The Pequod Review:
The basic outline of David Ignatius's Agents of Innocence is in many ways standard spy fare, as a Beirut-based CIA agent (Tom Rogers) seeks to penetrate the Palestinian terrorist network. But Ignatius takes his time to carefully build solid characters (especially the protagonist Rogers) and he adds a lot of authentic details to the story — dead drops, suicide bombers, and an overall atmosphere of mistrust and double-dealing — that reflect his intimate knowledge of American spycraft. And there are moments of understated wisdom:
Watching the young Arab walk slowly across the beach, Rogers decided that he had the look of a born agent. His appearance was sleek and elusive: medium height, neither fat nor thin, with the sort of smooth, well-groomed face that you almost remember, but not quite. Some faces are a roadmap of character. Fuad's was a blank slate, a lustrous tan without lines or wrinkles, a picture of a journey across a desert that has left no traces.
The curtains in the apartment were drawn, and the room was dark. As he sat down on the couch, Fuad removed his sunglasses and stared at Rogers with the intense curiosity of a man who is putting his life in another person's hand. There were two striking things about Rogers. The first was the American's size. He was over six feet, a giant by Arab standards, a size normally associated with Kurdish wrestlers or Circassian bodyguards. The second was his informality. The loose fit of his clothes, the frayed collars on his shirts, the way he stared out the window when he was smoking a cigarette. The combination made him seem an embodiment of the Arab image of America: big and relaxed, exuding power and intimacy at the same time.
A bureaucracy is supple in youth, rigid in middle age, and weak and decaying in old age.
If you have read Le Carre, McCarry, Ambler, etc. and are struggling to find other well-written espionage novels, this is a very good book to read next.