you've ever left your childhood town, only to return a few decades later as a stranger, for better or worse, you will somewhat understand how John Wells sees the U.S. when he comes back. The memories, remembered through a rose-colored filter, are shattered. The absence of shame and decorum are a slap in the face to a man who has fought hard for "our way of life."
I am looking forward to reading more of Mr. Berenson’s novels. He is obviously capable of literary excellence as he proved in Part One of this novel. Maybe he had some bad advice on the second part, maybe he was in a rush or merely just succumbed to the pressures of commercial success. However, that is all conjecture on my part and certainly unfair to an author who shows great talent.
- 352 pages
- Publisher: Random House
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345478991