the new shadow army

Misleading landscapes

by Marc Dugain

Espionage/Gallimard, 240 pages, €19

Spying is trending. The Army of Shadows excites the contemporary imagination and Gallimard is launching a new collection directed by Marc Dugain, who is known to be attentive to these questions, since his first books on the Kennedys, Edgar Hoover, the boss of the FBI who loved to search in the private life of its prey, and the tragedy of the Kursk, the Russian nuclear submarine that Putin allowed to sink with its crew while Western “big ears” lost nothing of the engulfment. We also know he is concerned about the challenges of geopolitics and the excesses of voluntary servitude to the digital giants who are watching us, as evidenced by his new essay co-written with his friend Christophe Labbé, The contactless man (1).

Give honour where honour is due. Marc Dugain inaugurates his collection with Misleading landscapes. The leader of a perilous mission of our secret services in Somalia, which ended in a tragic bloodbath, has evaporated in nature. He is missing. He is hiding in Morocco under the discreet protection of the local authorities. His best friend, producer of high-risk documentary series, is put in the scent. One of his teams was murdered in questionable circumstances. He seeks to save the fugitive in hardened steel. But the services hook him up and offer him a deal he can hardly refuse, as always in such cases. And a woman, with a mysterious charm, comes between them…

The scramble of the dark forces

Marc Dugain enjoys himself in this world of secrets and manipulation, agents in troubled waters who splash around in “the submerged part of reality”. Its plot unfolds against the backdrop of a seesaw game between the United States and Russia, of geopolitical destabilization, favored by digital tools, amplified by social networks, new relays of disinformation. Caltrops and false pretences, lying poker and psychological confrontations, nothing is missing in this jostling of dark forces. Marc Dugain uses a precise, efficient style, sharp as a blade, to show that puppeteers are not always those who pull the strings of the mysteries that surround us. It stages the pawns of the Mossad, the CIA, Russia, France, with a zest of Iran and a pinch of Daesh who sneakily slip into the “misleading landscapes” From our era.


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