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An American Spy Paperback – Oct 16 2012

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An American Spy + The Nearest Exit + The Tourist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (Oct. 16 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312622902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312622909
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #152,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Stunning. . .Readers are irresistibly drawn into Weaver's dogged struggle to unravel a complicated game of cat and mouse. . .Steinhauer is at the top of his game—but when isn't he?"
USA Today

“The action is lickety-split and spiked with exceedingly satisfying spy craft.”
The New York Times

“Not since Le Carre has a writer so vividly evoked the multilayered, multifaceted, deeply paranoid world of espionage, in which identities and allegiances are malleable and ever shifting, the mirrors of loyalty and betrayal reflecting one another to infinity. In this intensely clever, sometimes baffling book, it’s never quite clear who is manipulating whom, and which side is up."
The New York Times Book Review

“This ambitious, complex story spans the globe. Even when the intricacies of its plot are most challenging, we are fascinated and swept forward. Steinhauer has been likened to John le Carre and rightly so. Both men carry readers deep into a rival spy agency, one Soviet, one Chinese. . .Zhu may in time be to Weaver what the Soviet spymaster Karla was to le Carre’s George Smiley. Olen Steinhauer’s Milo Weaver novels are must-reads for lovers of the genre.”
The Washington Post

About the Author

OLEN STEINHAUER, the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, is a two-time Edgar award finalist, a Dashiell Hammett award winner and has been shortlisted for the Anthony, the Macavity, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and the Barry awards. Raised in Virginia, he lives in Budapest.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 16 2013
Format: Paperback
Book 3, the final chapter in the Milo Weaver trilogy

The final volume has a complex story that deepens as the plot moves forward spanning the globe going into and developing every nook and cranny of the multilayered and multifaceted world of espionage. The thriller starts off as a very challenging read it masterfully portrays the action from different angles and perspectives as it jockeys back and forth in time. The abundance of Chinese names and the intricacies of their customs and bureaucracies develop into mind bending and complex situations that are highly action packed, concentration is a must but the dividends are rewarding in the end.

The action starts in the aftermath of 37 departmental Tourists (undercover assassins) targeted and eventually eliminated in orchestrated raids by Chinese spymaster Xin Zhu. Milo Weaver although wounded was one of the few who managed to escape. In the ensuing investigation, Alan Drummond was fired and the department dismantled. With revenge on his mind Alan does his best to recruit Milo who unfortunately has one thing on his mind, put the past behind and assume a normal family life.

Alan’s determination is so strong he goes rogue and uses one of Milo’s compromised aliases, attracting immediate attention and setting off alarms in the underworld of international espionage. When Alan suddenly falls off the radar Milo feels he is the one best equipped to track him down and attacks the challenge with the determination of a pitbull. Milo is soon caught up in an endless web of deceit with no backup facing danger on all sides. Hunted by a dragon with many heads even his family is at risk.

I highly recommend reading the two previous novels.
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Format: Hardcover
Disclosure: I received a copy of this from the Goodreads First Reads program.

I had not realised that this was the third installment in The Tourist series. This speaks volumes about Steinhauer's ability to provide enough back story so that new readers never feel like they need to read the previous books to understand what is happening in the one they are holding.

The sense that this is a stand-alone book is primarily due to the use of multiple P.O.V.s. With German Erika Schwartz questioning world events, the Chinese spymaster Xin Zhu outlining the root of his intentions, and ex-CIA agent Milo Weaver's bafflement of his friend's behaviour, one gets a real sense of how espionage and counter espionage is riddled with deceit, distrust, abuse of position and the blatant use of the unsuspecting. However, what the novel's strongest message is simply, that there is only one way out once you've entered this life of secrecy.

Set just prior to the 2008 Olympics, the author deftly interweaves of each character's story within the political climate set by a distrustful America and a taciturn China. As one might expect from a spy novel, each of the characters is intent on protecting their beliefs, their loved ones and their respective backsides. I admit that I know nothing about the author, but did wonder at whether any of the tricks he used would actually work. Then I thought that I'd have to either be an actual spy or extremely paranoid to want to delve into this travel arsenal.

Once I get through the mountain of books I have waiting, I will likely get my hands on the first two books, and if luck is with us, a follow-up to this one.
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By Adam Barbour on July 11 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed this trilogy. Wish there were more Weaver stories. Nine more words required so here you go... Salami!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have read the previous Mile Weaver books, this one is a must read. It picks up well where the The Nearest Exit ended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 197 reviews
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Complex and intriguing. 4 ½ stars. Feb. 2 2012
By Brian Baker - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Olen Steinhauer's third installment of the Tourist saga is a very complex tale of espionage and human vulnerability.

This third installment of the saga picks up where the last book left off. Milo Weaver is still recuperating from the gunshot wound he suffered, and has quit the CIA, preferring to focus his attentions on his family and starting a new career in the civilian world. His friend and former boss Alan Drummond is obsessed with seeking revenge for the slaughter of the Tourist section of the CIA of which he was chief. Chinese spymaster Xin Zhu, the mastermind of that massacre, is trying to consolidate his position in the espionage hierarchy of his country by identifying an American-controlled mole high up in the government bureaucracy that controls Chinese intelligence functions and departments.

How these complex and conflicting story lines converge and interact is the plot of this novel.

The opening segment of the book focuses on Xin's activities, and Weaver doesn't even enter onstage until well into the story. Overall, the book has a broader focus than the previous entries; not as much time on Weaver, and more focus on Xin. That actually serves the story well.

Many of the characters have very complex motivations, and act in ways that are confusing at first, until the resolution at the end of the book makes things clear. This is very well done, illustrating the moral complexity and ambiguity inherent in the world of espionage Steinhauer has created. In many ways this is reminiscent of themes Len Deighton and John Le Carre explored in their classic works in the genre.

Though there is action were appropriate, I wouldn't categorize this book as a "thriller". It's better than that. The characterizations are all fully realized with three-dimensional people. The plot is complex and fully developed, with a satisfying conclusion that isn't predictable.

Highly entertaining. 4 ½ stars.
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A Complex, At Times Confusing, Mostly Interesting Spy Story! Feb. 10 2012
By bobbewig - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
An American Spy is Olen Steinhauer's third novel featuring Milo Weaver. If you read the first two books in this series -- The Tourist and The Nearest Exit , both of which are excellent -- you know that Milo Weaver was a CIA "tourist," until almost all of his fellow operatives were decimated by a Chinese spymaster, and the clandestine Department of Tourism was shut down.

Now, in An American Spy, which I enjoyed a lot (but not as much as the other two), Milo's old boss is bent on revenge, and when he vanishes in London, Milo finds himself back in the shadow world of espionage, unsure who is an agent and who is the target, who is pulling the strings and who is being played. I won't say any more than this about the plot so that you can work your own way through unraveling all of the layers of intrigue, double crosses and plot twists.

Be forewarned that to an even greater extent than in The Tourist and The Nearest Exit, the experience of reading An American Spy is very complex and at times confusing, and will make you feel that you need a scorecard to keep track of the large cast of characters, particularly since many of the characters have Chinese names that will likely be unfamiliar to many readers. It is a reading experience that will require you to pay full attention throughout the book so that you can appreciate all of its nuances and, most importantly, so that you will be able to understand how all of the complicated and, at times, confusing elements get tied together by the end of the book. Also, be forewarned that An American Spy is not a fast-paced book and while it is a first-rate spy story, it is not an action-oriented thriller. An American Spy's strength is derived from Steinhauer's strong ability to create very realistic and fully dimensionalized characters, as well as plot elements that you will mostly find interesting (despite their complexity which will at times cause you to scratch your head while trying to keep up with what is happening, and why).

If you've been a fan of The Tourist and/or The Nearest Exit I'd highly recommend An American Spy -- even if you don't find it, on a relative basis, to be as good. I'm pretty certain that, in the absolute, you'll be glad you read it. However, I would not recommend An American Spy if it would be your first book in the series. I think that without the background into the large cast of characters and the history of events that took place in the earlier books you'll "drown in the sea of complexity" as you wade your way through An American Spy.

I hope that my review of what I think you'll find the reading experience to be like is helpful in deciding if An American Spy is a book for you.
45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
What a mess April 5 2012
By David Rodgers - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually write reviews but felt I needed to after reading this book. I have read all of Olen Steinhauer's books and was excited when the third book in the Milo Weaver saga was released. The book starts off well enough but by the time I had finished the book I had no idea what I had just read. Who was operating for who and what really was the point of any of the operations! It was a chore to get through the last 100 pages. I consider myself a fairly proficient reader but I was really confused by the time this book had ended.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Overblown, incomprehensible and dull; just not worth the effort March 30 2012
By Old Asia Hand - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't write many reviews for fiction because I think that fiction is, on the whole, a matter of personal taste and you should simply judge novels for yourself. But this is just such an awful book that I thought somebody ought to offer a small counterweight to the inevitable praise that is being heaped upon it. Yes, I know Steinhauer has been elevated to sainthood by a lot of readers already, but on the strength of this badly misbegotten novel they really ought to revoke his deification.

I loved the first book in this series, and looked forward to the second. I was shocked to discover how much I hated it. Now we have number three and I was anxious to give Milo another chance. Alas, AN AMERICAN SPY is an utterly unreadable mess. It's probably been a decade since I abandoned a book, but I abandoned this one. I struggled along manfully for nearly a hundred pages, but then I could go no further. Reading it was like trying to swim in tapioca pudding. The plot (?) is incomprehensible and the characters are completely unmemorable. There is so much good fiction out there, you really shouldn't waste your time here.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not As Good as The Other Two May 12 2012
By Old Student - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The first thing that you need to know - but Amazon does not make clear - is that this is the third book in "Milo Weaver" trilogy.

So, before you read this one, read these two:

1: The Tourist
2: The Nearest Exit

I have to say that these two books were amongst the most entertaining works of fiction that I have read in a long time. I like reading Custler (when he writes his own books), Clancy (ditto), Grisham, King and the other usual suspects, and I think that Steinhauer has the imagination, research skills and literary skills to hold his own as a fiction writer.

However, I found An American Spy to be quite disappointing. The quality of the dialogue and narrative are as exceptional as they were in the other two novels, but I felt like Steinhauer had simply run out of inspiration with this one.

The book progresses quite slowly, and when the action finally starts the author uses a series of vignettes to tell what is admittedly a complex plot from the perspective of the main interlocutors. For me, the problem with this is that you end up having to read quite a bit that already know, while the critical bits of information you need in order to piece things together are actually few and far between. I just didn't like it - it felt like padding, although I don't think for a minute that this is what it was intended to be.

I won't give away the plot line, but suffice to say the story picks up where it left off in the previous book. I didn't therefore have many problems following the diverse range of characters. If you read the first two books, neither will you.

The good news (I think), is that Stenihauer has left the door open for another Milo Weaver novel. I do hope, however, that he can replicate his excellent performance from the first two novels.

In summary, if you want to get into a good trilogy with an excellently developed main character, the Milo Weaver series is for you. Just make sure you savour every page of the first two books - they'll more than makeup for any dissapointment you may experience in An American Spy.