The Cairo Affair
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The Cairo Affair

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  881 ratings  ·  180 reviews
SophieKohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after sheconfesses to her husband, amid-level diplomatat 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 CIAagent,has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat whenhehears the voice of the only woman he ever...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Darwin8u
I love great genre fiction. Steinhauer represents some of the very best of modern espionage literature. While he hasn't yet reached the level of le Carré, he is now firmly on the top shelf of literary spy fiction with peers like le Carré, Littell, Furst, etc.

The Cairo Affair is an important bookmark in espionage fiction. In this 21st Century, post 9-11world, Steinhauer (along with le Carré) is the goto fiction writer to understand the nuances of private-contract espionage, post-Soviet global re...more
Jennifer Boyce
http://bookreviewsbyme2.wordpress.com...

I honestly didn't like this book. While it seemed like a book I would enjoy, a thriller based on serious world issues, I found myself constantly confused and bored with the story.

The story begins with a bang (literally) as Sophie, while sitting in a restaurant, confesses to her husband about the affair she had while in Cairo. The husband is then shot while still in the restaurant almost directly after the admission. Now- the tumultuous writing suited this...more
Cynthia
I was disappointed with “Cairo Affair” though it had lots of great parts it also lagged in many sections. The topic and setting is something that appeals to me…undercover intelligence in exotic settings. Most of the action as you can tell from the title takes place in Cairo but those events have a profound impact on the politics mostly of the Baltic area and have their roots in the past both the Baltic’s and in the past of a young married couple. Emmett and Sophie are in love and have been for t...more
Mel
'Nothing is ever what it seems' -- hold onto that mantra; it will serve you well as a reminder while traveling through the pages of this globe spinning political conspiracy that will have you feeling like you are navigating in the modern political panorama through a house of distorted mirrors. A smart, complex story of espionage that relies not on the thriller aspects, but rather on the knowledge of what we don't know, the intricacies of a tangled web of spy vs. spy.

The novel spans 20 tumultuous...more
Lilisa
With current global affairs as its backdrop, the book delves into the intrigues of the world of spies and intelligence and moves from Cairo to Budapest and back to Cairo with flashbacks to 20 years ago when Sophie Kohl and her then boyfriend Emmett traveled in Europe during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Now married to Emmett who is a diplomat in the U.S. embassy stationed in Budapest, Sophie is confronted by Emmett about her clandestine affair when they were based in Cairo. Minutes later Emmett is...more
Adrianne
As a teen and into my twenties, I devoured novels of the cold war, espionage, world tensions...but as the cold war receded, so did the fascination with the underworld spies, both by readers and writers. The Cairo Affair drops you right in the middle of modern day tensions; post-Arab Spring Egypt, conflict in the Balkans, America's role in world power, as well as the motivations, dreams, and flaws of all the key characters in this modern day espionage novel.
Col
Apr 23, 2014 Col rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014, s
Synopsis/blurb…..

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 Egypti...more
Tracyk
I have been a fan of espionage fiction for a long time, and Olen Steinhauer is one of my favorite authors in this genre.

The Cairo Affair starts during the activities of the Arab Spring, in February 2011. Sophie Kohl's husband Emmett is currently working at the American embassy in Hungary, but his previous assignment was in Cairo. Both of them have friends still in Cairo, and when Emmett is killed, Sophie seeks the reasons for his death there. Along her journey to discover the truth, we visit th...more
Rikki
REVIEW THE CAIRO AFFAIR

Sophie Kohl, wife of Emmett, a diplomat at the American Embassy in Budapest, is horrified to see her husband shot in front of her. She flees to Cairo to her ex-lover, Stan Bertolli, a CIA agent and becomes embroiled in a world of espionage and double dealing.
Jibril Aziz, a US analyst in possession of a list of names of Libyans willing to start an uprising, has met with Emmett shortly before his death. He is desperate the list does not fall into the wrong hands. There is a...more
Robert Intriago
An interesting book as it deals in part with the Arab Spring. This stand alone book is okay but not as good as his Milo Weaver series. The story seem disjointed and the flashbacks to Yugoslavia informative but I did not think relevant to the story. Mr. Steinhauer provides a lot of information as to the situation in Egypt and Libya during their revolt against the despot ruling at that time. He also gives you some information as to the reason for separation of the old Republic of Yugoslavia in 199...more
Rosa
The Cairo Affair is a story about betrayal, a woman's desire to live an "authentic" life, and choosing to ignore and minimize facts in order to live and survive. I have not read much in terms of "espionage fiction," but I think this was a good start.

Sofie Kohl is the wife of a US diplomat who witnesses the murder of her husband only minutes after he confronts her about her affair. Early on we learn Sophie has many secrets, some of which her husband was a part of, and she believes his murder migh...more
Ray
As a reader of more non-fiction than fiction, I found this book enjoyable by virtue of it's links to current events in the Middle East. Steinhauer uses the Arab Spring in North Africa and the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya as entry points for the novel. Some Mid-East spy novels push the limits of what is believable, with super-hero CIA agents and never ending dangerous situations. But I found "The Cairo Affair" to be less a tension filled action story and more about several of the individuals, on...more
John Brumbaugh
I have read Steinhauer's The Tourist and really liked it. For some reason, I never got around to the sequel, but after reading this one I think I will get back to that. This book reminded me just how good Steinhauer is at pacing a story and weaving in a lot of complex elements. My favorite part of this book was how the different book sections ended up telling me this story from the perspective of each key player. The most interesting element in this was you would have a reveal from one character...more
Betty
Sophie Kohl, the wife of an American diplomat in Hungary is traumatized when her husband is killed sitting across from her in a Budapest restaurant. Especially since, he had just told her that he knew about her illicit affair with a fellow diplomat while stationed in Cairo.

For the sake of her own conscience, she is determined to discover her husband’s killer and the reason behind his premature death. Following the trail back to Egypt and further beyond to their honeymoon in eastern Europe, twen...more
Nadine
Emmett and Sophie Kohl have been together 20 years, since they met at Harvard, and have had a life filled with travel and new experiences. He is a diplomat with the State Department, and she's his plus one for embassy events. On the surface, they are a perfect couple. Then Emmett is shot in front of his wife in a restaurant in Budapest. The local authorities as well as the Americans look for a reason, but Sophie believes she knows. She cannot reveal why.

The book is told from a variety of POVs. W...more
Kevin
I am a huge Steinhauer fan so no surprise I liked his latest espionage thriller. What I really like about this one was the way he weaved in the different and changing perspectives of the various characters. It really highlighted how what we know and when we know it changes what we think and how we interact with people. As is drive home toward the end, we like to think we operate with machine logic (cold, calculating, factual, etc.) but we really operate with human logic (emotional, contingent, u...more
Joe V
A Tale of Betrayal

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. As in the author’s previous books the sense/description of place – including sights, sounds and smells - is excellent. Less so is character development – many of the secondary and tertiary players here blending together, (begging the...more
Adam Shields
Short Review: I have read Steinhauer's previous Tourist Trilogy and really enjoyed them. I think Steinhauer is one of the better spy novelists writing today. He is more than John le Carré variety than the Ian Fleming variety. This book is concerned with a plan to overthrow Gaddafi (it is set in 2011 before the change of government). An American CIA analyst prepared the plan, but it was rejected 3 years earlier. But now someone seems to be putting the plan into effect. Sophie Kohl, the wife of an...more
Chaitra
Eh. It was ok. I could see the twists coming from a mile away, and the book had it's own structure to blame for that. The story is oft-repeated from the perspective of several different characters. While this is interesting in that the motives change even if the basic facts don't, but it's extremely repetitive. I think the explanation of the MacGuffin, Stumbler, and its relevance to the plot at hand must have been explained at least ten times to various characters. This is boring, and it only se...more
Zeb Kantrowitz
This is the eighth book that I have read by Olen Steinhauer, and I must say that his writing and characterization gets better with every book. Even the title can be taken three or four different ways. The book has a slightly different format than the standard mystery/thriller, as it’s told from the perspective of various characters with different slants on what they see.

The anchor of the story is a CIA proposal called ‘Stumbler’ that was a scenarios as to how the US could help some Libyan dissi...more
Shilpa
When a New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer comes out with a new book, it’s bound to get a lot of attention. This highly touted author of critically acclaimed Milo Weaver trilogy, is known to bring an intriguing plotline packed with political and personal betrayals. It’s an espionage novel at its best. Who can forget the first in the series: The Tourist, now a major motion picture starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

“Not since John le Carré has a writer so vividly evoked the mu...more
Linda
Was notified this morning (Nov 21) that I have won the First Reads giveaway and am now awaiting its arrival . Thanks First Reads Giveaway! My copy arrived today (Jan 9) thanks to Cassie's extra help at the publisher's. Let the reading now begin....

This thriller opens innocuously with a CIA researcher collecting pieces of data and assembling them to form what he feels is directly related to unrest in Libya and a plan called Stumbler which supposedly was scrapped. After only a few pages, the scene...more
Vicki Elia
Audiobook Review
4 1/2 Stars

From first to last word, Steinhauer consumes the reader with a tale of intrigue, infidelity, lies and liars, spies and contemporary history. Sophie Kohl, the wife of a diplomat who is murdered in front of her, is at the core of the tornado. As my first Olen Steinhauer read, I thought through initial chapters that this was going to be some sappy love & betrayal story. But after the character building and scene setting, the book moves swiftly into action & intrig...more
Jay Williams
A gripping thriller with surprises at every turn of a page. The narration follows different characters through different periods of time to allow readers to assemble the pieces of the puzzle in their minds. As the drama unfolds the whole world of post cold-war espionage is laid bare, with deception, betrayal and death in every corner. The characters are well-developed and believable. They resonate with the reader and create a high level of emotional involvement. The issues are all resolved by th...more
Quentin Feduchin
Steinhauer here is really relying on the laurels he gained from his earlier books. If you wanted to continue your enjoyment from his earlier novels about Milo Weaver, you're in for a real disappointment. It's nothing like them.

Steinhauer manages to drag this out for as long as possible. It is over-stretched. By no means could you call this book "well edited", or a fine piece, written in lean paragraphs leading to chapter endings "dripping with intrigue"..

Nothing like that. There was a hint of it...more
Shonna Froebel
This fast-moving thriller jumps around to different narrators in the course of the story, often going over the same ground from a different point of view. At the centre of the story is Sophie Kohl, the wife of an American diplomat currently stationed in Budapest. The couple hasn't been in Hungary long, with Emmett's previous posting being Cairo. As the story begins in 2011, Emmett and Sophie are out for dinner, with Emmett accusing Sophie of infidelity during their time in Cairo just before a gu...more
Jill Manske
Not an easy book to read, but it's certainly full of intrigue and suspense. Steinhauer does a fantastic job of explaining Middle East politics and factions in a way that makes sense and helps readers understand why there is so much continual strife and war in the area. He uses real people and real events, making the story come alive and feel incredibly current - like watching it on CNN. No one is who they appear to be, everyone lies and nothing is as it seems to be. Reading the book is like putt...more
Carl
Disclosure: Won this from Goodreads giveaway.

More like 3.5 stars.

Steinhauer has often been compared to LeCarre, and IMO (based on reading Steinhauer's Cold War era Eastern European series, and the first of the Tourist series) that’s apt, as he focuses more on the intellectual puzzles of spycraft, as well as the psychologic aspects, with all of the mental game-playing and downright paranoia that’s involved. His works aren’t techno-thrillers, and feel much more realistic than that sub-genre.
And,...more
Tony Nielsen
The Cairo Affair is an intriguing spy story reminiscent of John Le Carre at his best, and that's high praise indeed, but well earned nonetheless. Sophie Kohl and her husband and diplomat Emmett are based at the American embassy in Hungary. She's just plucked up the courage to tell him about the affair she had at the previous posting in Cairo. Moments later a stranger walks into the restaurant they're lunching at and shoots Emmett dead. Instead of heading back to family in Boston with her husband...more
Beth
Picked this because I had been to Cairo and will be going to Budapest. The book is filled with the ins and outs of "Intelligence". Much of the story takes place during the 20 year career and marriage of Emmett Kohl- mid level American diplomat, and the intrigue of his wife before he is murdered. It also includes the weeks afterward while she tries to find out who killed Emmett. The plot goes back and forth between current affairs including Egypt and Libya upstarts and how his wife betrayed the U...more
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How did Emmett find out about Sophie's affair? 2 8 May 08, 2014 12:31PM  
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Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he's lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy. He also spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and dau...more
More about Olen Steinhauer...
The Tourist (The Tourist, #1) The Nearest Exit (The Tourist, #2) An American Spy (The Tourist, #3) The Bridge of Sighs The Confession

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“God in His infinite wisdom Did not make me very wise— So when my actions are stupid They hardly take God by surprise” 1 likes
“Later, once they had returned to Boston and gained some perspective, she would see that this was part and parcel of extremist thought the world over: the heaping on of selective trivia that only a computer could fact-check in real time, the raw accumulation of unverifiable anecdote that could create a new reality.” 0 likes
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