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Spoken Word CD CD SEINHAUER, OLEN Audiovisual Collection
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Summary

Summary

In New York Times  bestseller Olen Steinhauer's brilliant new novel, Sophie Kohl tries to uncover the truth behind her diplomat husband's assassination 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 Egyptian intelligence for years, and he knows how to play the game. Foreign agents pass him occasional information, he returns the favor, and everyone's happy. But the murder of a diplomat in Hungary has ripples all the way to Cairo, and Omar must follow the fall-out wherever it leads. American analyst Jibril Aziz knows more about Stumbler, a covert operation rejected by the CIA, than anyone. So when it appears someone else has obtained a copy of the blueprints, Jibril alone knows the danger it represents. As these players converge in Cairo in The Cairo Affair , Olen Steinhauer's masterful manipulations slowly unveil a portrait of a marriage, a jigsaw puzzle of loyalty and betrayal, against a dangerous world of political games where allegiances are never clear and outcomes are never guaranteed.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* One of the two best espionage novelists working today, Steinhauer follows his acclaimed Milo Weaver trilogy with a stunning stand-alone that is as emotionally rich as it is layered with intrigue. Budapest, March 2011: career diplomat Emmett Kohl is shot dead in a restaurant, in front of his disbelieving wife, Sophie. Determined to find out why, she follows a trail that leads to the American embassy in a tumultuous Cairo; to the revolution under way in neighboring Libya; to Langley, Virginia; and to her own ill-fated honeymoon in Eastern Europe. It has something to do with Stumbler, a CIA plan for regime change, but, as we shadow a half-­dozen key players, the hows and whys prove maddeningly elusive and, in the words of a veteran spy: When you live in a house of mirrors, the only way to stay alive is to believe that every reflection is real. A complex tale of the Arab Spring, WikiLeaks, the CIA, and a marriage, this leaves us with the unsettling feeling that, despite all the information won, lost, hoarded, and put to use, the world of intelligence is no stronger than the fragile, fallible humans who navigate it. It has become de rigeur to compare Steinhauer to le Carre, but it's nearly time to pass the torch: for the next generation, it's Steinhauer who will become the standard by which others are measured. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Given the success of Steinhauer's last three books, the publisher is backing this one with a six-figure marketing campaign and a 150,000-copy print run. Patrons will be asking for it.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Like luxury watchmaker Franck Muller, Olen Steinhauer is the espionage "Master of Complications." The Cairo Affair is an elegant, elaborate clockwork of mystery and deception that should draw readers in and keep them on tenterhooks as they try to figure out what is really making it all tick. It opens in the bowels of CIA headquarters during the Arab Spring. A Libyan-American analyst thinks he sees his previously rejected secret plan to overthrow Gadhafi going operational. But why and how? And who's behind it? Then in a restaurant in Budapest, American diplomat Emmett Kohl is gunned down by a hit man in front of wife, Sophie, just seconds after informing her that he knows all about her affair with a CIA agent last year when they were stationed in Cairo. What can the connection be? In the thick of Arab revolutions, the action toggles from the streets of Cairo to the Libyan Desert to Budapest. Then back in time to 1991, when Emmett and Sophie honeymooned in wartime Yugoslavia. There they met Zora, the mysterious Serbian spymistress, who now has her tentacles around everyone. Steinhauer seduces with the web of falsehoods that the characters spin, in their desperate attempts to stay alive. Nothing is as it seems. "Who trusts anyone these days?" asks the Cairo CIA bureau chief. "Don't take it personally. In a situation like this, everything should be examined, and if you're missing some crucial piece of information, it's best to assume you don't know anything." This is also good advice for the reader. It is how this writer keeps us turning the pages. Steinhauer is often compared to John le Carre. But the comparison does not adequately serve either author. (Is there an homage to le Carre here? No fan of the master could forget his first post-cold-war novel The Night Manager-a doomed affair set in Cairo, with a woman named Sophie. Can this possibly be a coincidence?) Le Carre's books are driven by insoluble moral quandaries. What's more, with his breathtaking insight and economy, le Carre draws his characters from the inside out, making us feel the awful weight of their existential burdens. Steinhauer does make references to the inner lives of his characters, but to this reader they remain superficial-like tweets about their emotions sent from an iPhone. What Steinhauer's writing delivers is adrenalin. The Cairo Affair is the Olympics of Deception. Steinhauer's characters are gold medalists of lying. Watching them deceive one another and themselves is riveting. Whose lies will finally be at the bottom of this dizzying clockwork of interconnected deceits? By the time you reach the end of the book and find out, you will be exhausted and satisfied with the journey. But you will see that the novel is like a Franck Muller watch, a construct of beauty-but metallic and cold. No matter. One marvels at the intricacy of its imagination and the elegance of its maker's craftsmanship. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Mar.) Glenn Kaplan is the author of Poison Pill and Evil, Inc., a New York Times bestseller (both Tor/Forge). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Married for 20 years, Emmett and Sophie are a U.S. foreign service couple stationed in Budapest. But when Emmett is shot and killed while dining cozily with Sophie, she flies alone under the radar in a quest to root out his assassin. Early steps take her to Cairo, where old, grievous errors emerge to obstruct her. Tracked by zealous agents from a bewildering array of espionage services, Sophie finds an unlikely ally or two, gleans clues from WikiLeaks, and displays more guts than sense, yet her destiny cannot be averted. She must face a harrowing confrontation with her past. In narrative arcs that vault between a 1991 honeymoon trip to Serbia and a few days in 2011, Steinhauer once again displays his mastery of complex and twisty storytelling. The author of The Tourist and An American Spy excels in the genre of modern espionage fiction because his work resonates with today's headlines, horrors, and fiascos. VERDICT Readers yearning for a fiendishly complex plot, penetrating characterizations, and a new warrior in the ancient struggle between anomie and truth will welcome Sophie and her brash courage. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/13.]--Barbara -Conaty, Falls Church, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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