David Ignatius

Exfiltration The Increment Publication date : June 3, 2010

From Teheran, an Iranian scientist who calls himself “Dr Ali” sends an encrypted message to the CIA. He claims he has information about scientific research that will result in the development of an Iranian bomb. It falls on the CIA's Harry Pappas to decide if Dr Ali is to be trusted. Little by little, Dr Ali sends more information to the agency, then panics. He is being watched and followed. In the meantime, Pappas is under intense pressure from the White House to deliver information quickly that can serve as a pretext to attack Iran. But to make sure that Dr Ali's information is to be trusted, and to protect his source, Pappas needs to proceed slowly and cautiously — the basics of good intelligence work. Are the mistakes that led to the Iraqi disaster about to be replayed? What can be done to save Dr Ali and to get hold of the information that may avert a useless war?

Pappas' great British friend offers a solution: to get his agent out Pappas will turn to a secret British spy team known as “The Increment”, whose operatives belong to Britain's special forces. Capable of blending into any group anywhere, they have been granted the modern version of 007's “license to kill”.

Will the operation succeed? Who in Iran is after Dr Ali? And why are the British being so generous to their American friend?

• After tackling terrorism in his previous novel, David Ignatius continues to reinvent the contemporary spy thriller in the context of today's challenges.

• A suspense-filled plot that focuses alternatively on ground operatives, with their intelligence-gathering activities, and on the political discussions and decisions that shape, but also thwart, their actions.

• Packed with action, suspense and cruelty, this brilliant spy thriller will delight readers of Robert Littell's The Company: A Novel of the CIA as well as filmgoers who enjoyed Robert De Niro's film Reasons of State.

• The French translation of Body of Lies was published by Editions Odile Jacob as Mensonges d'Etat (2007, paperback 2008).

David Ignatius is the author of the best-selling Body of Lies (a film adaptation, with the same title, was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Leonardo DiCaprio). Ignatius is a columnist for the Washington Post and has covered the Middle East and the CIA for many years as a reporter and correspondent.