Damascus Station: Unmissable New Spy Thriller From Former CIA Officer (Damascus Station, 1)

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Damascus Station: Unmissable New Spy Thriller From Former CIA Officer (Damascus Station, 1)

Damascus Station: Unmissable New Spy Thriller From Former CIA Officer (Damascus Station, 1)

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If you do nothing, you will be auto-enrolled in our premium digital monthly subscription plan and retain complete access for 65 € per month. The principal antagonists in this novel are the men and women of the CIA and the senior-most figures in Assad’s intelligence apparatus, the mukhabarat, as well as the dictator himself. But others get into the act, too, including Russian intelligence, an Israeli spy, and the jihadist rebels in Syria. The action centers on the CIA station in the basement of the US Embassy in Damascus. But the story wanders to and from Washington, DC, and to France and Italy as well.

Sam is sent to Paris, where Miriam is attempting to coerce a brave Syrian woman into returning to Syria and renouncing her criticism of the Syrian regime. Miriam must threaten harm to the woman’s family to carry out her mission, threats that cause her to despise herself. Sam’s task is to recruit Miriam as a double agent for the CIA. The task is easy to accomplish, both because Miriam hates the ruling regime and because she feels an immediate sexual attraction to Sam. The rules prohibit Sam from acting on that attraction, but rules have never stopped fictional spies from hopping into bed with assets. Sam puts his career at risk and, as is the custom in novels of this nature, falls in love with Miriam.Author David McCloskey was a Syria specialist for the CIA for six years. He knows whereof he writes in this novel about espionage in Syria. Damascus Station is filled with the acronyms and jargon that officers of the agency, like employees throughout the government, throw around so casually. Employees of the Agency are officers, never “agents.” Spies recruited within Syria are “assets,” or, rarely, agents. He describes in detail the techniques Sam uses in his two tours in Syria to avoid detection. And he introduces us to gadgets developed by the CIA’s Technical Services Division that would make James Bond’s Q salivate with envy. The book comes across as a primer on tradecraft.

But the cat and mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad’s spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Superb breathlessly gripping thrilling & truly terrifying, written in unadorned style by an CIA agent, almost real in its details of CIA espionage in Syria, savage feuds within Assad palace, intrigues of Mideast. Highly recommended' - Simon Sebag Montefiore

Featured Reviews

Damascus Station does what a spy thriller should do. It engages the imagination with tradecraft, appeals to the intellect with political intrigue, and excites the senses with action scenes. Some of the action takes place in the bedroom (or other convenient locations). More violent scenes play out in the streets and buildings of Damascus. McCloskey’s remarkably accomplished debut mixes action, a Romeo and Juliet story and previously undisclosed intelligence about Assad’s regime’– The Times Best Summer Books for 2023 The rebels are planning a spectacular last-ditch effort to turn the tide. The Mossad is getting restless. The Russians have been called in. Sam Joseph has a strategy, but since it includes withholding a lot of information from his own station chief, it is beginning to seem questionable at best. Good tradecraft is important – but what if the other side’s is better?

An astonishingly accomplished debut that masterfully mixes action, tradecraft lore, a grown-up Romeo and Juliet story and bags of untold intelligence about the conflict’– John Dugdale, The Times Best Thriller Books of 2023 For cost savings, you can change your plan at any time online in the “Settings & Account” section. If you’d like to retain your premium access and save 20%, you can opt to pay annually at the end of the trial.McCloskey’s next book is another spy novel, centered on the next stage of the U.S.-Russia spy war: “It’s not a sequel to Damascus Station , but it’s in the same universe, so some characters will reappear.” Q: Live bomb tests have been used on cadavers wheeled out on Rollerblades and suspended on IV poles. To be honest, I have no admiration for the CIA, particularly because they are always portrayed - and are here as well - as being gung ho American even to the extent of making sure that American fast food is available. McCloskey says there was a hot dog vending machine in the original headquarters building and it may still be there.

For an authentic representation of what it’s like to work in intelligence, look no further than Damascus Station. McCloskey has captured it all: the breathtaking close calls, the hand in glove of tech and ops, the heartbreaking disappointments, the thrill of a hard-won victory’– Alma Katsu, author of Red Widow and former CIA and NSA analyst It’s almost a cliché that Joseph and Haddad break one of the iron rules of espionage and fall in love. Of course, this makes it even more dangerous for her if she is compromised and greatly raises the stakes for keeping her safe. Joseph is at greater risk too. The Agency would clamp down hard on him if it learned of the affair. It could even be career-ending. Yet, McCloskey manages to keep their relationship real. The tension keeps building as Haddad’s assignments become more dangerous and complex, and as evidence accumulates about an unthinkably deadly plot. You get a break when the action occasionally moves from Damascus to lovingly described France… Mr. McCloskey, who grew up in Minnesota and studied international relations, worked as a political analyst in CIA headquarters and from field stations in the Middle East.It is a dazzling debut and comes from a place of great personal knowledge. McCloskey himself covered Syria as a CIA analyst from 2008 to 2014, living and working in field stations throughout the region and briefing officials in Washington. You may also opt to downgrade to Standard Digital, a robust journalistic offering that fulfils many user’s needs. Compare Standard and Premium Digital here.

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