You can tell everything you need to know about The Tourist
in the first twenty pages. A body, a CIA agent, and a suitcase full of cash go missing in the first chapter. By the third chapter, Milo Weaver, spy extraordinaire, has uncovered all three, and has also caught the scent of the deeper conspiracy that prompted their disappearance. The Tourist
is fast, slick, and gratifying, each short chapter like an episode of "Lost" or "24."
Weaver is a Tourist, a black-ops agent who "float[s] unmoored from city to city, engaged by transatlantic phone calls from a man he hasn't seen in two years." In the post-9/11 era, his role is not to burrow under geopolitical walls to undermine an opponent's power, but rather to flit across the globe committing precise, unseen deeds that force governments to act in the United States' interest. Weaver's seemingly disparate...
Beyond the Book
Representing the Clandestine
If Tourism, Olen Steinhauer's invented black-ops division within the CIA, were
real, what would its insignia look like? Trevor Paglen has documented seventy-five
shoulder patches designed for United States covert agencies in his book, I
Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me
. (The title
is a translation from Latin of the patch for the Navy Air Test and Evaluation
Squadron 4, at Point Mugu in California).
He submitted hundreds of Freedom of
Information requests for the images, then decoded their heraldry and iconography
by interviewing military men and women. If, for instance, you see a...