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Reviews

  • Authentic, moving, visceral, chilling, utterly revelatory, truly masterful. A stunning tour de force by an author who has lived every word of it on the ground. A story of our time that absolutely needs to be told

    Damien Lewis, bestselling author of Zero Six Bravo
  • Searing, pulse-pounding, yet also acutely human, this compelling account of how Iraqi agents infiltrated ISIS takes us deep beneath the lurid Baghdad and Mosul headlines and into a sharply focused world of courage, ingenuity, terror and love. This is not just a story of dry-mouthed espionage, but also of its profound repercussions upon loved ones and family; the intense struggle to live in peace in a land where extremists of all varieties seek to bring death. Greatly illuminating and powerful

    Sinclair McKay, bestselling author of Dresden
  • Coker's book would do John le Carré - and undoubtedly any number of Operations Officers - proud for her treatment of the role, value, and challenges of human intelligence and agent running. This book is not about the high-tech gadgetry of surveillance drones, signals intercepts, or cyber intelligence, though all three play a role in this story. It is about the unrivaled value of the man or woman on-the-ground or in the loop with access to the information. It is about the delicate art of handling a source, an agent, or an informant

    Joshua C. Huminski, Director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress, Diplomatic Courier
  • This eye-opening account of the Iraqi intelligence unit which infiltrated Islamic State may read like a thriller, yet it is also grounded in the experiences of everyday Iraqis . . . a unique masterpiece in the genres of espionage writing and spy biography

    Vin Arthey, Scotsman
  • Margaret Coker, formerly of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, continued to cover Iraq after most of the American press corps had moved on; she has produced a gripping new book about the shadow war between Iraqi intelligence officers and the Islamic State, The Spymaster of Baghdad . . . Her subject is an elite Iraqi espionage unit called "the Falcons," composed of ordinary men who helped save their country from the onslaught of ISIS. Coker's reporting on these men, their families, and the family of a young woman recruited by terrorists is so meticulous that it lets her enter invisibly a closed, sometimes frightening world and portray it with cinematic detail

    George Packer, Atlantic
  • Who needs spy fiction, when fact can provide as thrilling a story as this? In Margaret Coker's deeply reported, unputdownable account, the previously unknown Iraqi heros of the war against the Islamic State turn out to be braver than Bond and as subtle as Smiley. Until this book, we had no idea how much we owe the spymaster of Baghdad and his operatives

    Lindsey Hilsum, author of In Extremis
  • A fascinating, character-driven chronicle of the battle against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq . . . Coker ties the threads of the narrative together in a gripping and well-crafted conclusion worthy of a spy novel . . . A dramatic and edifying must-read for espionage fans and anyone interested in Middle Eastern affairs

    Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • The Spymaster of Baghdad is the amazing true story of the secret war against ISIS in Iraq, which Margaret Coker tells with great verve and authority

    Peter Bergen, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt
  • A heartbreaking and courageous story of the secretive Iraqi Falcons intelligence unit . . . well worth reading and sharing with the entire world. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Abu Ali Al-Basri and the Iraqi Falcons Unit for their important role in the fight against the most lethal terrorist group of our time

    Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE)
  • A thrilling and skillfully reported tale of the invisible heroes of the Iraqi fight against terrorism, that, at its heart, is a poignant story of family and sacrifice

    Tamer Elnoury, covert operative and New York Times bestselling author of American Radical

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