The Prisoner's Wife

Gerard Macdonald

Thomas Dunne Books

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines –a tense trip through the murky worlds of state– sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner may be in Fes, in Cairo or in Peshawar, but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But he’s not so sure he can handle… the prisoner’s wife.

Gerard Macdonald's The Prisoner's Wife takes a pulse-pounding look at the political intrigue in the Middle-East.


Read an Excerpt



In the spring of 2004, Darius Osmani was disappeared.
In mid-April, in a black Volvo on the rue des Vieilles Boucheries, Hassan Tarkani and Calvin McCord, intelligence operatives, were talking money.
Calvin said, “You tell me what you get, I tell you what I get, one of us going to be unhappy. Trust me. That’s the way it works.”
They were parked without lights in the quatrième, between a shuttered café and a nineteenth-century apartment building. Streetlamps were already lit. In the rain, a pointillist halo surrounded


Praise for The Prisoner's Wife

“Living in Paris in 2004, former CIA spy Shawn Maguire accepts a freelance job to find an Iranian named Darius Osmani. Abducted by the CIA after claiming to have information about a nuclear device, Osmani is being interrogated in one of its secret "black prisons" as a suspected terrorist. Maguire's efforts to track him and avoid his own downfall are complicated by his attraction to Osmani’s wife, Danielle. Maguire was drummed out of the CIA for drinking and violent behavior. A major burnout, he's out of money, attending meetings for sex addiction, mourning the death of his wife and under pressure from his former bosses to do a nasty job for them. As spies go, Maguire is a decent, straight-shooting soul—and not only when he's putting his skills as a sniper to work. As he searches for Osmani, on a road that takes him and Danielle to Morocco, Egypt and the political danger zone of Pakistan—where U.S. intelligence has secret plans for the soon-to-be-reinstated female prime minister—he must remain on his toes with the seductive wife and his old CIA pal Bobby, who is still with the Company. Conspiracies abound in this book, a sophisticated and suspenseful effort with crackling dialogue and evocative scenery. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic. And the book does a great job capturing the casual lawlessness of the American intelligence effort via its rendition campaigns and the propping up or deposing of criminal leaders depending on America's needs. For those who wondered where spy novels could go in the aftermath of the Cold War, John le Carré isn't the only one providing the answers. They also can be found here and, one hopes, in a batch of sequels. Though this is McDonald's first adult novel, it boasts the assurance and authority of a veteran spymaster, making us feel like we've been reading this author for years.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“British YA author Macdonald (The Boy Who Won the Pools) makes his adult debut with a thoughtful, low-key spy thriller set in 2004. Desperate for work, former American intelligence agent Shawn Maguire agrees to try to find Darius Osmani, a suspected Pakistani terrorist kidnapped by the CIA, from which Maguire was fired for his violent temper and excessive drinking. Osmani supposedly possesses nuclear secrets, and Maguire’s client, a shadowy arms dealer, doesn’t trust the CIA to keep those secrets out of Pakistani hands. In Paris, Maguire meets Osmani’s wife, the captivating Danielle Baptiste, and together the pair go in search of the captive—through France, Britain, Morocco, Egypt, and finally Pakistan. The action-starved plot sputters at times as Maguire ponders his past, present, and future. Yet Macdonald’s compelling portrait of his protagonist as a man scarred by professional failure and personal grief will keep patient readers turning the pages.”
Publishers Weekly

The Prisoner’s Wife grabs you by the throat on the first page, and never lets go…Gerard Macdonald is the real deal."
—John Gilstrap, New York Times bestselling author of Threat Warning and Nathan’s Run

“A welcome addition to the ever-expanding field of British spy novelists. The Prisoner's Wife is an intense, entertaining novel in the Greene tradition of dark, morally ambiguous spy stories.”

“Fans of John LeCarre’s densely-plotted spy yarns will find much to enjoy here. The Prisoner’s Wife is a story of conspiracy and suspense with vivid description and strong dialogue.”
British Weekly

“For once, the dust cover comparisons with John le Carré aren't just wishful thinking. Hired to find a suspected terrorist renditioned to secret prisons, cashiered CIA agent Shawn Maguire finds himself a pawn in a deadly game played by his former employers, Pakistani power-brokers and the suspect's beautiful but not entirely trustworthy wife. Macdonald jumps to the top rank of British spy novelists with this turbid, no-good-guys excerpt from the War on Terror.”
Winnipeg Free Press

In the Press

THE PRISONER'S WIFE by Gerard Macdonald | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE PRISONER'S WIFE . Living in Paris in 2004, former CIA spy Shawn Maguire accepts a freelance job to find an Iranian named Darius Osmani.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Gerard Macdonald

  • GERARD MACDONALD began his writing career with two young-adult novels, both of which he turned into TV series. Thereafter, he combined television and film scriptwriting—in Europe and the U.S.—with post-doctoral research in American politics. For the past three years he has been hard at work writing adult novels, the first of which is The Prisoner’s Wife. Macdonald lives in west London.



Available Formats and Book Details

The Prisoner's Wife

Gerard Macdonald



Thomas Dunne Books