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Author Tom Gabbay has done casual readers a great service by turning two excellent non-fiction texts--All The Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer and Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden--into a thriller that goes a long way to explaining the fraught relationship between Iran and America. His hero, Teller, is involved in the CIA's 1953 coup against the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh. In this role he betrays his Iranian friends, their dreams for the nation and the trust they have in America as a natural democratic ally. But he gets a chance at some redemption when one of those friends is imprisoned by the Khomeini regime in 1979.

With Iranian-American nuclear negotiations much in the news these days, everyone really ought to read the Kinzer and Bowden books. But if you're headed to the beach and want some lighter reading that explains why Iran doesn't trust us, take this topical spy novel with you.


Grade: (B+)