David Ignatius

Body of Lies Publication date : May 2, 2008

Roger Ferris is one of the CIA's agents in the war on terrorism. He has come out of Iraq with a shattered leg and a mission — to penetrate the network of a master terrorist known only as Suleiman. Ferris's plan is inspired by a masterpiece of British intelligence during World War II: he invents an imaginary CIA officer who appears to have recruited an agent within the enemy's ranks.

This scheme binds Ferris in a web of lies, masquerades, reversals, doubles and legends. When it all begins to unravel, Ferris's only hope is the urbane head of Jordan's intelligence service. But can Ferris trust him? Who is deceiving whom? Who is pulling the strings?

A master of deception in the John le Carré tradition, Ignatius gives us the desperate psychology of Graham Greene, the perversity of Eric Ambler, the implacable plots of Robert Littel, and the energy of American films. He has invented the new spy thriller in the age of al-Qaeda.

The film adaptation, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Carice van Houten, is scheduled to be released in France on October 22 2008.

The espionage novel was at its height during the Cold War. Faced with globalisation, the threat of terrorism, and secret networks, we can expect it to make a comeback.

David Ignatius, a columnist for the Washington Post and the author of several highly praised thrillers, covered the Middle East and the CIA for many years as a reporter and correspondent. He is the author of SIRO (Nom de code SIRO), The Bank of Fear (La Banque de la peur) and The Sun King (Le Magnat).