Publication Order of Milo Weaver Books
|The Tourist||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Nearest Exit||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|An American Spy||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
The tourist is a New York Times bestselling espionage series of fiery suspense thrillers. It follows Milo Weaver, an undercover agent for a secret branch of CIA that specializes in black operations. Turns out, Weaver’s past life is fraught with lies and secrets that he has to leave behind in lieu of the CIA desk job he now has.
Written in 2009 by Olen Steinhauer, the film rights to the novel were purchased by George Clooney’s Production Company, with some rumors suggesting Clooney might be playing the role of Milo Weaver. The series features three books: The Tourist, The Nearest Exit, and An American Spy.
The first few pages of the first book introduce Milo, a CIA agent on desk duty. He has a wonderful family–wife and step daughter with whom he bonded with during a “Tourist” assignment. Speaking of which, the “Department of Tourism” is the black ops group in masquerade, and Milo’s line of work includes morally challenging assignments—from bribery and theft, to deliberate deaths. Not to mention a long chain of other transgressions that are not within the ideal framework of a responsible husband and stepfather Milo is trying really hard to be.
Milo has his dirty past safely buried, until the Tiger shows up—locked up in a Blackdale jail, Tennessee. Tiger is now being held in a small hamlet slammer, and the only person he can talk to is Milo. Turns out, the Tiger, who’s now diagnosed with AIDS, is celibate and has never used drugs his entire life. But one day, while sitting in a café in Milan, he’s infected by an injection he believes was administered by the man behind his assignments; a transgression he’s convinced got him to his deathbed. He consequently wants Milo to track the man down and kill him. But in a shocking twist of events, the man he’s sent to kill also happens to have Milo’s worst interest at heart. He’s also the man behind the global Islamic jihad.
Tiger dies shortly after. But the statement he gets from his superiors doesn’t seem to match with Tiger’s deathbed revelations. And before Milo gets time to put on a new cape, he is sent to Paris on a fool’s errand involving one of his old colleagues by the name Angela. The mission ends up with Angela’s death and Milo being accused of murdering her—a set up. In a desperate bid to clear his name, Milo is forced to go on a run.
In recollection, despite doing terrible things, Milo, like his friend George Smiley, is among the few black ops machinists with a kind heart. Unlike other spies, he tries to make things right for the people he hurts by accident. So, every time someone he cares about is threatened, and he’s the only one assigned the task, he’s got limited choices in his moral calculus. That’s when he resorts to being an undercover.
Again, we’re introduced to the secret extended family of Milo, which happens to be in dire straits and could therefore use Milo’s help. Plus they have something that they’d like to give it to him. This, coupled with what his valued mentors want from him, forces him to drag to Europe. And, as he tries to muddle through his tangled assignment goals, he finds himself mentoring other “Tourist” to an extent of creating a sort of survival and morality bible that other paid killers can lean on. To a “Tourist,” success and failure are more of the same thing—getting a task done to the hilt. It’s like a boot that’s supposed to make life easier to take. But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to apply to Milo.
Each time Milo tries to make things right, there’s always some people on his back dragging him to his dirty past and danger. In the process he ends up making forbidding choices.
In An American Spy, the series takes a daring change in narrative. For one, the scenes in the first 89 pages are set in China—from the manipulative bureaucrats to the outlooks of spies. In fact, it’s until you get to page 93 that you first hear Milo speak. As it appears, he’s not recovered fully from the complications, losses and violence he dogged in the past, even though he’s putting an-all-out effort to. He’s now trying really hard to direct more of his attention to his family, which apparently is demanding some sort of honesty from him, than to the schemes laid down by his former bosses and comrades.
Milo’s life is heaving with many secrets. Then there’s his extended family—of choice and birth—that’s still disheveled with a long chain of global political information they gathered in a shady sense. The “nearest exit” has only directed one quandary onto another. But this time round, Milo is on his own; no well-funded organization behind him. He has also culled many of his colleagues, retaining only a few. In addition, he doesn’t have to direct part of his attention into keeping his family safe. If they’re being held hostage, where can they be, and who’s holding them? Will Milo’s next assignments, when completed, ever be enough to bring his family back?
Milo is knitting his brows really hard as he tries to calculate the next move. His only agonizing pain is that he knew as a “Tourist” he wasn’t supposed to have a family that he cared about. Now his morality has to go against his necessities.
The Tourist trilogy is an unequivocal classic, a griping chain of page turners revolving around the choices and sacrifices Milo has to make. Every move he makes has to go through a web of complex thinking. No wonder every reader feels so exultant after finishing the third book.
The funny bit is that Steinhauer has never been a retired spy or “Tourist.” But this series proves he did a good research on the subject, plus he knows how to play around with his imagination. Above all, he’s fully cued in on how espionage can affect the soul, and has the perfect solution on how to redeem if things don’t fall too far from the plan.
Steinhauer has other bestselling books that he wrote before “The Tourist” series. But none of them is connected to the trilogy. In fact they’re best considered the training ground or warm-up for what he’s achieved in this series. Milo has a website, but it’s just a mishmash of different materials that can’t be really sorted out. It sort of reminds me of Weaver at his most lost self. So, in case you haven’t read the book, don’t waste your time messing around with the website.Book Series In Order » Characters » Milo Weaver