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Jonathan de Shalit Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Traitor (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Spy in Exile (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jonathan de Shalit is the pen name of a retired highly ranked member of the Israeli Intelligence Community best known for his books, Traitor and A Spy in Exile. Jonathan’s books must pass a strict vetting process and approval of a selected Government Minister’s Committee before being published. The author has also translated into Hebrew The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carre’s and James Salter’s novel A Sports and a Pastime.

Traitor

Turning into the mysterious darks world of Israeli espionage, the author takes the readers into a world they may not know so well. When the Alon approached the American Embassy in Rome in 1983, he had a plan in his mind. Requesting to speak with the person in charge of intelligence, Alon suggested a proposition. He served in the Israeli government and would be willing to share whatever secrets he knew about the government for a fee. The American consular agreed to Alon’s deal but unbeknownst to Alon; his American friend was indeed a Soviet spy.

Eventually, Alon becomes an Advisor to Israeli prime minister and a CIA spy. As the readers, it’s never revealed what led Alon to become a traitor. However, his handlers see him as a man without principles who uses information about anyone for his own selfish gains.

Years later, the Israeli government finds out that they have a traitor in their midst and a team of intelligence operative is gathered to track the traitor down. Like many spy books, Alon’s story is convoluted. Cobra, the code name for the team pursuing Alon is like a treasure hunt; they follow clues from Israel, Germany, Russia, United States, New Zealand and more. Retired agents reveal secrets as revenge for unsettled scores or due to guilt feelings and others are killed to preserve their secrets.

For a spy novel, Traitor has proven to be an action-packed story that’s quite captivating. Throughout the story, there’s an atmosphere of deceit, action, nation spying against each other, operatives living in shadows, double identities and tracking persons of interests internationally.

A Spy in Exile

A Spy in Exile introduces us to Ya’ra Stein the main character who about a year ago when working for Mossad was involved in a mission that flushed out one of Israel’s deadly traitors. The traitor was quickly identified, and then Ya’ra Stein was ordered to stand down. The traitor was identified as Alon Regev, a man with access to some of the Israeli’s intelligence secrets got wind of Ya’ra and her team attempting a meeting with the Russian Intelligence.

Ya’ra instead decided that she must put an end to the traitor before they lose that opportunity for good- and the traitor had an “accident.” Praised by many for making the right decision, Mossad cast her out terming her as undisciplined, aggressive, and prone to violence.

As mentioned above, intelligence communities around the globe felt that Ya’ra made the right decision on that mission and the New Israeli Prime Minister is among them. The Prime Minister approaches her and hires her to be his black horse telling her that he strongly believes that the country needs a white horse as well, ones that adhere to the law and ones that use reason.

But the prime minister wants Ya’ra to be aggressive, wild, and subversive. He wants to create a small unit that can operate in secrecy, swiftly, aggressively, detached from the Israeli, a unit free from all the restraints that white horses are bound to. A type of unit that he and the government can deny if need be.
Her marching orders are to receive and agree to do what’s necessary. Ya’ra heads out to recruit a small team. She begins with Aslan, a man she calls a brother in arms. An agent she has worked with in the past. Aslan is also a sports enthusiast, dedicating most of his time to rafting, mountain climbing, skydiving and many more. Ya’ra then designs an advertisement posting one on social media and two on internet message boards.

The interview and recruitment process is conducted off the screen, and a small unit is born. With the team ready formed, Ya’ra and her friend Aslan create a training schedule to prepare the new members for their roles. But then someone from Ya’ra past comes requesting for help in what seems to be a personal issue.
Ya’ra decides that her recruits would benefit from some of their training in her new mission to help her friend. Investigating and collecting clues, Ya’ra’s team soon unravels a sinister plot to murder some of Germany’s prominent bankers. After the discovery, they set out on the actual operation; to get rid of the targets the Israeli Minister wants to be eradicated. While on this mission, the team decides to split into two to conduct two hits at the same time. While they end up victorious in their mission, the team, however, encounters some problems along the way, many of which are human type errors which leave doubts of the future of the team.

A Spy in Exile is a fantastic second standalone novel from Jonathan de Shalit. Ya’ra new team comprises of “normal” people, with emotions and feelings and not past assassins or agents. Throughout this narrative, we get to know each character and their reason for joining the unit. But as soon as killing begins, human errors come into play in the form of collateral damage resulting to some members questioning their motive to continue with the team.

While the story itself is unique from other spy novels you’ve probably read before, the book does raise questions such as how things are done? Because Jonathan is, but a pseudonym and the man behind this story was a highly ranked member of Mossad and rumors are that he might still be a member to this date. This again raises the question, how are things done in the spy world? Is Jonathan just being creative or writing from trues experiences? While professional operatives like Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher are easy to sell, A Spy in Exile will leave you wondering, do spy agencies recruit normal people for their operations?

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