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LA TIMES BESTSELLER. TRANSLATED INTO 7 LANGUAGES. "KAPLAN IS UP THERE WITH THE BEST" - CLIVE CUSSLER In a last ditch effort to revive his career, washed out agent Ari Ben-Sion accepts a mission he never would have 30 years ago, to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. Or so he thinks. In Damascus, a beautiful American photographer, Kim, seems to beLA TIMES BESTSELLER. TRANSLATED INTO 7 LANGUAGES. "KAPLAN IS UP THERE WITH THE BEST" - CLIVE CUSSLER In a last ditch effort to revive his career, washed out agent Ari Ben-Sion accepts a mission he never would have 30 years ago, to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. Or so he thinks. In Damascus, a beautiful American photographer, Kim, seems to be falling in love with Ari, but she is asking too many questions. His communication equipment disappears. His contact never shows up. The operation is only hours away and everything seems awry. Desperate to succeed, Ari might risk everything. Even his life. Feature film adaptation starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers,Sir John Hurt and Olivia Thirlby in theaters 2017....

Title : the damascus cover the jerusalem spy series book 1
Author :
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ISBN : 23303386
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 354 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the damascus cover the jerusalem spy series book 1 Reviews

  • Dianne
    2019-06-05 11:48

    In a world where no one can be trusted and you are only as useful as the information you can procure, Ari Ben-Sion is a master spy, past his prime and with far too many ethics to play in the hardened world of the brutal Middle East. He is no James Bond, he is a flesh and blood, flawed man who knows nothing else, but is willing to go to the mat for his world. When he discovers he has been a pawn in a wicked and deadly game of spy versus spy, Ari must double his efforts to save both his honor and the lives of people depending on him. The deadline is coming, his performance must be perfect and when the curtain falls on his mission, Ari discovers a heinous truth about life and death.Follow along the streets of Damascus and throughout the Middle East where the dark world of politics, espionage and double agents thrive. Discover how love and lust can be used against even the best of the best and remember, danger hides around every corner in a world strained with hate.Howard Kaplan’s The Damascus Cover is a slice of the underbelly of a world in turmoil, saturated in hate and mistrust. One false move, one misplaced alliance and the death knell tolls. Bold writing, sparing nothing for sensitive constitutions, this is raw and feels far too real to not to flinch at the events in this world. Dramatic, brutal and filled with razor-sharp twists, this is a fascinating and gripping read.I received this copy from Howard Kaplan in exchange for my honest review.Series: The Jerusalem Spy Series - Book 1Publication Date: August 7, 2014Publisher: Howard KaplanGenre: Thriller | Suspense | EspionagePrint Length: 354 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews & More:

  • Sarah
    2019-05-20 06:16

    3.5 stars.The Damascus Cover is a spy thriller which certainly holds your attention throughout.Ari Ben-Sion is certainly a very intriguing character who I would have liked to have known more about, he is certainly a good agent that seems to have more values than most in his profession. Kim is also a very interesting character who to start with I felt quite sorry for. Ari kept her very much in the dark and her frustration and emotions very much came across through out the story.There are certain characters that stood out to me more so for their courage and strength and I wished their characters had bigger rolls in the book than they did as they were such interesting characters.Overall The Damascus Cover is a strong and steady read, I just felt for me it lacked the amount of action that I personally prefer when I read this genre of book. It does pick up pace towards the end and the last part of the story was exactly how I envisioned what this book would be like. It certainly ended on a high and I would certainly read more books by the author.Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Hermien
    2019-05-21 08:11

    Although written in 1977 it doesn't feel dated. It's a real page turner but quite gruesome in parts.

  • Judie
    2019-05-28 04:49

    Damascus Cover, although written in 1977, is still relevant today. I read this book on a Kindle and would have liked it more if there hadn't been so many spelling mistakes. A good proofreader is needed for the electronic version.

  • David Lucero
    2019-05-26 05:53

    I found this book in a thrift store and liked the book details about it, bought it, read it, and enjoyed it very much. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I found same copy for sale at the public library and bought it so I could read it again. The Cold War narrative is very much alive in this book and the suspense is heart-pounding. The author wrote this book over 30 years ago, and I've learned it's being made into a movie. If the movie follows the book, it'll be great too.

  • Sheri
    2019-05-29 12:07

    The Damascus Cover (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 1) by Howard KaplanAgent Ari Ben-Sion is on a mission to smuggle Jewish children out of the Damascus Ghetto. Once he gets to Damascus he meets a beautiful photographer named Kim, and he falls in love with her. But soon things don't seem right. Kim asks a lot of questions, his communication equipment disappears, his contact never shows, and nothing is going as planned. Plus he fears his cover will be blown, and he and the lives of the children will be in great danger. Not knowing who to trust, Ari must be as sharp as ever to pull this off without ending up dead.The attention to detail and intense dialog pulls you right into the story. Ari is likable, even though he is flawed. He is put in many dangerous situations, and has to use his sharp wit to pull himself out of tough situations. The story moves at a steady pace, with so much tension, Ari soon finds himself unable to trust anyone. There is plenty of drama, action, tension and "edge-of-your-seat" moments I could not put it down. Overall The Damascus Cover is a fantastic read. I highly recommend to all.The cover is amazing , so is the story and I am excited to hear it will soon be a major motion picture!

  • Judi Moore
    2019-06-16 10:50

    **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.**In the new introduction to this edition the author tells us that in its first incarnation, in 1977, this novel sat in the lower reaches of the Los Angeles Times best seller list for 10 weeks. This reissue, self-published by Howard Kaplan in 2014, has obviously been put out to tie in with the forthcoming film, now apparently due in 2017. (Although how they will manage without the late lamented John Hurt, who can say.)For present purposes, perhaps the most important thing to know about Howard Kaplan is that he has a little experience of being a spy and a lot of knowledge about the Middle East. He has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. He knows the life of which he writes.This is an excellent spy thriller. Authors are so often recommended by publishers as ‘the next John Le Carré’. None of them are, of course. And attempts at comparison simply weaken the writing of those who are not. However, Kaplan is (or was), writing gritty spy fiction which stands genuine comparison with Le Carré circa 'The spy who came in from the cold'.I pride myself on being able to spot a plot twist even if it is secreted in a bag of fettuccini, but this book wrong-footed me not once, not twice but thrice. I like to be wrong-footed. Nor did those cunning plot twists feel remotely strained: as soon as the unexpected occurred one could see how it was the inevitable result of what had come before. Thus the book quickly gained a sense of menace: what has Ari missed? How will it come back to bite him? The spy-protagonist is no two-dimensional cipher: the reader goes with him into the abyss created by his own character failings, spiralling down and down, as shown through the action of the book.The settings are Cyprus, Jerusalem and Syria – economically and vividly drawn. The Middle Eastern setting are topical (despite the book’s age). Aleppo, Beirut and, of course, Damascus all figure largely and are described at a time when they were still beautiful, multi-cultural cities.The new introduction gives some insight into what has occurred in the Middle East since 1977, but it is not really sufficient for those of us whose knowledge of Middle Eastern politics and wars since 1948 may not be deep or recent. To enjoy this fully it will repay a quick and dirty Google of the main dates and conflicts in the area (there are quite a few) so as to have at least The Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War clear in your mind. This link may be of assistance: The prologue and final chapter comprise *graphic* scenes of torture.There are a few typos which could have been put right when the text was readied for printing this time around. Or perhaps they were introduced at that point – who can say. They will not spoil your enjoyment.

  • Deirdre
    2019-06-02 07:56

    Yes, it is being or has been made into a movie. I do not know how the torture scenes will be dealt with, but I, for one, don't care to see it. Ben Sion, an Israeli spy past his prime, is also not very sharp. I'm not even sure why he volunteered to be sent to Syria for a specific job to be enacted by Mossad, knowing he himself was not up to par. I knew the minute that his American girl friend began to question him that she was a spy, trying to get him to confess his true reasons for being in Damascus. No woman I know would be that concerned with his true intentions or occupation, unless she suspected he was not who he said he was. How would she know that he wasn't? And, if they did suspect, and had no ulterior motive, then they would just not have anything more to do with him. I also knew that he was being set up by the Mossad Colonel who obviously knew he didn't belong in Damascus and shouldn't be involved in the caper at all. Because, otherwise, why send him? Nevertheless, I had to continue to read in order to see what became of him. I'm still not quite sure why I bothered.

  • Ana MariaRivera
    2019-06-06 10:00

    Read it before it becomes a movie.... First time reading this author and it was one hell on a ride.The narrative was past pace, with lots of geographic descriptions and characters that balance each other.I did not anticipated the plot twist and left me wanting more....

  • Geoff.
    2019-06-17 03:59

    A superb read! Excellent plotting, attention to details, thoroughly engrossing.

  • Ian
    2019-06-14 07:50

    Thoroughly enjoyed it. Glad I stumbled upon it. Great twist at the end! Didn't see that coming. But also sad that I won't read Ari´s sequel!

  • Gingercat
    2019-06-17 12:06

    38 years after first being published, Howard Kaplan’s espionage novel, The Damascus Cover, is being re-released both in paperback and ePub versions. The book has also been picked up for film adaptation and the movie, starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, Sir Jon Hurt, Olivia Thirlby and Jurgen Prochnow, is hopefully due for release in 2016.Ari Ben-Sion (alias Hans Hoffman) is one of Israel’s most experienced spies, however he is guilty of making some very serious mistakes and has developed a weakness for beautiful women, probably to counter the lonely life as an agent. We first meet him in Cyprus where a mission goes astray after he is seduced by a beautiful embassy worker, Michelle, causing him to miss an important radio communication. Ari returns home and is taken off active duty, reduced to desk work whilst they review his position. Is he still suited to active service or has he lost his edge? Ari starts to get itchy feet and when a mission arises to smuggle the children of an important Syrian Rabi out of Damascus, despite it being below his level of expertise, Ari quickly volunteers in an attempt to salvage his career. A successful mission could push his career back on track. Before travelling to Syria, Ari meets American photographer, Kim, and persuades her to follow him to Damascus where he attempts to complete his mission whilst keeping his true self hidden from Kim. Ari is out on his own and the mission proves to be not quite as straightforward as he has been led to believe….This is a real old-school spy novel, riveting and atmospheric, full of suspicious characters, political intrigue, danger and suspense. The book begins slowly as Kaplan sets the scene with incredible precision. As the plot twists and turns with dizzying regularity, the pace starts to pick up and draws the reader in until it reaches the last few chapters where the real story unfolds and everything links together, resulting in a tense and emotionally dramatic ending to the story.I think the characterisation in the book is clever and demonstrates that a person is rarely completely good or completely evil, the reality is more likely to fall somewhere in the middle. Ari Ben-Sion is an interesting protagonist. A washed up agent, frustrated, aware of his failures and with a need to make things right. He seems to hold on to a moral compass, more than some of his fellow secret service agents. He is deeply flawed, but little wonder given the world he inhabits. His love interest, Kim, is another interesting character. Ari is limited in what he can tell her, but how much of the secrecy can she take and at what point does his behaviour fall across the line of what she finds acceptable? Is there more to Kim than meets the eye?Despite the novel being almost 40 years old, it does not seem dated and that is most likely because the themes remain relevant in today’s world – those of moral dilemmas and conflicts. The story gives a vivid picture of the political landscape in 1977 Syria. In current day life, we hear a lot about ongoing tensions in this part of the world and it is easy to believe that the situation is not so different now, albeit with focus on different enemies and uneasy alliances created out of necessity between old enemies. The theme of relationships and friendships is also very prevalent throughout the story, showing how easy it is to misread someone’s intentions and how personal relationships does not necessarily supersede one’s duty.I am not overly familiar with the locations in Israel and Syria, however Kaplan has obviously put a great deal of effort into studying the locations, describing each city in detail, street by street and alley by alley, which really added to the authenticity of the story. Whilst reading, I could imagine Ari walking though the bustling maze of back street alleys in Damascus. The story made me curious as to the cities discussed in the book, particularly Damascus, and I did briefly stop reading in order to look at a few maps and photographs online.From what I can tell, Kaplan demonstrates a thorough grasp and understanding of the history in the area, giving the story a realistic and believable feel. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I really don’t know much about Middle-Eastern history and the book has made me interested to read up on the Syrian/Israeli conflicts during the 70’s and 80’s.Overall, whilst 70’s spy novels would not be my usual choice in books, I enjoyed The Damascus Cover more than I expected. I found it to be a timeless thriller, tense and suspenseful, with a historically interesting background. I now find myself interested to read the next book in the Jerusalem Spy Series. I am also interested to watch the film adaptation and hope that it does not stray too much from the book.

  • Steve Friedman
    2019-05-29 10:50

    This is a rare and unique thriller. I've now read it twice. Unique in that it's both fast moving, with a truly unexpected twist and equally importantly it has real depth by an author who knows the Middle East in a way few writers in this genre do. I also learned a great deal about the city of Damascus one of the truely interesting places in the Levant. Characters are in conflict, not only with the other side, but with elements on their own side. So this is a novel of great breadth. It's not always pretty. It is relentlessly interesting. Enjoy!

  • Lorraine Montgomery
    2019-05-23 04:56

    The Damascus Cover was first published in 1977, was translated into seven foreign languages and officially banned from the Eastern European market. It was out of print for the last 3 decades and now is rereleased in digital format as well as in paperback. It is the first book by Kaplan that I have read and I will certainly be looking for the next two in the series as well as the movie based on this one which is set to be released this year because this book defines thriller.Major Ari Ben-Sion of the Mossad Haelion Lemodiin Ubitachon has more than one passport. He has to because he's a spy. The passport he uses on his missions says he's Hans Hoffmann, "import-export magnate, ex-Nazi". He speaks four different languages with no trace of an accent; he could be a native of England, Germany, France or Argentina — it was hard to pin down. He had been in Dachau prison but not as a guard. There's a dream that haunts him and it's always in German.Dov Elon is another Israeli espionage agent. Captured in Damascus, the young man is giving away nothing no matter what torture they apply and Suleiman Sarraj is an expert at torture. Sarraj is determined to learn the identity of Operative 66, a sleeper agent highly placed in the Damascus power base.When Hoffman/Ben-Sion is recalled from Cyprus and given a desk job in Jerusalem, he's slightly miffed. At 55, he doesn't feel he's passed his prime although he has noticed he's slipped a little. His marriage is over and the loneliness of his chosen career is catching up with him. He's not as sharp as he used to be, knows just how much he can drink but gets there more than he used to, doesn't know that his cover is blown, and worse, has no idea that he's responsible for the capture of his young friend, Dov Elon. When the Colonel dangles a prospective mission just out of Ben-Sion's reach, Ari doesn't realize he's being set up — the Colonel expects Ari to talk him into letting him go to Damascus. It will be his final mission.This is an intricate, finely honed plot with a main character who has no idea who he can trust. The descriptions of the settings in both Syria and Israel are evocative — you can imagine the sights, the sounds, and the smells, see the routes being taken, a feel the pressure of the crowds in the bazaar and the emptiness of the nighttime countryside. You, too, can't tell who Ari can trust and who he can't. Betrayed on all sides and with no real understanding of the mission, he stumbles along with a false bravado, misplaced confidences, and only his personal loyalty and integrity to his cause to see him through to its completion. The ending will be a total surprise to him as well as to the reader.

  • Wendy
    2019-06-05 11:13

    Spies, lies and mission that seems nigh on impossible.Ari Ben-Sion is an agent of dubious reliability after his previous conduct in the field met with dire consequences.Feeling redundant, pushing papers in an office, Ari learns of a mission in Damascus and volunteers for the task. It’s a dangerous job, but someone’s got to do it. Soon, Ari finds himself effortlessly channelling a furniture procurer by the name of Hans Hoffman, an alto ego that will assist him in his role.In order to smuggle a group of children out of the city, Ari / Hans has been tasked with infiltrating the Nazi population, who, despite the end of the War, are still carrying out their persecution of the Jewish population there.The finger of doom appears to be relentlessly prodding our agent on this mission. Following a catalogue of mishaps, no shows, and his cover potentially being blown he finds himself sweating, and not because of the weather.The rendezvous date is getting closer. Cut off from any outside help Ari / Hans is faced with making rash decisions, but experience tells him that he cannot afford to make mistakes as the punishment that would befit a spy would be severe.Among the secrets there’s an added dash of love interest, as his time is spent in the company of a gorgeous photographer, Kim Johnson. Despite their involvement Ari keeps his true identity concealed, which encourages his lady friend to develop a furtive curiosity about him.There’s plenty of suspicion and certain events will lead you to feel compassion for this bloke out on a limb, although, after reading the book summary I’d geared myself up for more gripping suspense and drama throughout. Personally, I didn’t feel it picked up the ‘thrilling pace’ I’d anticipated until I’d almost reached the end of the book and the finale arrived with the most unexpected shock.Overall The Damascus Cover has a solid, steady plot and is set in a hostile, yet intriguing location. It’s certainly worth a look if you’re a spy thriller fan.(I’m grateful to the author for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

  • Nikki Bywater
    2019-06-01 09:06

    Ari Ben-Sion is a spy who has undergone a number of missions. Now feeling older and that he is been passed over missions to younger agents and sensing his last mission did not go all that well. In a last attempt to try and save his career he decides to accept a mission he would never usually even consider. The mission is to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. But all is not what it seems, when things start to go wrong and things do not fall into place. Then when he begins to fall for an American photographer, Ari's world is about to spin out of control putting everything at risk including his life.One of the things I really enjoy about reviewing books is that sometimes it allows you to step away from your comfort reading zone and to be able to read books you would never usually have ever considered reading and I would have missed out on so many good reads like this one. This spy, suspense novel really surprised me. I was afraid I may find it too complicated and that it would not hold my interest, however from page one I was gripped and pulled into the intense storyline and I could not put the book down. I am left wanting to read more and to find out what happens next. This great story is been made into a major motion picture and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen.

  • Christina
    2019-06-06 12:08

    A literary spy thriller with sweeping descriptions of landscapes and cities, flawed characters, and pressured relationships between friends and enemies, this novel is unlike any spy fiction I've read, both in literary sweep and pacing.Ari, a washed-out agent 'benched' for a slip on a mission, decides to revive his career by accepting a mission he would never otherwise have done. Throw in an American photographer and a love affair, unexpected occurrences, and characters with verve and breadth, and you have a great spy plot.The characters were well-drawn and human, and the start great at keeping the reader guessing as to how it all linked together. The pace, for me, was too slow-moving for a novel of its type. A great shame, really, because a condensed version would make a fantastic movie. Oh, wait...*I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

  • Helaine
    2019-05-19 09:53

    I could not put it down. The Damascus Cover is more than a thriller and a mystery ... it's a tour de force of the region. Kaplan's writing is more than compelling - many many levels above the formulaic thriller/suspense fiction on the Bestseller lists. Kaplan's intimate knowledge of the geography, politics, and people of the region took me on a thrill-ride filled with interesting characters, places, and situations. I've heard that a movie is coming out, and I'm not surprised. If you like Dan Brown, Umberto Eco, and others who take us on a journey of mystery and knowledge, you will love The Damascus Cover. Absolutely a 5-star read - you will not be disappointed! I'm looking forward to picking up Kaplan's next volume. Yes. Read it. And stay up all night!

  • Molly
    2019-05-26 04:16

    A brilliant spy thriller with plenty of twists, great locations and a fascinating background story. There is a wonderful authentic feel to the geographical settings and the time period. I'm not surprised to learn that there is a film coming made from the story.The Middle East is a complex background and Kaplan did a splendid job at incorporating this into the well paced novel.The suspense keeps up throughout and, as much as I hate using that phrase, this was a bit of a page turner for me that kept me hooked from page one. The prologue is particularly gripping.

  • Tom Langford
    2019-05-18 09:14

    A rare thriller that is both fast moving and one of depth. The locale is mostly a Damascus before the Civil War. There's a unique historical view of how that city, the oldest continuously inhabited city on the planet, we learn in the novel, teemed with life. It's actually an oasis rung with fruit trees. The author is well versed in the history and politics of the area and we learn much as the plot races. There are two twists, maybe three depending on how you count, that surprised me. A terrific and suspenseful novel.

  • Nina
    2019-05-24 06:55

    I met the author last year at a small speaking engagement. The book has been made into a film that is now awaiting US distribution. It is an amazing story with a somewhat surprising ending. I am now reading his second novel and enjoying it as well. It is a real page turner. It was written a number of years ago but so many of the issues of conflict between Palestine and Israel are still ongoing today.

  • Beverly Gray
    2019-06-15 10:15

    The Damascus Cover by Howard Kaplan is both a riveting thriller and a time capsule of the Middle East in 1977. Though it was originally published almost forty years ago, its vivid picture of social and political life in Syria sheds light on the turmoil that country is facing today. And its disturbing look at the tensions between Israel and her neighbors explains some of the sectarian animosity that continues to roil the region, as we know all too well.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-26 07:08

    I read a lot of spy stories and this is one of my favorites. It's got a lot of action and the love story between Ari and Kim feels very believable to me. I've always been a fan of the 1970s and this book really captures what I imagine the middle east was like at that time. I got the idea to review this book now because I heard there's a movie version coming out with Jonathan Rhys Meyers (sexy!). I hope they stick close to the book because I think it's a really good story.

  • Christoph Fischer
    2019-06-09 12:13

    "The Damascus Cover (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 1)" by Howard Kaplan is a gripping and intelligent spy thriller. It contains excellent depictions of the locations, great insights into the politics and times portrayed and a wide range of interesting and complex characters. Complexity is woven throughout this novel, which slows the pace but adds to the deeper enjoyment for this very satisfied reader.A solid plot with plenty of twists and surprises, engaging and hugely rewarding.

  • Maggie James
    2019-06-05 10:09

    The Damascus Cover is a gripping read, one I thoroughly enjoyed. Throughout the book, Ari Ben-Sion's attempts to salvage his career as a spy are at times desperate, at others ill-judged. The book is fast-paced, with more twists and turns than Monte Carlo. At times I could hear the muezzin, taste the olives, so beautifully does Kaplan describe the Damascene backdrop. A great read.

  • Mary Morris
    2019-06-11 08:09

    No Business As UsualThis book kept me guessing throughout. The author demonstrated what spying is really like. Villains on both sides abound. No one to trust and everyone is expendable. Happy endings are rare. This book was well written. Kept my interest with no skimming.

  • Scooby Doo
    2019-06-09 07:55

    DNF: 25%Somewhat bland spy story, the protagonist wasn't interesting enough for me to care about what happened to him. Author seemed more interested in talking about the city of Damascus than moving the story forward.

  • Shannon
    2019-06-10 04:01

    Not too much info out about the film adaptation of this one yet save casting, but I did discuss this title with Marina in episode 233 of Before the Dawn:

  • Robert D Foxx
    2019-05-21 07:02

    My reading of this book. Not well written. Puts Jewish state in bad light, when they use their own people and they are left to die.