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Body of Lies

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,567 ratings  ·  170 reviews
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, literally the corpse of an imaginary CIA officer who appears to have accomplished the impossibl ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2007)
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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
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
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
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
i started this expecting it to be overwrought with jargon and terminology that would render it impossible to follow if you're not 1000% well versed in every detail of current events. luckily that wasn't the case and i found it very easy to follow, mostly thanks to it being very well paced. however i found a lot of the characterizations to be pretty shallow and i was not as invested in the characters or their relationships as i may have been had that been different, so the lack of believability i ...more
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
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
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
I enjoy reading David Ignatius' columns for the Washington Post, so when I spotted this in a used book store last summer in Maine thought it was worth checking out. Set in 2007, it involves a CIA officer, wounded in Iraq and serving in Jordan, who comes up with a way to lure out an Al Qaida mastermind who is responsible for several car bombings in Europe. Along the way he has marital and romance complications, and seriously doubts some of what he is doing. It was exciting and I enjoyed some of t ...more
Haider Hussain
An intricately woven scheme to deceive a deadly terrorist and lure him to come out in the open. But who is actually being outwitted? Who is running who? Is tech-intelligence greater than human espionage?

David Ignatius strikes another home run with this one!
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
Yay! An Ignatius book with a happy ending! I thought this one was terrific. Great plot. Thought I had guessed what was going to happen, only to be surprised by the turn of events.

When it comes to spy novels, David Ignatius is one of the best. His knowledge of his subject makes his stories ring true, including this one involving an attempt to draw out an Al Khaida mastermind who is wreaking havoc. As with most Ignatius novels, this one has unexpected twists and turns leaving a reader fully satisfied at journey's end.

This really deserves a 3 1/2 star rating, but have not mastered the 1/2/ star designation.
Alan Brehm
I saw the recent movie, and in comparison, the story in the book works much better. I like the way Ignatius spins the web of his spy novels, with generous helpings of the background knowledge of the Middle East from his time as a correspondent there, along with interesting plot twists. Even though I saw the movie, the story in the book is different enough that the development was surprising at times. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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).
A complex twisting mystery about a CIA officer in the Middle East; he tries to turn others and undercuts the director of intelligence in the host country and falls in love with an American who is there on an aid mission. And then he and the US associate director of the CIA work out a secret mission, not approved by anyone and then the woman he loves is kidnapped and his own wife back in the U.S. betrays him. Got all that? This my first book by the author and will not be my last. He is a wordsmit ...more
Dick Gullickson
You can tell that David Ignatius is an editorial writer for the Washington Post by his skillful weaving of international events and terrorist threats into his very plausible and fast moving stories. This excellent account of CIA counter-terrorist operations against Al Qaeda in Jordan has the ring of truth from a man who knows. Roger Ferris is an Arabic speaking new CIA operative and Iraq veteran. He learns that the Jordanian intelligence service understands counter terrorism measures in the Midd ...more
Not sure why authors always feel the need to include lewd material. It never adds anything to the book. If not for that it would have gotten 4 stars.
Destined to be a spy novel classic. You should also read Ignatius' 'Bloodmoney.'
I know you should never judge a book by the cover, but getting something that has "Now a major film starring Leonardo Di Caprio" on the front never strikes me as a good start. Especially after seeing the trailer and not being terribly impressed. Nevertheless, someone must have thought enough of the book to buy the film rights, so I suppose it can't be all bad.

Terrorists are busily exploding bombs in major European cities. The CIA has an idea that the mastermind behind the terrorist cell doing th
Awesome! But there are some things that are against my religion
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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...
The Director: A Novel Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage Agents of Innocence The Increment A Firing Offense: A Novel

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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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