Knopf 2021

United Kingdom: Head of Zeus

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Other Books by Dan Fesperman

The Cover Wife

Author: Dan Fesperman

When CIA agent Claire Saylor is told that she'll be going undercover to pose as the dowdy wife of a stuffy academic who has posited a controversial new interpretation of the Quran's promise to martyrs, she assumes the job is a punishment for past unorthodox behavior. But when she discovers her team leader is Paul Bridger, another maverick within the Agency, she realizes that the mission may be more interesting than meets the eye--and not just for professional reasons.

At the same time, in Hamburg, Mahmoud, a recent Moroccan émigré, begins to fall under the sway of a group of radicals at his local Mosque. As his commitment to his new friends deepens, he finds himself torn between his obligations to them and the feelings he's developing toward a beautiful westernized Muslim woman.

Their lives will intertwine, as Claire learns the truth about the mission in Hamburg, and Mahmoud's relationship with the radicals pulls him into dangerous waters. And they will both realize--but will it be too late?--that the consequences of their actions could well determine the very future of the United States.

The Cover Wife

The New York Times:

As violence erupts and the truth unravels, we find ourselves in a thriller, one that is all the more chilling for running right into fact, and then diving straight into the darkest days of our own recent past. And here the author uncovers a deeper truth, about human limitations and the consequences of systemic failure. In the end, “The Cover Wife” lands like a punch in the heart, or an arrow finding its mark. Or a stolen plane flying into a tower on a clear blue morning.

The Wall Street Journal:

The author specializes in humanizing the internecine turf battles between and within competing intelligence agencies. With “The Cover Wife,” he has produced another intelligent, tense and sharply written espionage thriller.

Publishers Weekly:

Gripping...Identities and motives are tantalizingly muddled, and Fesperman, a fine stylist, does a good job portraying the elusive, frustrating nature of espionage.


We know enough to know what's coming, but Fesperman uses that excruciating dramatic irony superbly, showing once more, as le Carre? did, that spies are often their own worst enemies.


THE COVER WIFE made such an impression on me that I want to seek out Dan Fesperman’s backlist. This is the thinking-man’s espionage book and the type of story you will have a difficult time not finishing in one sitting. Fesperman’s writing style does not overload you with data and acronyms, but makes you feel like you are there with the characters and experiencing each plot twist along with them. This brilliant read is not to be missed.

Kirkus Reviews:

A breezy, thoughtful thriller that avoids high drama in favor of quick and ultimately unsettling shots to the system. An absorbing tale of terrorism with a tantalizing what if at its core.

The Financial Times:

Claire is an engaging protagonist, dogged and brave, but it’s Mahmoud’s inner struggle as he is drawn into the terrorists’ lives that lifts The Cover Wife to a higher level.

Shelf Awareness:

The Cover Wife smoothly incorporates a gripping plot with insightful character studies as Fesperman illustrates the thrill, frustration and challenges of those whose undercover personalities often overwhelm their humanity and their reality.

The Sullivan County Democrat:

Very smart, completely convincing...this is just great historical spy fiction.

Kevin Wignall, author of A DEATH IN SWEDEN:

Both gripping and scarily plausible; from the first page to its chilling conclusion, The Cover Wife is a book that demands to be read.