Joseph Weisberg, a former CIA officer, has said that he wanted to write "the most realistic spy novel that had ever been written," and so An Ordinary Spy portrays not the glamour and suspense of working for the CIA but the everyday tedium of slowly cultivating informants for tiny scraps of intelligence. The protagonist, Mark Ruttenberg, is also a former CIA officer, writing a memoir about when he was a new agent on his first overseas assignment, desperate to advance his career by recruiting his first informants. In Ruttenberg's world, the real gains for national security are minimal, the risks are enormous, and the opportunities for heroism practically nonexistent, as his actions are muffled by ...
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