Reviews - What do customers think about Surfing the CIA?
Spying, Surfing, Shagging Mar 17, 2007
No doubt there are a lot of things they don't tell you when you sign on for a hitch at The Agency.
Gus discovers when he is detailed to the embassy in Indonesia that the other station hands are only interested in golf and diplomatic parties. Fortunately our hero has packed his surf boards, and arrives just when the country is being opened up as a surfing paradise. Along the way he also finds exotic women and interesting bars, forms an entourage of locals and international expatriates, and even commits a little espionage.
The book is kind of an inverse of Graham Greene's "Our Man in Havana"; instead of making stuff up for his handlers, Gus tries to avoid telling his boss about the contact he has made with an Iraqi diplomat on the cusp of the first Gulf War. While chuckling at Gus's bureaucratic entanglements with his superiors, the reader gets a travelogue of Indonesian beaches and colorful details of Jakarta nightlife.
Compelling but Short Aug 12, 2003
The first half of this novel was absolutely amazing - as if I was magically transported to another entertaining world filled with great waves, crazy adventures, and sexy encounters with "professionals" and other mind-bending characters. Somehow, I think the Editor showed up on Nicholas' door right when the second half got underway because the pace hurried, the details were lost from the first half of the book, and the message and adventure got muddy.
I definitely recommend the book - especially if you surf, you'll get charged by it - because of the great character portrayals, the comical situations, and the vivid imagery. Hopefully, though, on the sophomore effort from NC, the Editor will leave him alone for a few extra days...
Light reading Apr 17, 2003
On his first effort as an author, Nicholas Ware brings us a very entertaining book. Drawing on what I believe are a series of autobiographical incidents, Nicholas strings together the adventures of a young CIA officer named Gus, whose only real concern is to catch the best possible wave on his surfboard. His "surfer attitude" keeps getting him in trouble with his superiors; yet enables him to unofficially recruit an Iraqi diplomat just at the start of operation Desert Storm. Nicholas' descriptions of the Indonesian locales where the action takes place (bars and beaches mostly) definitely make you want to go there and see that with your own eyes and that, along with his reflections on the futility of war are the high point of the book. On the other hand the CIA angle feels almost like an excuse for the character to be in Indonesia; the references to the work done for the agency are minimal and loosely put together (he might as well have been an oil, relief worker for the UN or any other profession that allowed him to be there long enough to make friends and catch waves) What's supposed to be the main topic of the book, Gus befriending an Iraqi diplomat is constricted to the last quarter of the book, making you doubt of its real importance in the plot. Finally the way the hero fouls an Iraqi plan to assassinate the US ambassador is barely believable and is perhaps the lowest point in the book. All in all, the book is fun, very readable and worth your time and money as long as you do not expect anything too serious from it, I guess that to fully enjoy the book you must adjust your mindset in the same way that you do when you go and watch a 007 movie, you know things are not always going to be logical or 100% possible or believable; but if you are willing to let go of that of a while, you spend a good time.
More than surfing; Excitement! Mar 17, 2003
Definitely a wild ride, however it is rated R, so don't leave it for your young kids to read. Definitely worth your time, and this man really has a way of putting a high-class spin on low class talk.