The Prisoner : John Wells

  • by Alex Berenson
  • Narrated by George Guidall
  • Series: John Wells
  • 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

To unmask a CIA mole, John Wells must resume his old undercover identity as an al Qaeda jihadi - and hope he can survive it - in the new cutting-edge novel from the best-selling author.
It is the most dangerous mission of John Wells' career.
Evidence is mounting that someone high up in the CIA is doing the unthinkable - passing messages to ISIS, alerting them to planned operations. Finding out the mole's identity without alerting him, however, will be very hard, and to accomplish it Wells will have to do something he thought he'd left behind forever. He will have to reassume his former identity as an al Qaeda jihadi, get captured, and go undercover to befriend an ISIS prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison.
Many years before, Wells was the only American agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda, but times have changed drastically. The terrorist organizations have multiplied: gotten bigger, crueler, more ambitious, and powerful. Wells knows it may well be his death sentence. But there is no one else.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator George Guidall delivers a tone of intrigue while keeping to an energetic pace.... Regardless of which of the audiobook's many accents he delivers, Guidall sustains a consistent individual voice for each character.... Guidall is absolutely compelling." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great listen; John Wells espionage thriller

The Prisoner is the 11th novel in Alex Berenson's John Wells espionage series. Earlier books in the series have dealt to a limited degree with Wells' personal life (specifically his ex-wife and his teenage son and his on and off conversion to Islam), but in this one for two years Wells becomes thoroughly domesticated with essentially a common law wife and their newborn daughter as he becomes a full time dad. He and his "wife" are even discussing making their daughter a little brother. But then his old CIA handler Ellis Shafer calls saying his country needs him for a job only he can do (Wells is fluent in Arabic and has physical features that appear to be Arabic). And the new president replacing Barack Obama is is an old CIA Director Vinny Duto with whom Shafer and Wells have bad relationships.

Earlier in his career Wells went undercover as an al Qaeda operative for a long period. He takes that name again and attempts to join ISIS in Afghanistan. There is known to be an ISIS mole in the CIA but his identity is unknown. The plan is for Wells to get arrested and sent to a secret Bulgarian prison which is also a CIA black site. Wells becomes the prisoner in the title.

The Prisoner has lots of ISIS terrorist activities including the planned use of sarin nerve agent for an attack at a state funeral in France where many foreign leaders are present. But what is different about this novel is the portrayal of the more human side of John Wells. Action and suspense are present in large amounts. Narration is by George Guidall as usual and it is stellar. The Prisoner has my highest recommendation.

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- Wayne "I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!"

Another Winner from Berenson

If you love thrillers, than you have probably already discovered Alex Berenson’s John Wells series, and you already know Well’s backstory. If not, I recommend that you start at the beginning of this series, with “The Faithful Spy,” and, ideally, listen to all the prior episodes in this series before beginning “The Prisoner.” Otherwise, this audiobook might seem to move a bit quickly.

Like most thrillers, “The Prisoner” tells a fantastic story involving a super-human protagonist in an impossible situation. Berenson enriches this recipe with his encyclopedic knowledge of history, government, geo-politics, current events, and geography. He seasons the pot with more than a dash of cynicism and good writing skills. All his descriptions of locales — which, by the way, span the globe in this series — convey spot-on detail and accuracy, conjuring up a vivid movie in the listener’s mind’s eye.

In “The Prisoner,” we get to know the identity of the CIA mole almost from the beginning of the story, while John Wells and Ellis Shafer must struggle against the clock for the rest of the book, trying to track the traitor down. Berenson gives us some understanding of the mole’s motives for betraying his country — if not for his methods — by describing the horrors that he witnessed the CIA perpetrating in Iraq and Afghanistan. (“Buy off anyone who is for sale, and kill the rest.”) We also get disturbingly vivid descriptions of the even worse horrors that the Islamist jihadists are perpetrating on those who hold opinions or ideologies that differ from their own. (We can clearly see the source of Berenson’s cynicism.)

As always, masterful George Guidall delivers an excellent performance of “The Prisoner,” with his beautiful, mature voice, perfect timing, and subtle inflections.
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- Snoodely

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-31-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio