Book Review: A Spy in Exile by Jonathan De Shalit

February 4, 2019


A Spy in Exile by Jonathan De Shalit is a novel about an Israeli intelligence squad working in Europe. Mr. De Shalit is a nom de plume of a former high-ranking member of the Israeli Intelligence Community.

Book Review: A Spy in Exile by Jonathan De ShalitMy rating for A Spy in Exile 4
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I’m a sucker for good spy novels, so when I saw A Spy in Exile by Jonathan De Shalit, a novel about the Israeli Mossad I immediately requested it and put it on top of my “to read” list.

I found the book to be fast paced, filled with action and some tension. I enjoyed that the author weaved actual events within his fictional timeline to create a more believable, if not plausible story. I was familiar with many of the factual references, but for a different audience some explanations might be necessary (who is Ehud Barak and why was he dressed like a girl?). A few footnotes by the translator would be appropriate in those instances.

The team that the protagonist put together seems like they were pulled out of a Hollywood action movie, the author might have tried to create a team which is outside of the norm for the intelligence community, but it left me wandering if such a team really exist, and if they do would they be successful. After all, good intelligence usually wins the day.

I like my spies a bit more gray than the black and white world the author paints. I understand that in this type of work it helps to be an absolutist, even though all those I talked to who retired from the community realize, pretty quickly, that there are other solutions then the ones presented –and sometimes they’re better than just killing off someone.
As my father used to say “if you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”.

As in many novels about intelligence professionals, the protagonist is pictures as walking on the edge of sanity, I don’t know if this is an accurate assessment of the professionals in the field but it sure makes an interesting story-line. After I finished reading this book, I realized that it is a second in a series featuring Ya’ara Stein, that didn’t bother me. The author rehashes several times what happened to her in the Mossad during the narrative and I didn’t feel I missed anything.


Ya’ara Stein, a disgraced Mossad agent, has been tagged by the Israeli prime minister to create a secret squad answerable only to him. The catch, of course, is that there might be times when they will be left high and dry.

Ya’ara recruits a bunch of new agents, answerable only to her, and starts going through a quick training course. The team’s first mission is when descendants of the Red Army Faction return to terrorize Europe.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
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