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The Secret Soldier (John Wells #5)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,643 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
In Saudi Arabia, a series of terrorist attacks has put the Kingdom on edge. King Abdullah is losing his hold, and his own secret police cannot be trusted. With nowhere to turn, the king asks for ex-CIA agent John Wells's help.

Reluctantly, and with the secret blessing of his former CIA boss, Wells begins to unravel the conspiracy, and realizes that there is more than one co
ebook, 416 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Jove Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Daniel Audet
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished Alex's book yesterday, I was sorry it ended. As a writer myself I enjoyed this book very much for writerly reasons and, as a fan of the genre Alex is re-defining, it will be one of the "books of the year" for 2011. Alex took some chances most safer writers still won't take with certain issues and his fearlessness in character portrayal is inspiring, giving a sincere depth to the story. Sub-plots are seamless and barely detectable, simmering close to the surface all the way to the last ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent espionage thriller from the ex New York Times reporter Alex Berenson. His hero John Wells is out of the CIA and on his own living in Vermont, but he keeps his toe in the spy business. Wells is not all seeing all doing killer who can vanquish 5 foes in an instant, but he is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the New World Order that we live in.

So when a friend comes to him about a spy who has strayed off the reservation and betrayed his country, Wells is all to willing to journey
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A review by The Providence Journal Bulletin on the dust jacket of this book, suggests that Berenson's earlier novel, "The Silent Man" quote, 'elevated him to the rarefied league of Vince Flynn', unquote. This preposterous statement only goes to highlight the problem of newspaper 'journalists' writing book reviews. Don't get me wrong, I am not being critical of Vince Flynn as a writer. I have read most of his work & he can be a very entertaining writer of action thrillers. His hero, Mitch Rap ...more
Despite George Guidall's always brilliant narration and the general timeliness of the story - the old king in Saudi Arabia wants to change the succession rules so that his own son sits on the throne upon his death which causes major consternation among the king's cousins - I never connected with the story. Former CIA agent John Wells is brought into the picture by the King himself who wants Wells to find proof that it is the King's cousin who is behind the spate of recent terrorist attacks aroun ...more
Rob Smith
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
I’m against the tide of the majority of reviews praising this volume of John Wells fictitious life. Maybe it’s timing that affected my experience reading the book. I also wonder if it’s that I accidently bypassed the volume before this, The Midnight House, that has gotten poor reviews. Whatever the case, I found this book far over written. It’s great when an author has a lot of background for a novel, but that author doesn’t have to put it all in one volume. To me, the book dragged horribly with ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
This series continues to be among my current favorites. It is always fun to read Berenson, who seems to do a lot of real research on the middle east and its politics. Reading this stuff not only enlightens me on spycraft, but the author always provides some real background and there is a really interesting section (about six or seven pages) in which the author educates the reader in regards to the history of Saudai Arabia and its political structure. The action happens at breakneck speed and the ...more
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best thriller series I've ever come across. The protagonist, John Wells, is one of the best characters to come along in a long time. He is a former CIA agent, who was able to penetrate Al Queda in Afghanistan, by among other things, converting to Islam. After his cover was blown, he left the CIA and has gone on his own. In this chapter of the series, John Wells is hired by the King of Saudi Arabia to help determine who is behind a series of terrorist attacks in the kingdom tha ...more
Linda Munro
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally found this author and the John Wells, ex-CIA operative books on; they have quickly become one of my favorite series. This is the fifth book in the series, each is a stand alone book, but it is always better to read them in order.

In this novel, Exley, Wells’ former romantic partner is out of the picture, another interest has taken her place; one that seems more attune to John’s undercover work, his inability to let things go. Also, John has cut himself off from the CIA
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, thriller
I saw many similarities between John Wells, the hero of this book, and Michael Weston, the main character of one of my favorite TV shows "Burn Notice." Both are former covert operatives who crave action and try to use their unique skills to do good.

In this take of international espionage and intrigue, Wells is lured out of retirement by the opportunity to get back into the field in the Middle East and perhaps tip the balance of power a bit. The action is nonstop and the conclusion, when it comes
I won this book from the publisher's Facebook page and hadn't heard of the author before. I also wasn't aware of the fact that it is one of a series about the lead character John Wells.

It's not my usual type of read, though I love the TV series Spooks which is similar in a lot of ways. It strikes me as more of a "boys' book" than something women enjoy - and yes I do know that's stereotyping and a vast generalisation!

I found it gripping enough while I was reading it, but I found the long passages
Byron Lord
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Byron by: my wife
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book free from First Reads. This is my honest review:

Wow, what a great story. This is my first Berenson book. He is definitely my type of author. John Wells is my type of hero, a man of great character and commitment to doing the right thing. I love the action and intrigue. The story is set in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where internal plotting within the royal family has created a new terrorist organization designed to unseat King Abdulla. The King calls John Wells to find out what
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Alex Berenson does it again. If you haven't read the "John Wells" series, I highly recommend that you start now. Maybe this one hit home because of all the craziness in the region right now, or maybe it's because I have made friends with people who've spent time in Rhiyad and share their stories. Either way, this one might be my favorite of his so far.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first read of an Alex Berenson work, and I am impressed. So impressed, that I turned to pg. 1 of the Prologue last yesterday afternoon, and except for a 15-min. break to gobble down dinner, I read straight through to the end. If you enjoy fast-paced, realistic spy-thrillers set in the mondern era, you must read "The Secret Soldier."
Lewis Weinstein
Another outstanding John Wells adventure, with plot lines and details as current as recent headlines, some of those headlines occurring AFTER Berenson wrote his story. Of course some of it is impossible - or is it? - but the adrenalin flow trumps any implausibility.
Clinton Sweet
A fictitious account depicting the Saudi/US dynamic. Can always just read a factual account
In the small country of Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, and elsewhere around the Persian Gulf region, simultaneous attacks by Muslim terrorists go off like clockwork. These attacks are funded by someone within the House of Saud, for the purpose of bringing the US to war with Saudi Arabia that will lead to the final confrontation between Islam and the United States. They also want to bring down the House of Saud.

Meanwhile in another part of the world, John Wells has left the CIA after event
Stan Larson
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex Delivers another Thriller

John Wells is an easy guy to understand, except for his religion. I'm not sure how Islam fits with an American assassin, but the scenes in the Middle East put me back there with him. Fun read, if not completely realistic.
Jeanette Miller
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: berenson-alex
I could say a lot about this book but there would be to many spoilers. Let's just say it was difficult to read, but well written.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What else can I say? I enjoy the John Wells series and although some may raise an eyebrow, they give me cause to pause and consider.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Least favorite John Wells to date.
Judy Green
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick Schultheis
A good read. I like John Wells as a character. The plot was terrific and the prose solid. I wish the author would have fleshed out Gaffan as a character more completely - he is Wells's #2 but we don't know anything about him
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

There are spoilers from previous books in this review.

Well, since John quit the agency, one had to wonder where he’d be at the beginning of this book. Sharing a scuzzy hotel room with beer cans, a joint and dirty clothes strewn about in Montego Bay with another guy definitely wasn’t it. Yet after he gets a clue as to the whereabouts of Keith Robinson, the traitor who gave up government secrets and agents to the Chinese a couple of books back, Montego Bay is the place Wells turns up, th
Giovanni Gelati
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things are getting intense around here at Gelati’s Scoop. We are getting involved in much and have much more to do. Sound vague, yes but I have a few things going and can’t reveal all at this time. Next week I am going to drop in something neat, at least I hope that you like it. Anyway, we got a nice compliment from author Irene Hannon on our blogtalk show the other day. Irene was nice enough to point out that the guest we have had and will be having on the blogtalk show are some pretty serious ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
book 5 is what I happened to pick up first. Now waiting for book one to fill in the gaps - this stands alone however.
Rachel P
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I read this book in 4 days and it was a fast-paced adventure all the way! Alex Berenson is a talented special-ops thriller writer who presents well-developed characters and demonstrates a keen understanding of the situations and the subject matter they encounter.

The Secret Soldier is one in a series of novels starring ex-CIA agent John Wells—who has all the guts and glory of John McClane, the cool intellect of James Bond, and the nine lives of Jack Bauer. And to the credit of the author, he pro
Sherry H
I won an ARC copy of this book on a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway, and I feel guilty about it. I would have bought this book had I not won it. I have bought and enjoyed a couple of others in this John Wells series. So this wasn't a test-drive of a new author for me, but a small windfall; a gift. I knew I'd like it. And it arrived on my birthday, thankyouverymuch. But I digress.

In this installment, Alex Berenson's protagonist, John Wells, is hunting down Saudi terrorists operating inside Saudi Ar
Toni Osborne
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 5, in the John Wells series

I am a huge fan of this series and with “The Secret Soldier” Mr. Berenson’s ability in storytelling shines. I really enjoy his forensic details and the picture he paints of deadly situations in highly volatile locations. This time we follow the intrepid former Special ops soldier John Wells on a mission while he tries to defuse an impending war on Arabian soil. It is believed a terrorist group that is even deadlier than Al Qaeda is at the heart of the well-orchest
Khaleel Datay
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book featuring Berenson's John Well's character. Wells, former CIA and Ranger, is approached by the ailing Saudi King to help him secure a succession battle with his brother Prince Saeed. King Abdullah wishes to cede power to his son while his brother feels its his birthright to be king. The book starts with a terrorist attack in Bahrain on a nightclub frequented by Westerners. We are introduced to Jihadis who feel aggrieved with the Saudi monarchy repressive rule. Wells ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Berenson is an author new to me. The Secret Soldier is the 5th book in Berenson's successful John Wells series.

In The Secret Soldier, Wells has left the CIA and is now working freelance. When he receives a call about a prospective employer willing to pay big bucks for his expertise, he accepts. The employer just happens to be the King of Saudi Arabia. The King's family is conspiring against him and colluding with terrorists. Overthrowing the King is not enough, they also want war with the
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John Wells (1 - 10 of 12 books)
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