French Spy Novelist Is Must Read— for Real Spies

Gerard de Villiers is plugged in: NYT profile

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2013 4:57 PM CST

(Newser) – American readers might not be familiar with French spy novelist Gerard de Villiers, unless they happen to work for the CIA. The New York Times has a fascinating profile of the prolific, 83-year-old author, whose racy novels—wildly popular outside the US—have an uncanny ability to provide accurate, inside information about foreign regimes, terror plots, and the like. Some examples:

  • His latest, Le Chemin de Damas, is set in Syria and not only provides a rare (and apparently correct) look at Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, it describes an attack on a top Syrian facility a month before it happened. "Prophetic," says one Mideast analyst.

  • His Les Fous de Benghazi focused on jihadis in Benghazi and included previously secret descriptions of the CIA command center there, six months before the attack that killed US ambassador Chris Stevens.
  • In 1980, he wrote of an Islamist plot to kill Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. A year later, it took place. “The Israelis knew it was going to happen and did nothing," he explains.
De Villiers has a vast network of diplomatic sources who apparently enjoy seeing their work turned into pulpy potboilers, explains the Times' Robert Worth. Read the full article here, which includes an example of Worth himself getting scooped by the author in Beirut years ago.

Gerard de Villiers' latest novel seems to have inside information on the Syrian regime.
Gerard de Villiers' latest novel seems to have inside information on the Syrian regime.   (Amazon)
Gerard de Villiers, in a frame grab off YouTube.
Gerard de Villiers, in a frame grab off YouTube.   (YouTube)
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