Phantom Orbit: A Thriller de David Ignatius

de David Ignatius - Género: English
libro gratis Phantom Orbit: A Thriller


A subtle and masterful novel from a prescient voice on the cutting edge of spy literature.

David Ignatius is known for his uncanny ability, in novel after novel, to predict the next great national security headline. In Phantom Orbit, he presents a story both searing and topical, with stakes as far-reaching as outer space. It follows Ivan Volkov, a Russian student in Beijing, who discovers an unsolved puzzle in the writings of the seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler. He takes the puzzle to a senior scientist in the Chinese space program and declares his intention to solve it. Volkov returns to Moscow and continues his secret work. The puzzle holds untold consequences for space warfare.

The years pass, and they are not kind to Volkov. After the loss of his son, a prosecutor who’d been too tough on corruption, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Volkov makes the fraught decision to contact the CIA. He writes: Satellites are your enemies, especially your own. . . . Hidden codes can make time stop and turn north into south. . . . If you are smart, you will find me.

With this timely novel, Ignatius addresses our moment of renewed interest in space exploration amid geopolitical tumult. Phantom Orbit brims with the author’s vital insights and casts Volkov as the man who, at the risk of his life, may be able to stop the Doomsday clock.


"Engrossing.…This is contemporary cloak-and-dagger intrigue at its finest."
― Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A space yarn filled with tension and excitement."
― Kirkus Reviews

From the Back Cover

Praise for David Ignatius


"Tension, suspense, betrayal, and revenge…David Ignatius is the best in the world at this stuff."
Lee Child

"No spy novelist knows the world of American spookery better than Ignatius…His latest complex, well-informed work is one of his best."
Adam Lebor, Financial Times


"A fascinating, beautifully textured thriller."
Richard Lipez, Washington Post

"The Quantum Spy is David Ignatius at the top of his game! A truly thrilling, superbly crafted spy novel that focuses on pivotal contemporary issues."
General (Ret.) David Petraeus

"A work for now and forever. A contemporary adversary: China. A contemporary problem: quantum computing. And the ageless battle of spy versus spy. Couldn’t put it down."
Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA


"An entertaining, high-tech ride…Mr. Ignatius…injects the plot with his wide-ranging knowledge of history, geopolitics and national security issues, while giving the reader an intimate sense of the tradecraft employed by his characters."
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

About the Author

David Ignatius is a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post and has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for four decades. He has written several New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Washington, DC.

Reseñas Varias sobre este libro

This is one of those books that gets a grip on you right away. The Prologue immediately entranced me. A masterful novel and what beautiful writing. It made me really feel for the main characters. Without a doubt this is my favorite book so far this year and it will take a extraordinary book to knock it out first place for me before years end. Thanks to Goodreads for the Advanced Reading Copy of the book to read and review.favorite-books giveaways14 s Anne577 4

Using the word “thriller” feels playing fast and loose with the dictionary. Okay, but slow build and very little tension/action. 20245 s Mr.84

I highly recommend this novel due to its timeliness, depth of characters and surroundings, the thrilling plot line and the prescient observations of Mr. Ignatius as to global concerns about reliance on satellite communication to keep the modern technological world running smoothly.

Seldom is a novel so in tuned to current affairs that as you read this fiction, similar and parallel events are happening in the news of the moment. This novel is not only thrilling as a stand alone work of intrigue and fast paced action. It also thrills the reader to realize the real world consequences of the story being told by an author that truly understands the actions of nations and the actors that move forward their own personal and national aspirations.

Mr. Ignatius is a very talented writer that has created a complex and compelling story of characters that fully engage you in their complicated lives. The story moves from China to Russia and the U.S. Ignatius' writing describes each with such detail and clarity that you both feel you are there while feeling you are learning a sociological and historical insight provided by someone with incredible insights to the world. Ignatius masterfully creates a storyline of intrigue melding three competing worlds of influence. Each nation has its own history and view of its future. Each on a different path. In Phantom Orbit, all of these paths or orbits intersect and collide. The reader is treated to quite a thrilling ride through history from 1995 through 2022 incorporating the War in Ukraine.

The story line is centered on Ivan Volkov a Russian too poor to attend university in his homeland. Instead he gets recruited to a top research university in Beijing. Here is lured by Chinese nationalists with their own plans for a future in space and satellite technology. Volkov excels in this area of study. Plot twist, his mother back in Russia needs him so he leaves. As expected once back, it proves almost impossible to ever leave the tentacles of a new Russian leader, Putin.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the essence of the intrigue relates to the explosion of satellite development in space as new technologies evolve. As does the dependence of so many daily technological givens such as GPS and cell service.

What if there was a hidden Trojan horse set up by any of the three major nations lying dormant in the complex structure of these satellites? so many of our automobiles, parts from around the world are incorporated into a basic sedan without knowledge of the buyer of the car. Can a chip from a foreign country suddenly stop your car from running? Who is to say?

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy from Goodreads. As I am reading, the news emerges about Russia setting up nuclear capabilities in space. Navalny is murdered by Putin. China and Russia seem to be friends again against the U.S. The amazing Mr. Ignatius seems to able to predict events before they happen.

That is testimony enough for the reader to seek out this exciting novel. I have purposefully left out details about the story line and various characters. I would hate to ruin the reader's experience of delving into the plot and complicated situations of the main characters. Please seek out this novel and you will not be disappointed.

Thanks to Goodreads for this privilege to read this advance copy.owned5 s Stephanie332

I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner.
Wow! This was fantastic! I couldn't put it down. I will definitely be reading more by this author. Highly recommend.first-reads4 s Kari Clark15

I won this book off the giveaway and I must say that it is a very complex book it has to do with satellite wars and the science behind it but it is written in a way that's very easy to understand. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in that kinda field.2 s Laura5

Excellent read. I would have rated it a 4 but once you put political bias in, it ruins it for me. I don’t politics in fiction novels. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 2 s1 comment Tom Walsh706 17

Ignatius weaves current insider Knowledge into Prescience.

The author takes a very long time to move all the chess pieces into place but eventually sculpts an important piece of Fiction into a cautionary tale that may soon become critically important Non-Fiction.

The most valuable take-away is the portrayal of the all too common reluctance of any bureaucracy to understand and accept the obvious value of the outliers in their midst.

Four stars. ****1 Regan1,840 83

Pretty disappointing read. The blurb made it sound a white knuckle-can't-put-down read. Instead it read a male version of a pity party women's fiction. The writing was what surprised me the most -- it was all telling a junior high student reading their book report outloud. Not one character was remotely able. 1 Marc M.Levey21

David Ignatius never disappoints. Phantom Orbit is riveting up to the last page. The technical detail in the book is eye opening and insightful. I can hardly wait until his next book as I have read all 12 of his works1 Cindy1,149 9

3.5 rounded up. This was slow moving for a spy novel. Interesting (and a bit scary) insights into how satellite technology is being used to run a ground war in the Ukraine. Some spycraft too. audiobooks sci-fi1 Bruce Raterink484 26

This one just wasn't for me. The storyline is fascinating, from a "ripped from the headlines" way but the story itself was slow and tedious. The book is well researched and the author clearly knows his subject but got bogged down in so many details that I found myself skimming some sections. I didn't find the characters particularly engaging, and barely cared what happened to them at the somewhat abrupt ending. I can't recommend this one.

Thanks to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for an advanced reader copy1 Andrea George224 3

This fictional thriller was well written, with a unique and original plot, interesting characters, and settings that were well described. I love it when a novel has you "hanging on the edge of your seat", and "Phantom Orbit" did just that! Even though this novel is fictional, I kept thinking, "Could this possibly happen in our future?"
In summary, the plot follows the life of Russian, Ivan Volkov. The novel starts out in the 1990's, as Ivan finds himself as a student studying astronomy and mathematics in Beijing. Over the next 27 years, Ivan discovers and keeps working on (in secret), an unsolved puzzle in the writings of 17th century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, his idol. He meets many interesting characters along the way. However, who can he trust? Who is not what they appear to be? The plot is full of twists and turns and the ending was a work of a truly talented author. A definite must read!1 Brian Miller203 9

This was a good book overall, but it was a little slow in spots. I found myself skimming through some sections. I love the unique idea and plot and Ignatius does a great job with the research needed to pull this book together. A very prescient fear of what is ly to come in the near future. The characters were well developed but I felt the ending came together and ended too quickly. Others really d this book a lot more than me so maybe it is just my tastes. I have read other books by the author and really enjoyed them. I look forward to reading the next book by the author and hoping it hits my tastes a bit more.1 Silver Screen Videos351 6

Thanks to decades of science fiction action tales, most people view satellite warfare as something akin to the Empire’s Death Star launching a beam of massive energy at an unsuspecting planet below. But the reality is more mundane but potentially almost as catastrophic. The world relies on an array of communication satellites the United States GPS system. Disrupt that system, and the result could be chaotic. That’s the premise of David Ignatius’ new political thriller, “Phantom Orbit.” The book is a fascinating read once the novel gets into orbit in its last quarter. But the time it takes to reach orbit in its first 300 pages can, at times, resemble watching a lengthy NASA countdown.

“Phantom Orbit” follows the lives and careers of its three main characters over a quarter century from 1996 to the Ukrainian War present day of 2022. Ivan Volkov is a brilliant Russian physics student who goes to China for graduate school. There, he meets a Chinese scientist, Cao Lin, who became the mentor of the Russian student. He also meets a young American student, Edith Ryan. Edith rebuffs Ivan’s advances because she is a fledgling CIA agent looking to recruit him. Eventually, they return to their native countries and embark on their careers.

Some 25 years later, Ivan is a scientist at a prestigious Russian Space Research Institute. He has soured on both his native Russia and China, but he remains fascinated by GPS and other global positioning satellite networks. He suspects Cao Lin has detected a weakness in the American system and is waiting for an opportune time to exploit it. So, Ivan reaches out to the only American contact he knows, Edith, who left him an address card when they parted ways years earlier.

The rest of “Phantom Orbit” is a primer on 21st-century spycraft. Ivan’s message to Edith was necessarily cryptic, but worrisome enough to convince the CIA to arrange a meeting. From there, they must figure out a way to get Ivan out of the country so they can debrief him. Ivan’s information could be invaluable, but it also could be a Russian disinformation effort meant to mislead the Americans. And by now, Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Ukrainian forces rely on GPS information supplied by the United States, so its loss could be fatal to the war effort. But getting Ivan out of Russia in a time of war becomes challenging.

The last 50 pages of “Phantom Orbit” are as suspenseful as you’ll find in the best modern-day espionage fiction. There are no car chases or shootouts, but readers will see how covert operations work. David Ignatius is an award-winning journalist for the “Washington Post,” who is an expert on CIA operations. He has extensively researched the science behind “Phantom Orbit,” so the book’s central hypothesis is chillingly plausible. Ignatius has the rare ability to describe the book’s scientific basis in terms the average reader can understand without bogging the story down with wonky information dumps.

However, Ignatius makes a serious mistake in the book’s first 300 pages. He could have set the stage in a short prologue that introduced the main characters and filled in other essential details in flashbacks. Instead, he tries to cover the lives and careers of the three main characters over 25 years. The result is both too fragmented and too detailed. Ivan disappears from the storyline entirely from the late 1990s until almost the present day. Since he was the book’s main character until this time, his absence from the narrative leaves a void. The emphasis then shifts to Edith’s career as a CIA operative. This includes a lengthy discussion of a #MeToo incident in which Edith was assaulted by a superior during her first assignment. This incident and its resolution will probably interest readers and strike them as especially timely in today’s workplace environment. But they have nothing to do with the main storyline or Edith’s actions once Ivan contacts her after a lengthy absence.

As readers navigate the first 300 pages of “Phantom Orbit,” they will probably wonder when the author will get to the “good stuff.” We learn a good bit about the history of Ivan, Cao Lin, and Edith, but they aren’t interesting characters. Much of what we learn is irrelevant, trivial, or both. Ivan fields various job offers and recruitment pitches during his stay in China, none of which make for exciting reading. Then, he disappears from the narrative for over 100 pages and 20 years. The bits and pieces readers learn about Ivan’s interest in GPS systems hint at the ultimate central storyline, but they aren’t interesting enough to keep readers eager to learn more. This makes for 300 pages of a thriller that’s nearly lacking in thrills.

The eventual payoff is worth the wait for genre fans. The book’s last 50 pages would make a nifty novella. Ignatius also gives most readers some valuable insight into the operation of GPS and similar satellites. However, readers shouldn’t have to rely on the assurances of a reviewer that slogging through dozens of pages of dull material will lead to an exciting conclusion. That’s especially true when the conclusion has little to do with much of that dull material. I’m giving “Phantom Orbit” a three-star rating and the mildest of recommendations, more for the value of the author’s research than the story itself.

NOTE: The publisher graciously provided me with a copy of this book through NetGalley. However, the decision to review the book and the contents of this review are entirely my own.
2 s Mal WarwickAuthor 31 books448


A real war in space might already have broken out in the skies above Ukraine. In Low Earth Orbit (LEO) a thousand miles up, some 4,000 Space X Starlink satellites share space with the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. As we learned in 2022, Ukraine’s armed forces depended on Starlink for communications in the field—and recent news reports suggest Russia may be blocking its signals to Ukrainian drones. But a greater threat lies 11,000 miles above the Earth in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). There, thirty-one GPS satellites circle the Earth twice a day, beaming precise information about time and location to hundreds of thousands of US and allied military users, including air traffic control, cell phone networks, and disaster relief services. Disrupting GPS could be catastrophic. Sometime spy novelist David Ignatius brings this threat to life in his latest thriller, Phantom Orbit.


Ignatius’ novel opens as a Russian scientist, Ivan Volkov, secretly sends a message to the CIA with compelling information about this threat. “You are blind to the danger from above,” he writes. “Satellites are your enemies, especially your own. You have 16 ground monitors and 11 antennas to run your global navigation system. Do you trust it? That is only the beginning. Hidden codes can seem to make time stop and turn north into south. They will freeze your world and everything in it. Warning messages may be tricks. Beware.” But Langley ignores Volkov’s warning. So, he turns instead to contacting Edith Ryan, a young American he knew when both were graduate students at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He was convinced then she was an officer of the CIA and hopes she’ll get the message.


In fact, when she and Ivan Volkov were falling in love in Beijing, Ryan had been only a candidate for the Agency. But she had since enlisted and eventually risen to a senior post in the Directorate of Science and Technology, where she had become a specialist in satellites. And, working independently, she has uncovered troubling information about work underway in China that could threaten the GPS system in just the way Volkov fears. Ryan has learned that Chen Cao, a shadowy Chinese adviser to the Central Military Commission, is chairing a “special committee” that is obviously working to exploit the vulnerabilities in US satellites. And we soon learn that Chen Cao had singled out Ivan Volkov for special attention in Beijing, making multiple attempts to recruit him for China.

These three characters—Ivan Volkov, Edith Ryan, and Chen Cao—will hold our attention to the end through the twists and turns of this fascinating story.


Writing in the Washington Post this week, Alma Katsu notes, “Phantom Orbit draws back the curtain and shows how the deliberatively murky world of intelligence and espionage really works.” And she should know. Katsu is a former CIA officer and herself an accomplished spy novelist (Red Widow, Red London). But the novel also reveals a great deal about how much our society depends on the GPS system and how vulnerable we all are to anything that might disrupt it.

Phantom Orbit is full of technical detail Ignatius obviously gleaned from his innumerable contacts in the US defense establishment. (He names many in his acknowledgements.) Another, less skillful writer might have slowed this story to a crawl while explaining the detail. But Ignatius moves the plot along smartly. Katsu questions whether the novel should be called a thriller. But I don’t. The threat Ignatius highlights in Phantom Orbit is so terrifying that fear drives the story along at a breakneck pace.


David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs column for The Washington Post and is the author of twelve spy novels. After ten years as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, he moved to the Post, where he has worked since 1986. He has received numerous awards for his journalism.

Ignatius was born in 1950 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father was a former Secretary of the Navy and President of the Washington Post. He is of Armenian descent on his father’s side. Ignatius grew up in Washington, DC, and studied political theory at Harvard College and economics at Kings College, Cambridge. He lives in Washington with his wife and their three daughters.mysteries-thrillers Carole Barker279 19

A disillusioned Russian scientist alerts the US to a dangerous line of space research.

Ivan Volkov was a bright student fascinated with astronomy and physics. Growing up in an industrial town with ordinary parents it was not certain that he would ever achieve his dreams, and when his father died and money ran out he had to leave his university in Russia and instead study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Chinese were willing to pay the best students to come and study at their universities, hoping to then keep them working in research to advance Chinese technology. While there Ivan catches the eye of Cao Lin, a man who works within the highest ranks of academic research and industrial circles. Ivan also meets and falls in love with Edith Ryan, a fellow international student from the US. He soon discovers that everyone around him has an agenda beyond mere admiration for his scholastic achievements; things end badly with Edith, whom he suspects is working for the CIA, and he is summoned back to Russia when his mother’s health deteriorates. Cao Lin does his best to tempt Ivan to stay and continue his work in space technology, but Ivan wants no part of it….his ties to Russia run deep. Years later, Ivan has a broken marriage, a son whom he adores who has become a federal prosecutor investigating government corruption, and an FSB handler who keeps tabs on what he does. When his son is found dead after a suspicious “accident”, in a manner not uncommon to others who try to investigate well-connected people who use their jobs and contacts to create personal fortunes, Ivan realizes two things: the Chinese and Russian governments are working together to find ways to overtake the US in dominating military and commercial space domains (and long term planning in that regard is coming to fruition), and he needs to bring what he knows to the attention of the Americans. He tries reaching out to the only person who might be able to help….Edith, the woman who broke his heart. Will he be believed, and will he be able to prevent a major shift in geopolitical dominance?
Phantom Orbit is a well-paced thriller that looks at what is definitely the next field of battle for international dominance, space. When the US created a new military division known as the Space Force many laughed, but it turns out that there is a lot happening in that arena that has nothing to do with who is landing on the moon or sending Rovers to Mars. It’s all about satellites and enhancing GPS systems, and who can optimize what their country has for resources. Wars are being waged based on information from above, weapons are setting targets based on data collected from orbiting satellites. The two main characters are both well-versed in the technologies that affect the world in this arena, and both have struggled within their careers. Ivan wanted nothing more that to be a scientist, allowed the freedom to explore within his chosen field, but has continually been ensnared by political priorities, while Edith was a woman in a male-dominated intelligence field who was never forgiven for what happened with Ivan in China, and whose instincts and capabilities were no longer fully trusted. The roles each have played and will ultimately again play in China’s long game strategy to become the dominant world force, the war in Ukraine and Russia’s shifting fortunes, and the petty jealousies and egos that are rife in any government agency are all interwoven with the underlying mystery. Plenty of false leads and twists to keep the reader guessing….it is never entirely clear who can be trusted. Fans of espionage novels, especially of authors Charles Cumming, Paul Vidich and David McCloskey, should add David Ignatius to their list of authors to read. Phantom Orbit is a well-though out and timely thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Many thanks to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for allowing me early access to this intriguing novel.1 Christine292

I don't read thrillers very often but this one caught my attention because of its timely nature. The story starts in 1995, but it carries through to 2022, right through Corvid and the intense political dangers of all sorts that we heard about daily and that seemed to increase with every hour. Ivan is a brilliant graduate student in radio astronomy searching for a school where he can finish his education. He cannot afford the university in his own country, a newly "free" Russia, America doesn't want him, but the Chinese welcome him with open arms but they keep a close eye on him. The intrigue begins here. He meets fine mentors and enjoys his classes. He also encounters folks who seem to know everything about him. Are they watching him? Why? He finds an unexpected girl, an American, and this big, shy, brilliant Russian falls in love but it strangely breaks for no good reason. Why again? Who is she really?

I d this book so much because it IS NOT full of crisis and drama. It is a slow burn, a trip through the life of Ivan Volkov as he tries to survive in China, then back in Moscow, not quite knowing who to trust as he pursues what should be a rewarding career. He understands too much, he is too smart, and various vying governments know it. This is the heart of the thrill. Over the course of his working life, satellite technology has taken on worldwide importance, with just about everything that moves depending upon it. As distrust and turmoil in the world increase, Ivan sees something, figures something out, that scares him to death. His quest to figure out what to do is fascinating and dreadful. The different ways that China, Russia, and the US view things and do things are written well and are kind of mind boggling. The cat and mouse game that this sincere scientist and jaded man must play to survive as he is catapulted into an international mess is riveting. David Ignatius is a fine writer and he makes clear that this is a book of fiction but, considering the state of world affairs, it is very believable. My favorite quote: "There is a kind of parallel rationality that is indistinguishable from madness". Whew. You can say that again! This is a smart book with excellent characters, pacing that pleased me, and a satisfying ending, although I would have d an epilog.
1 2 comments Kristine2,748 35

Another "new to me" author. The storyline of this book actually mimics some of the things going on in the real world today. We follow the main protagonist Ivan Volkov through his lifetime from the 1960's up to current day. Ivan is a brilliant student when the book begins who has a deep rooted interest in space. Did I mention that Ivan is a Russian? Well, he is.

He is brilliant and soon garners the eye of a couple of China's most intelligent scientists and because of that, also regains attention from his home country of Russia. The plotline centers around the development of space satellites and the various countries who are in a race to corner the market with their new technologies. Not to mention the fact that each of these countries, including the US, are spying on each other to try to steal valuable secrets.

For me, the pacing was a little too slow. It felt the entire book was just a long setup to try to get to the climax. We had to learn a lot of information, both about his life and about the field of space development. There is a surface level romantic interest that occurs during his college years, but after that, we are mainly dealing with Ivan's journey and all of the people trying to leverage his talents.

I listened to this on audio and while I tend to really Edoardo Ballerini, even he couldn't help sustain my interest to the level of what I would consider a "fantastic thriller" to be.

On a side note, even though this book seems to be following an actual timeline of real time events (i.e. Russia's invasion of Ukraine) the fact that the author felt the need to insert his political views was something that, at least to me, pulled me out of the book. Honestly, it is neither here nor there, but it felt unnecessary. audio-version fiction mystery ...more Kirk Weikart502 28

Ivan Volkov hates Russia. His father dies after a hard life as a steelworker in a small town. He is a brilliant mathematician and student, but runs out of money while attending Moscow State University. In searching for a future, he discovers an opportunity to study at a university in China. While in China he is approached by several important people.

His life takes many twists and turns, but his scientific mind discovers some big secrets and decades later he reaches out to his old acquaintances.

The US, Russia and China develop satellites for many purposes. Ultimately, military uses become all important. What would happen if war started in space?

The plot revolves around a handful of main characters; Americans, Russians and Chinese. Eventually characters come to meet each other again. At times the plot is well shrouded; at other times the reader can see all the way to the end of the book. Isn't it ironic that characters who are so brilliant in science and technology cannot seem to understand certain clues outside their academic fields.

The science and technology that the author tracks is above my level of understanding. This may deter and turn away some readers.first-reads Linda Munro1,909 26

I received this ARC courtesy of the Author, Publisher, and GoodReads. I would to explain briefly what normally occurs when I read a book of this caliber I research what was written, in this case, I researched the author instead. He is indeed a journalist with the Washington Post, one of two newspapers I trust; therefore I have as of yet NOT researched the actual novel.

Will the world realize what is happening when Chinese satellites begin to realign in space or is it a countdown to doomsday?

Does a Russian scientist have all of the facts, or is he about to leak the biggest story the world has ever heard?

I would classify this as an 'old-fashioned' thriller, the thrill builds as the story continues. The backstory is appropriate to the story, not too much just enough to give the reader an accurate picture.

I took away one subtle message, people accept what they are told, never question, and never worry about the truth.

Great book, a lot about the world that we never question! Rayrumtum431 4

The first thing to say about this book, it is not a thriller despite what the cover claims. Thrillers don't usual stretch about over 25 years as this does. Despite that, it is not a slam on the book. The book starts with a prequel of a Russian scientist serving as a virtual walk-in on the CIA website. Needless to say most walk-ins are whack jobs so the Agency carefully this one before deciding to take no action.
There are three main characters: a Russian scientist interested in space physics, a Chinese scientist with similar interests on satellites, and a CIA employee working for the Directorate of Science and Technology. Over the years they are apart but their careers progress.
I d this novel because there was so much accurate in it. Anyone who has worked in the IC will find much familiar including when complaints are filed against a Chief of Station who assaulted her. Plus it is so timely it gets up to the war in Ukraine. A must read for anyone who loves espionage stories.fiction Matthew Barmack237 2

Pretty typical David Ignatius. I generally his books because they reflect current events and seem to have realistic details about politics, national security, and the intelligence community, presumably from his other job as a reporter for the Washington Post. This book is particularly current with sub-plots related to the war in Ukraine and satellite warfare. Really interesting details about GPS with respect to both its vulnerability and the dependence of so much military technology, infrastructure, etc. on it. Notwithstanding all of the above, the book felt a little flat and formulaic to me, I didn't find the characters compelling, and the plot included some implausible pivots, e.g., a Russian physicist who decides to spy for the CIA because his son is killed for exposing a corrupt military officer felt a little cliched. (I've probably been reading too many spy books. lately) Lorin CaryAuthor 6 books7

Ignatius tackles warfare from space in this fascinating novel. Ivan Volkov, a brilliant Russian scientist, and Edith Ryan, a CIA agent (for a chunk of time), meet as students in China and love is in the air. But. Ivan has a distaste for the direction of Russian autocracy but works in the space industry there. When his son is murdered after working to expose corruption in the government, Ivan becomes increasingly embittered and worried about the direction of satellite development. He attempts to warn the CIA, but after an intense interrogation is viewed with distrust. Ultimately, he reaches out to Edith, who now works in private industry with satellites, and they reconnect. I won't go further than that here. Suffice it to say that this is an engaging story, with a wonderfully detailed presentation on how Russia, China, and the U.S. developed satellites. phil lee1 review

Although I am a John Le Carre fan and this will sound anathema: Ignatius several novels ago surpassed him with variety of concerns and indeed finer writing. But Le Carre he still did not have that page turning fever pitch of inferior writers (Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code). However in his most recent two masterworks on quantum computing and deep fakes Ignatius somehow cracks the thriller code. Meanwhile this novel, described as a thriller, is so much more than that: Ignatius recreates the breadth and sweep of the great Russian novelists whom he quotes while maintaining the fascinating and the fresh. If the great Russian novels were actually riveting and fun to read they would be Phantom Orbit. Prepare to be immersed in a new and unseen world. You’ll never look at the sky in the same way again. Mary8

Good but not a thriller

I have been an admirer of David Ignatius’s journalism and fiction for many years. His dedication to authentic research is clear as ever. But “thriller” this is not. The last 10% or so is suspenseful, but most of it is rather dull. Long biographical details of the main characters — often not very revealing — slow down the story. As always, I learned a lot from reading Ignatius. But if you are looking for an emotionally engaging, thrilling narrative, you will be disappointed. Angie Boyter2,053 70 Read

I found the first part with the Russian and Chinese setting in the late 60s pretty interesting but then just kept wanting something to happen.
I felt I was being teased along rather than feeling intrigued. Almost 100 pages into the book there was a rather crudely introduced love interest and still no real taking off of the plot. I decided to move to somethimg better
I have too many books on my Want to Read list to continue with this one. I will not rate it because maybe it gets much better and I will give the
author the benefit of the doubtdidn-t-finish Mark Maddrey534 3

“Every personality of the new Russia was a caricature of someone in the old Russia. History was a loop” thinks Ivan Volkov, a fascinating and admirable Russian scientist in this timely and well plotted novel “Phantom Orbit” by David Ignatius. Mr. Igantius is a journalist and all his books show attention to detail and factual accuracy that gives the novels much more urgency. The story here is about satellites ostensibly, but it is about how nations, spies, and individuals relate to each other, the deceptions that are obvious, the ones that are hidden, and the ones that are actual not deceptions at all. All of the characters in the book are interesting, it can be a bit sprawling in terms of people, time, and locations, but it was all worth it as the story came to a conclusion. I so hope we really have people the ones in this book who try, despite all the odds stacked against them, to make things better. As Ivan thinks, “His son would run toward danger to do what was right.” Those people are our only hope. Enid Hamaker1 review

superb space orbit thriller

Love this book for the level of accuracy! The storyline intertwines the complexities of space, conflict and mystery. I’m a retired NASA engineer and couldn’t put the book down. Finished it in 3 days and am so sad not to have another story! I gave a 5 star rating for the first time ever. Probably the best ‘fiction’ I’ve ever read. Thank you Mr Ignatius! Vicki Wagner6 1 follower

Overall I d this book a lot. The author clearly knows his subject and is able to explain it in detail. It is an international problem and each country has a unique role. The thing that kept me from giving it a 4 rather than a 5 was the ending. While believable to me it was too rushed. I think the best thing the author could do is to spend the same time and detail in the last quarter of the book as the earlier part. I would still recommend reading it. Robert Price15

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