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The Peacock and the Sparrow Summary and Reviews

The Peacock and the Sparrow

A Novel

by I.S. Berry

The Peacock and the Sparrow by I.S. Berry X
The Peacock and the Sparrow by I.S. Berry
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  • Published May 2023
    320 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

During the Arab Spring, an American spy's final mission goes dangerously awry in this explosive and eerily realistic espionage debut from a former CIA officer that is perfect for fans of Daniel Silva, Alan Furst, and John LeCarre.

Shane Collins, a world-weary CIA spy, is ready to come in from the cold. Stationed in Bahrain off the coast of Saudi Arabia for his final tour, he's anxious to dispense with his mission—uncovering Iranian support for the insurgency against the monarchy. But then he meets Almaisa, a beautiful and enigmatic artist, and his eyes are opened to a side of Bahrain most expats never experience.

When his trusted informant becomes involved with a murder, Collins finds his growing romance with Almaisa and Bahrain upended. In an instant he's caught in the crosshairs of a revolution. Now he must rely on his skills to navigate a bloody uprising, win Almaisa's love, and uncover the blurred lines between the dark secrets of both Bahrain and the United States.

"A breathless tour-de-force, the perfect spy tale" (Ian Caldwell, author of The Fifth Gospel) and dripping with authenticity, The Peacock and the Sparrow is a timely story of the elusiveness of truth, the power of love and belief, and the universal human desire to be part of a cause greater than yourself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Outstanding…The plot's many twists will captivate readers, and Berry's gorgeous prose is its own reward with echoes of le Carré and Graham Greene." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An astonishing debut. In the spirit and tradition of le Carré - but somehow with even greater verisimilitude - Berry perfectly captures the romance, the grit, the overarching sense of loss, and even the underlying dry comedy of a life devoted to undercover operations. CIA officer Shane Collins is the most realistic representation of a spy I've encountered in fiction." —Lindsay Moran, former CIA officer and bestselling author of Blowing My Cover

"Something very special in the crowded genre of spy fiction. Berry's book is the most realistic espionage story I've read, heart-stopping without any contrived glamour." —Joseph Weisberg, creator of the TV series The Americans

"The Peacock and the Sparrow is that rare thing: a genuine page turner that also has something to say. A sharp, knowing look at today's CIA, with the moral complexities of the best spy fiction and a Persian Gulf setting so richly detailed and immediate you feel you could reach out and touch it. A remarkable debut." —Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author of Istanbul Passage and The Berlin Exchange

"Not since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold has there been such a riveting and thought-provoking story of international espionage. In the tradition of John le Carre and Graham Greene, former spy Berry has woven a twisted, richly evocative tale—one that plunges the reader into the depths of the Arab Spring and the blackest recesses of human nature. A breathless tour-de-force that smuggles the reader from the souks of Bahrain to the simmering streets of Phnom Penh, Berry's debut delivers the perfect spy tale." —Ian Caldwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Fifth Gospel

"A smart, sensational work of literature - put The Peacock and the Sparrow on your shelf next to all the espionage greats." —Dustin Thomason, bestselling author of 12.21

"I.S. Berry absolutely nails the psyche of case officers in this examination of life in the clandestine service. From the pitch-perfect opening to the stunning twist at the end, The Peacock and the Sparrow is gorgeously written with a surefootedness rarely seen in a debut. Sure to be a new classic among spy novels." —Alma Katsu, former CIA officer and author of Red London

This information about The Peacock and the Sparrow was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

I.S. Berry

I.S. Berry spent six years as an operations officer for the CIA, serving in wartime Baghdad and elsewhere. She has lived and worked throughout Europe and the Middle East, including two years in Bahrain during the Arab Spring. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Haverford College. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, she lives in Virginia with her husband and son.

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