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. (Read more Gerard de Villiers