Book review

The Quantum Spy

by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

So very disappointed in this novel, I’m sorry to say. It’s set in the present day, with China as the baddie for our intrepid CIA spies, and it has a bit of a techie theme, with the plot loosely set around the search for real life quantum computing. I had high hopes – quantum stuff, spies, high-tech thriller potential, what’s not to love?

Well, what’s not to love is cardboard characters straight from central casting (the hard-as-nails CIA deputy director, the geeky CEO of a tech company, the conflicted American-Chinese), the wildly telegraphed plot line, the simple straight-line narrative thread, written so you didn’t have to worry about losing the thread when you got up from the sunbed where you were reading this to buy an icecream (or a margarita, as you choose).

Some bits weren’t bad – there were some nice snippets of “tradecraft”, and the tech stuff about quantum computers was actually very well done, from a techie POV. And the scenes were set in some interesting places, generally very credibly described. But still not enough to get past the disappointment.

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