Body of Lies
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Body of Lies

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,112 ratings  ·  145 reviews
"Clever [and] well-paced, Body of Lies is hard to put down." — John Miller, Wall Street Journal

CIA soldier Roger Ferris has come out of Iraq with a shattered leg and an intense 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 prepares a body of lies,...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2007)
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Dante
Nov 06, 2008 Dante rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: No one at all
There's nothing like an intelligent, well thought out spy novel with believable characters and credible situations. If that's your kind of novel, KEEP LOOKING!

This was horrible! Indigestible and inexcusable.

It's inexcusable when an author has supposedly smart people do stupid things. But it gets even worse here. Suspicious people accept information without question. Secretive people talk to other people about their secrets. A hardened terrorist yields to the pressure of being bored in prison to...more
Steven
Well-paced, but as with almost all such stories, it suffers from being a bit juvenile in its characterizations (over-simplifying people and their motives) and a bit formulaic in its construction. However, based on the reporter's background, it is definitely well-researched and quite a plausible plot. The technical (writing and spycraft) aspects of the novel are its strongest cards, much like the better Tom Clancy books (pre-Op Center drivel). I had already seen the film before picking up the boo...more
Toni Osborne
This novel is one well crafted post 9/11 spy thriller with a highly elaborate plot. The story starts when CIA agent Roger Ferris is sent on a mission to flush out a terrorist known as Suleiman. In order to forestall further Al-Qaeda attacks he develops an intricate scheme to pit the terrorists against each other by sowing seeds of suspicion that their leaders are collaborating with the Americans. Unable to succeed alone, he requires the full support of his boss Ed Hoffman and with the help of Ha...more
Bea
The title of this book refers to a corpse that is dressed and made to appear to be an imaginary CIA officer with all the background paperwork to support that fiction. This corpse is depositied in a foreign country to sell the fiction to terrorist organization that this CIA officer hs penetrated their organization. A trojan horse scenario.

Roger Ferris is a CIA soldier who creates this plot to try to penetrate Suleiman's organization. The problem is no one knows Suleiman. Roger works with George S...more
Dave
The movie was pretty good - one of the best spy films I've seen lately. The book was better in some ways and worse in others for me. Ignatius definitely knows his stuff, and you have no trouble visualizing the places he's talking about - he clearly knows them well. Likewise, he seems to have a decent hold on the modern business of espionag e. All that stuff is good, but the love story in the book is just not compelling for me - the girl, Alice, is a little too plainly allegorical for the "just-s...more
Luckngrace
I learned sooo much from this book. It helped me understand more about the thoughts and principles of Arab Muslims. I learned that America shoots herself in the foot in Arabia because we deal as arrogant interlopers. Yes, we've got the power, the money and the weapons, but it's their home.

Body of Lies was full of adventure and spy story sizzle. It would make a great movie (starring Bruce Willis, if I got to choose). There were surprises at every turn and took me on a thrilling ride all the way t...more
John Treanor
Excellent book. Ignatius really knows his stuff. Paints the CIA in a seemingly more realistic light, as a bureaucratic nightmare filled with careerist losers, much closer to how it's depicted in the other book that I'm currently reading (A Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA). I've seen the movie twice, and enjoyed it, but the book was better (of course).
Patrick
Destined to be a spy novel classic. You should also read Ignatius' 'Bloodmoney.'
Tyler
Awesome! But there are some things that are against my religion
Isi
Watched the movie and found it ok, and I tend to enjoy Ignatius's column, so I gave it a try. Have to say i was a bit disappointed - the liberal, Bush-loathing politics (that I agree with) are just put on too thick, and the book can never quite decide whether it wants to be a page-turner or a liberal manifesto on US politics in the Middle East. I also found it questionable in an overtly political novel to lionize the fictional head of the Jordanian intelligence service as a suave, non-violent su...more
Christopher
An interesting book that is, unfortunately, marred by a poor beginning and a somewhat unsatisfying ending. Ignatius seems to know enough about the intelligence community to write a convincing novel about its operations, but a lot of things detract from this novel. For starters, the beginning has a very weird structure to it in that it doesn't really start at the beginning. In fact, the first 100 pages are the worst part of the book as it is incredibly boring. But it picks up once Farris, the mai...more
Kelly
Reading as a promise to Bert who REALLY wants me to see this movie with him when it comes out in the next few months. Stars George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio (hell, who wouldn't want to see THAT movie?!). This is not my typical genre and 85 pages in I remain skeptical about liking it.

Post Read: OK, so the movie stars Russell Crowe, not George Clooney. Darn.

Anyway, I can see how this book can be translated into a really good and thrilling movie. In fact, it almost seems as if it was written t...more
Jed
There are several issues with this book that detracted from my enjoyment. The first is that the story felt rushed. The initial premise was quite compelling (CIA agent creates and carries out daring plan to ensnare an elusive terrorist before more violence erupts!), but the development of the story and characters was lacking. There was little actual action in the story, and the intrigue was uninteresting.

The second issue is the over-arching liberal message of the story. To be brief, all of the w...more
Clif Hostetler
I was first attracted to this book because it involved the relationship between Jordanian Intelligence and the CIA. Since there had been a recent story in the news about several CIA agents who were killed by an operative who came from Jordanian Intelligence, I thought perhaps this novel may have predicted the actual news event. Well, this book didn’t do that, but I’ll have to admit that I was impressed with the book’s ending.

Through the first half of the book I seriously considered bailing out a...more
Lanier
Jan 02, 2010 Lanier rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Spy readers, action, Middle East, terrorist fans
Though I picked this up because the movie was fascinating, I love the ending of the book much better, yet I can understand why Hollywood might have changed it to be less threatening to the larger viewing public. It's too bad, because, while the movie works, the book's conclusion fits so much better on many more levels. I loved how Roger Ferris was portrayed in the beginning of the film, looking and acting more Islamic than in the book, which ironically would've work far better in the latter. Alt...more
Kara
I thought this was well-written. From what I read before I got this book, it made it sound as if it was going to be so terrible that I would be pulling my hair out in frustration. It wasn't that bad. The author certainly knows his way around the Middle East, specifically Jordan. It was very well researched about plots, terrorists and government officials that are off the books.

But I feel as if he could have made his characters a bit less typical. Roger Ferris was almost too goody two shoes for...more
Ari
Nov 04, 2008 Ari rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: politics junkies
Shelves: owned
he other week, as I was flying home from Chicago, I needed something
to read, so I bought a copy of "Body of Lies," which is a
political/espionage thriller set mostly in Jordan, written by David
Ignatius. He's one of the better Washington Post columnists, and not
a bad novelist.

I liked the book. David Ignatius has a good eye for character, and I think he captures something of the intelligence mindset. It has some cute ideas in it.

One of the heroes of the novel is a senior Jordanian intelligence offi...more
Sentimental Surrealist
So a couple of years ago, my mom and brother handed me this book and told me I absolutely HAD to read it, that it was like this super-awesome military thriller with a lot of social commentary about terrorism and torture and the dark inner workings of the government, and I was all "holy shit a massive expose on all those backroom deals the government is so fond of," and it turns out it was just another one of these excessively boring "page-turning" thrillers featuring with a generic "mysterious c...more
Zach
I wish I could give this book two raiting--3-4 stars for the plotting, one star for the characters--so I am compromise by giving it 2.

Ignatius crafts an interesting thriller with some pretty good plot twists and at some points near the ending you are not exactly how it is going to turn out.

However, Farris and Alice were soo uninteresting and at times one dimensional. Often both characters seem so self righteous that it even if you agreed with their politics it was distracting and became a huge...more
Jim
Mostly, I enjoyed this book, though I found some of the characters underdeveloped and their actions simplistic. Also, things resolve themselves far too quickly and neatly to my mind.

I thought that Ignatius did a decent job of capturing the attraction that the Levant has for people. He also portrayed Arabs and Arab culture sympathetically, which if one has read any Vince Flynn, comes as relief. There is a cogent critique of American foreign policy and the way we advance our interests in this boo...more
Bookmarks Magazine

David Ignatius, journalist and author of Agents of Innocence, has used his vast knowledge of Middle Eastern politics to write one of the most compelling post-9/11 spy thrillers. While creating psychologically deep characters and painting rich portraits of life in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, he narrates a fast-paced search for a terrorist. A few critics noted, however, that Ignatius bends over backwards not to stereotype his Arab characters (most are wise; few are anti-Semitic), while blatantly crit

...more
Dan Bartholomew
I had read another of this author's books (The Increment) which was excellent. So, I had great hopes for this one...but in the end it's politics got in the way for me. I enjoy this genre most when the authors stick to developing plot, characters, and give insight to culture and tradecraft. When I sense an agenda at play, they've lost me. This is one of the reasons I tend not to be interested in the likes of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Also, I had seen the movie already and couldn't get Leo Decapr...more
Andy
The best about this book is the great story. Everything is connected and you really have to stay with the story to keep up with it. I never would have guessed the solution, even on the last pages!
It's a thriller so you can't expect characters with any depth. Even though I was able to relate to the main character. Still, given the storyline it could have been a little better explained how an why Ferris changed his mindset and life. I don't quite understand how he got from his occasional doubts at...more
Greg
Overall plot is very similar to movie, with a few notable differences

- order of events is very different. The actual body of lies was a real person (a corpse) that was supposed to be a CIA agent, not just Omar Sadiki. Something about the barracks bombing was different too, in terms of order in the plot.

- Faris' relationship with Gretchen is shown first-person, not just referred to

- Faris has an affair with a local (white) aid worker, not with a middle-eastern woman. Plus he has lots of sex with...more
Katie
am on page 64 and am loving it - it is apparent that author knows what he is talking about both from a policy point and also has knowledge about how we are really fighting the war - I did not understand the power of drones until it was explained

I have now finished this book and must say my overall feeling is one of dissappointment - I consider myself to be of at least average inteligence and this book was hard to find - it is as if whole sections were missing - maybe that was the point that the...more
Krishna
If Daniel Silva leant heavily on the Israeli side in his 6th Gabriel Allon spy thriller The Messenger, then David Ignatius restores some balance to the mix in Body Of Lies, which effectively drives home the brutal reality that in order to combat terrorism in it's modern guise, lies built upon deception layered with treachery, betrayal and obfuscation are often potent weapons. And Ignatius effectively chronicles the cold reality when this "House Of Cards" comes toppling down.
A pity then, in the m...more
Ruth
If I could have given it two-and-a-half stars it might have been more accurate. It was more than "just okay" but less than "I liked it." As spy thrillers go, it had its thrilling moments, and towards the end of the book it had more unexpected layers/twists than a Russian stacking doll. However, I'm NOT a fan of the rough language and sexual sidelines in the story. I really believe the adage that any swearing is a sign of a weak mind trying to express itself. So that doesn't say a lot for the aut...more
Avinash Sagar
Having seen the movie a year before, I was pretty convinced that the book would have more to offer. A journaslist first and then a novelist is a fair indicator of the detailing he would provide on the topic, not widely covered. He has bundled up a brilliant with VERY fine details of the Middle Eastern countries and their landscape. Add the the backdrop of the CIA and their secret operatives and you get a compelling jig-saw puzzle to solve. While he does justice to the plot, and brings out his in...more
Alexandra
Romanul Un ghem de minciuni a fost adaptat pentru marele ecran şi regizat de Ridley Scott. Roger Ferris, un fost jurnalist devenit agent CIA, luptă în războiul împotriva terorismului. Abia întors din Irak, Roger primeşte misiunea de a se infiltra într-o reţea Al Qaeda, condusă de Suleiman Magnificul, unul dintre cei mai mari terorişti. Planul său de atac este inspirat de o capodoperă a serviciilor secrete britanice din timpul celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial: recrutarea unui agent din rândul du...more
Maiga Milbourne
Really suspenseful read. The lack of depth of "intelligence" agents is telling (it reads true). There are slight brushes with the idea that current world affairs could stem from history, more specifically have arisen due to HORRIBLE US foreign policy decisions. But, those brushes are VERY light. I doubt the book would have gotten such widespread attention had it taken a firmer political stance. Instead, it describes action packed events, illuminates how international intelligence communities wor...more
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David Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. His novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment, now in development for a major motion picture by Jerry Bruckheimer. He lives in Washington, DC.
More about David Ignatius...
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“Interrogate them,” said Ferris. “Send them to Gitmo. Send them to Hani. Whatever.” “Well, sure, interrogation,” said Hoffman. “That helps. But that’s not the real pop. Even if the guy we capture doesn’t say shit, the bad guys have to assume he has blabbed. So they’ll have to change their cell-phone numbers, and their Internet” 0 likes
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