IntelNews book review: Codename Aphrodite, by Charles S. Faddis

Codename Aphrodite

Codename Aphrodite

Most intelNews regulars know Charles S. Faddis as the former head of the US National Terrorism Center‘s WMD Unit. His 20-year career as a CIA operations officer, with posts in South Asia, Near East and Europe, arguably culminated in 2002, when he led a CIA team into Iraq to help prepare the ground for the US invasion. He documented this in his 2010 book (co-authored with Mike Tucker) Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War Inside Iraq. Following his 2008 retirement, Faddis, who was CIA Chief of Station in his last overseas tour, frequently comments on intelligence matters. He took a stance against the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program (but objected to a government investigation), and has penned hard-hitting critiques of American intelligence culture and practices, most notably in his 2009 exposé Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. His latest creation, Codename Aphrodite (Orion, 2011), is a gritty novel set in the backstreets of Athens, Greece, where a former CIA clandestine operations officer goes after November 17, one of the world’s most active Marxist terrorist groups. Bill Boyle and his wife, Sarah, are both clandestine officers in the CIA’s European Division. Sarah, who is pregnant with their child, is brutally killed by November 17, after a CIA operation in pursuit of the group goes horribly wrong. Haunted by his wife’s murder, which he witnessed, Boyle quits the Agency and soon ends up as a permanent fixture in a depressing Mexican beach bar. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when political winds change in Greece. Petros Salamis, an ascending Athenian politician and aspiring Prime Minister, contacts Boyle with an irresistible offer: a hefty monetary reward and the satisfaction of revenge for his wife’s death in exchange for returning to Greece and eradicating November 17. Read more of this book review

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