Thom Stark added his review to Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office today.
“Khalid Muhammad’s Agency Rules – Never and Easy Day at the Office is a grim and complex, yet taut and engrossing spy thriller. Most American readers will be unfamiliar with Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence Agency (ISI), which is something like a Pakistani version of the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and a pan-military intelligence service all rolled into one.
Kamal Khan, the protagonist of Muhammad’s book, is a child of privilege who rises through the ranks of the ISI to become one of its top operatives. In order to pursue his personal vendetta against the Pakistani Taliban that is tearing apart his Swat Valley homeland, he must continually battle corruption and incompetence within his own agency and the highest echelons of Pakistan’s government, as well.
Agency Rules is a triumph of the storyteller’s art, effortlessly leading the reader through the labyrinthine Pakistani intelligence bureaucracy and political structure, laying out the lines of internal and external conflict, and sweeping across a large, complex nation, from its ultramodern capitol Islamabad to its tribal hinterlands in Khyber Paktunkwha province, without losing its way, despite the torrent of information it provides. All this, while weaving a white-knuckle plot, delineating a dark and driven protagonist, and etching lines of conflict and moral ambiguity in high relief.