Alex Berenson’s latest book, The Counterfeit Agent, explores the political implications of Iran developing a nuclear bomb. He places his well-known characters into a dangerous scenario of threats against the US and its ally Israel, including the possibility of Iran luring the US into war.
Because the world is a different place after September 11th it is wishful thinking to want heroes like Berenson’s John Wells to save the day and fight against evil regimes. A quote in the book reminds Americans, “September 11th had faded in his memory, along with everyone else’s.” It is with this backdrop that the plot begins, with Wells traveling around the world to chase down leads. From Guatemala to Thailand to Hong Kong to Istanbul, Wells tries to find those responsible for conducting a complex Iranian campaign against the US and its allies.
Berenson stated to blackfive.net, “There are three scenarios. First, are the Iranians serious with their intentions to drop the plan for getting a bomb because it is not worth the sanctions? Second, is this just a delaying tactic to buy some immediate relief? Third, is it a complete head fake? I wanted to show in my book all the risks, realizing that the Iranians are not friends of the US, and are a very dangerous, strategic enemy. They killed hundreds of our soldiers in Iraq. They used roadside bombs that were devastating to our soldiers.”
Unfortunately, readers will have to wait until next year to find out the plot’s resolution. Although many issues were solved, the ending to this book is a cliffhanger. Berenson explained, “As I was outlining The Counterfeit Agent I realized that I had too much story for a single 400 page novel. I think 400 or so pages is a natural comfortable length for books and I also wanted the challenge of writing a novel that would feel complete on its own; yet, offer a springboard for the next novel. This is the first time I wrote a cliffhanger. Having to wait a year is no different than a TV show.”
The next book brings back the mysterious woman, Salome, who procured bomb grade uranium in Johannesburg and is heading the deception project. Readers will be able to find out more about this character, seeing that a lot of her personality is similar to Wells: willing to give up a personal life for her duty. This will lead to some tension between her and Wells that could end up in a relationship.
Just as in the current situation where no one knows the outcome of Iran’s gestures Berenson fans must also wait for his plot solution. For now readers should be satisfied with The Counterfeit Agent since it is a geo-political thriller that is action packed, mimics the real world, and is full of surprises.