Readers’ reviews of The Prisoner’s Wife

5.0 out of 5 stars
He accepts payment to track down one of the disappeared – no easy task. Macdonald’s writing is crisp
By Ned Browneon 5 August 2015

The Prisoner’s Wife is fiction wrapped in fact. It’s set during the era of extraordinary rendition, when supposed enemies of the US were flow from prison to prison, which were invariably located in countries where the Geneva Convention was largely ignored. Torture was rebranded as “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Set against this backdrop is one man’s search for the truth.

Macdonald introduces us to Shawn Maguire, an aging, troubled, suspended CIA agent, whose inner devils are ever-present. In need of money, he accepts payment to track down one of the disappeared – no easy task. Macdonald’s writing is crisp: it’s fast-paced, intriguing and utterly gripping. An intelligent thriller if ever there was one.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Breath-taking thriller, with some heart stopping twists and suspense. FABULOUS!!
By Jennifer Smithon 3 June 2014

I LOVED IT. Plenty of fast-paced action. Very enjoyable. James Bond, with a heart and those damned demons in his head. Will be buying more from this author, for sure!!

Intelligent Thriller
By Cyrilon 27 November 2012
This is an intelligent thriller that didn’t fail to excite. At first it jumped around with the chapters introducing new characters seemingly without connection, but this soon became a wonderful gripping tale I couldn’t put down. Highly recommend it.

5.0 out of 5 stars
The Prisoner’s Wife is an exception
By P. M. Leithon 20 November 2012

At the ripe old age of 72, the pile of unread books by my bedside is becoming oppressive, and I don’t have time to waste any on thrillers. But The Prisoner’s Wife is an exception. Yes, there are bits that are classic spy novel: the undertone of fear; peaks of terror, occasional violence, the hunt, betrayal, bewilderment.

But the characters and the plot are not ordinary. An aging ex-CIA man, given to introspection and talking to his dead wife, a feisty young woman who engages the reader’s sympathy and the hero’s heart; a tale of “extraordinary rendition” set mostly in Europe and North Africa, but governed by Bush politics in the Middle East. The heartlessness and indifference of rulers, the cruelty of war, and the duplicity of governments is set against the individual’s striving to set things right, his search for love and tenderness, for a bit of peace and a place in the sun. It is beautifully told.
So much so that I ordered Macdonald’s next book, The Kingmaker, not yet out in the UK, but published in the US.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Absorbing
By A Burnson 1 November 2012

I set aside the book I was reading – which was a good book – because I got pulled into this one. This espionage thriller has a great pace, vivid, fantastic dialogue and characters which are introduced succinctly and plausibly, then developed within the narrative very well. The plotting is tight, the suspense just right and I enjoyed very much the handling of the personal with the political. The question of trust runs as a deep vein throughout this text. Thoroughly would recommend. Would welcome too, a sequel or prequel – or both.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Believably scary vision of rendition
By niggleon 20 October 2012

Very well written, believable story of rendition and its consequences. Taut, well-drawn characters and a real feel for the enviroment and locations through which the story moves. It covers similar territory to Homeland but from almost the obverse; the morality of all the participants is exposed in a painstaking and painful way. We are left hanging at the end …is there a sequel on the way?

5.0 out of 5 stars
Page turner
By LJHopeon 19 October 2012

I couldn’t put this book down. It was sexy, action packed and a page turner to the very end. Great fun to read!

5.0 out of 5 stars
A great thriller straight from the news headlines
By Amaon 8 October 2012

I found this totally gripping. It’s fast paced and tightly plotted, with well-rounded characters. The writing is spare but littered with really beautiful observations and the dialogue is sharp and full of witty one-liners.
The author obviously knows what he’s writing about and the insights into the workings of the CIA are fascinating, giving a deeper resonance to this brilliant thriller, which explores the lives of those for whom extraordinary rendition, water-boarding, Guantanamo Bay, and the fabrication of WMDs, aren’t just things you read about in the newspapers.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Gripping
By BenGon 8 October 2012

A taut, tense, gripping rollercoaster of a thriller written in a very compelling style by somebody who’s done their homework. It picks you up on the first page and never let’s you go! A great read.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Edge-of-your-seat thriller
By Saraon 29 September 2012

I’ve just finished The Prisoner’s Wife and was absolutely gripped by it. It’s an intelligent, fast-paced read with plenty of jeopardy.

The story plunges you into the deep and murky world of the CIA, with an elusive love affair causing further chaos. The action is deftly handled, but I also really enjoyed the quieter, more thoughtful moments of this novel – reflections of the main character who is struggling to come to terms with no longer being in his prime. There’s wit and sharp perception here.

All in all, a great read.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Gripping
By History Girlon 25 September 2012

The Prisoner’s Wife is that rare breed: a page-turner that refuses to sacrifice intelligence for thrills. Macdonald’s characterisation is excellent – the flawed Macguire makes for a compelling and human protagonist – and his laconic style is perfectly pitched. This is an author in complete control of his material.

5.0 out of 5 stars
The prisoner’s wife
By Unbiased Prueon 24 September 2012

As an expert on political and policier thrillers of which I read a lot, this was a joy. Swift moving and thoughtful, good local factual observations as the action moved from place to place, and country to country. Relationships wisely observed. Certainly a page turner, and hope there will be more to come.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Read it even if you dont think its your thing…
By janeNYneton 22 September 2012

Before I read The prisoner’s Wife’ the very thought of ‘political’ and ‘thriller’ in juxtaposition seemed something of an oxymoron, and though I am some way from requiring pink covers on my books, the thought of extraordinary rendition did fill me with some trepidation. However I was won over by page 6. The writing is vivid and it comes as no surprise that MacDonald is also a successful scriptwriter. Along with the action thrills and spills, the book is particularly moving. Anyone who has lost someone they love will identify with the minutiae of grief. Toward the end, I was so tied up with the main characters I was forced to indulge in a 3 hour reading marathon to discover their fate. Highly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars
A finely-written and suspenseful thriller
By S. Pensoon 20 September 2012

This is one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year – and I’ve read a lot! Gerard MacDonald reveals the world of lies and betrayals created by those who claim to be making the world safe for freedom and democracy. His characters are completely believable, and the narrative unfolds with skill and a masterly touch. Highly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars
enthralling
By Raphaelon 20 September 2012

Thrillers generally don’t thrill me. I usually don’t see the point, they are invariably badly written, they tell me little about the world and I have to force myself to read them. This one is different, very different. Its about the world around me, its sensitively written (the dialogue is believable) and it informs hugely about rendition and the dirt of global politics. But, most of all, its enthralling, even if you dont care about the wider issues which the author addresses. The ending – last page stuff- is a knockout. Try this test – can you stretch the reading out beyond two days? Oh, and try and guess the ending

5.0 out of 5 stars
The Prisoners Wife
By Azion 19 September 2012

Fantastic book! It normally takes me a while to get into a book but this was a real page turner. Good read – highly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars
The Prisoner’s Wife
By EV Antonon 19 September 2012

Macdonald’s highbrow thriller about US rendition is a fast-paced,absorbing read. His characters are complex and smart and they take you to places you’ve never imagined. I can’t recommend ‘The Prisoner’s Wife’ more highly.

5.0 out of 5 stars
an addictive, intelligent thriller
By J J O’Neillon 19 September 2012

Espionage thrillers are not really my thing, but ‘The Prisoner’s Wife’ ticks all the boxes. It has the intelligence and characterisation and insight you’d normally associate with more so-called high-brow literary ventures, but ‘obeys’ its genre by having more than its fair share of thrills and twists and danger. Macdonald writes with assurance and humanity and a wry wit – and he’s clearly done his research when it comes to some of the dark places of the War on Terror. It’s the type of novel you can race through in one or two sittings (or, if you’re a slow reader like me, five or six). I would love to read more from this author.The Prisoners Wife

5.0 out of 5 stars
slick, fast paced, political thriller
By Hekateon 19 September 2012

The Prisoner’s Wife is one of those books you can’t put down until you’ve finished. I was primarilly interested in it because of the political backdrop as thrillers are not my first choice in fiction, but had recently finished ‘Black Water Rising’ by Attica Locke and was looking for a similar read set in a contemporary backdrop. The Prisoner’s Wife certainly didn’t dissapoint. Macdonald’s characters are brilliantly well developped and flawed with the ageing, sex-addicted, broke and violent Shawn Maguire easily fitting the part of a classical anti-hero for the age of terrorism, crying out for a number of sequels. Danielle Baptist, the prisoner’s wife of the title, is an equally seductive character whose limits of innocence I was compelled to find out. Macdonald clearly knows his subject when it comes to portraying the shady dealings of American intelligence and the realities of terrorism. Combine all this with a relentless pace, superb dialogue and a jaw-dropping ending and you’ve got all the components of a classic modern day spy thriller.

5.0 out of 5 stars
A cracking good read!
By Lizzie the lushon 17 September 2012

This is not the type of book I normally read, but a friend recommended it, so I gave it a go. What a wonderful surprise! It is beautifully written, the hero is totally believable and you are willing him on all the way. The balance between the sensitivity and the brutality makes for a real page-turner! I loved it!