The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle against ISIS

February 23, 2021
The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle against ISIS

From the former New York Times bureau chief in Baghdad comes thegripping and heroic story of an elite, top-secret team of unlikelyspies who triumphed over ISIS.The Spymaster of Baghdad tells the dramatic yet intimate accountof how a covert Iraqi intelligence unit called “the Falcons” cametogether against all odds to defeat ISIS. The Falcons, comprised ofordinary men with little conventional espionage background,infiltrated the world’s most powerful terrorist organization,ultimately turning the tide of war against the terrorist group andbringing safety to millions of Iraqis and the broader world.Centered around the relationship between two brothers, Harithal-Sudani, a rudderless college dropout who was recruited to theFalcons by his all-star younger brother Munaf, and their eponymousunit commander Abu Ali, The Spymaster of Baghdad follows theiremotional journey as Harith volunteers for the most dangerousmission imaginable. With piercing lyricism and thrilling prose,Coker’s deeply-reported account interweaves heartfelt portraits ofthese and other unforgettable characters as they navigate thestreets of war-torn Baghdad and perform heroic feats of cunning andcourage.The Falcons’ path crosses with that of Abrar, a young,radicalized university student who, after being snubbed by the headof the Islamic State’s chemical weapons program, plots her ownattack. At the near-final moment, the Falcons intercept Abrar’sdeadly plan to poison Baghdad’s drinking water and arrest her inthe middle of the night—just one of many covert counterterrorismoperations revealed for the first time in the book.Ultimately, The Spymaster of Baghdad is a page-turning accountof wartime espionage in which ordinary people make extraordinarysacrifices for the greater good. Challenging our perceptions ofterrorism and counterterrorism, war and peace, Iraq and the widerMiddle East, American occupation and foreign intervention, TheSpymaster of Baghdad is a testament to the power of personal choiceand individual action to change the course of history—in a timewhen we need such stories more than ever.