Small Publisher of the Year 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006 

‘Captures the intensity of the father-son relationship beautifully … This poignant, untold flipside of the classic spy story has the big screen written all over it. PICK OF THE WEEK.’

The Age

What happens when a father asks his son to lie for the greater good?

Growing up, Scott Johnson always suspected that his dad was different. Only as a teenager did he discover the truth: his father was a spy, one of the CIA’s most trusted officers. And, as Scott came to realise, his father had been living a double life for so long that his lies were hard to separate from the truth.

When an adult Scott embarked on a career as a war correspondent, he found himself returning to many of the troubled countries of his youth. In the dusty streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan, amid the cold urbanity of Yugoslavia, and down the mysterious alleys of Mexico City, he came face to face with his father’s murky past — and his own complicity in it.

The Wolf and the Watchman is a provocative, meditative reckoning on truth, deception, and manipulation, and the fidelities we owe to ourselves and to our families. It is also an intensely personal story of a bond between father and son that endured in the shadow of one of the world’s most secretive and unforgiving institutions.

Media highlights:
Watch Scott interviewed at on ABC News 24 The World, and listen to interviews with the ABC’s Richard Fidler, Margaret Throsby, and Philip Adams.


‘A mesmerising book about a mysterious father, a son’s search for truth, and the hidden motives of hearts and souls. Part spy story and part love story, The Wolf and the Watchman is beautifully written, deeply moving, and compulsively readable.’

David Finkel, author of THE GOOD SOLDIERS

‘With haunting imagery and admirable candor, Scott Johnson unfolds a coming-of-age story in the shadow of the CIA. This brave and memorable book provides a rare glimpse at the private life of a spy and digs into the love, lies, and ambiguities between father and son.’


‘Evokes John le Carré’s dark autobiographical thriller The Perfect Spy … The kind of psychological police procedural that might have been written by Camus.’

Jeff Stein, Washington Post
» All reviews for this title

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