INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Fast and thrilling . . . Life Undercover reads as if a John le Carré character landed in Eat Pray Love." —The New York Times
Amaryllis Fox's riveting memoir tells the story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine ops unit of the CIA, hunting the world's most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries while marrying and giving birth to a daughter
Amaryllis Fox was in her last year as an undergraduate at Oxford studying theology and international law when her writing mentor Daniel Pearl was captured and beheaded. Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied to a master's program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that predicted, with uncanny certainty, the likelihood of a terrorist cell arising in any village around the world. At twenty-one, she was recruited by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president. Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the Counterterrorism center. At twenty-two, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations training, sent from Langley to "the Farm," where she lived for six months in a simulated world learning how to use a Glock, how to get out of flexicuffs while locked in the trunk of a car, how to withstand torture, and the best ways to commit suicide in case of captivity. At the end of this training she was deployed as a spy under non-official cover--the most difficult and coveted job in the field as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia.
Life Undercover is exhilarating, intimate, fiercely intelligent--an impossible to put down record of an extraordinary life, and of Amaryllis Fox's astonishing courage and passion.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In the course of this thrilling memoir, we learn how real-life superspy Amaryllis Fox dealt with spy training and kept her double life under wraps while maintaining her personal relationships. Fox’s struggles with the world’s bad guys started early: Her childhood best friend was killed in the 1988 Pan Am bombing, and more than a decade later, her writing mentor Daniel Pearl was murdered by terrorists. After the CIA recruited her, Fox worked her way up to the agency’s highest ranks. Life Undercover is a study in holding it together and keeping a cool head. It’s an ideal read for anyone who aspires to always be two steps ahead.
Fox delivers a gripping memoir about the near decade she spent working for the CIA to help stop terrorism. The 2002 kidnapping and beheading by extremists of her writing mentor, journalist Daniel Pearl, compelled Fox to apply to the master's program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown University. Fox's thesis work caught the attention of a CIA official in residence at the school, and she enthrallingly discusses joining the CIA at 22 and then being selected to be part of the CIA's elite Clandestine Service, where her duties included mapping the connections between al Qaeda lieutenants. In her strange new world, every colleague has a bogus identity, and Fox's description of her wedding day is surreal: "I walk down the aisle, past work friends whose real names I'll never know," she writes. Fox's work to prevent terror attacks some of which she conducted while pregnant involved tracking arms deals and took her to places like Tunisia, where she connected with a Hungarian arms dealer she later recruited for the CIA, and to Pakistan, where she convinced militants not to go through with a planned bombing. Fox's CIA life ended after the birth of her daughter, who inspired her to shed her "mask" and work publicly for peace as a community builder. Fox masterfully conveys the exhilaration and loneliness of life undercover, and her memoir reads like a great espionage novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Insightful and Informative
Loved the perspective of a young female patriot. Many of the questions about logistics of life in the CIA were discussed, albeit brief. A great read.