Reward takes the reader behind the scenes of an international manhunt and an unusual lawsuit that rattled law enforcement in three countries. The story is born out of a real-life spy thriller—the flight of Peru’s notorious National Security chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, who was accused of many crimes that grew to include extra-judicial killings, extortion and stealing a billion dollars in government money. The lawsuit, Jose Guevara v. Republic of Peru, was brought by a Venezuelan spy who claimed Peru’s $5 million reward after he was caught in an FBI sting attempting to extort a Miami banker to release Montesinos’ dirty money. The next day, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez triumphantly announced Montesinos’ capture and extradition to Peru “more quickly than immediately,” followed by a tripartite diplomatic flap over credit for Montesinos’ arrest. What happened in Guevara’s jail cell is an untold story that is the key to whether Guevara earned Peru’s reward. Mark Cymrot, one of America’s leading trial lawyers, took over Peru’s defense after the U.S. Court of Appeals had rebuked Peru for “welch[ing]”—reneging—on its promise to pay Guevara the reward. He uncovered a story that “reads like the latest spy thriller,” according to the appeals court’s second opinion. As this tense story unfolds, Reward provides insights for courtroom spectators into the art of persuasion, strategies for cross-examination, and storytelling.

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Cast of Characters
Timeline of Events

“A captivating account of a spectacular legal drama.”

“In this nonfiction work, [Mark] Cymrot, a lawyer, recounts a peculiar case in which a Venezuelan spy sued the nation of Peru. … With impressive clarity, Cymrot unravels this exceedingly complex case. … The author lucidly limns the extraordinary details of Montesinos’ capture as well as the grim history of Peru under Fujimori’s often brutal tenure as president. A fascinating blend of history, legal drama, and espionage thriller, Cymrot’s story is as engrossing as it is historically illuminating. The author is a talented storyteller—he painstakingly documents every relevant detail but never at the expense of the larger narrative.”

Kirkus Reviews


“Mark Cymrot’s book is a cross between a John Grisham thriller and counsel’s skeleton argument. It provides a riveting insight into the US legal system, and the international legal battle between the Peru government following the flight of former national security chief Vladimiro Montesinos (pictured above) and a Venezuelan spy (Jose Guevara) who claimed a $5m reward from the government. Issues of sovereign/state immunity are explored in some detail. Cymrot also provides an insight into the procedural machinations of the US court system…”

The Law Gazette


“In his latest book, The Case of the Welched Reward, attorney Mark Cymrot takes readers on a personal journey to the front lines of an international legal battle brimming with suspense and intrigue. From the streets of Lima, Peru to the courtrooms of Miami, the gifted attorney is locked between his quest for justice and the rules of the game, as he pushes through a thicket of obstacles, making his moment of victory quite memorable. This is a true adventure story spiced with the plot twists, dodgy characters, and marvelous intricacy of a mystery novel.”

Ann Hagedorn, former Wall Street Journal staff writer and award-winning author of six narrative nonfiction books, including Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away.


Reward was so compelling I read it from cover to cover without putting it down. Terrorism, spies, bribery, FBI agents, chiefs of state, politicians, and bankers became part of Peru’s history during the events that became part of the lawsuit Jose Guevara v. Republic of Peru. Mark Cymrot proves with this book that he is not only a great lawyer fighting until the end to win a case but also to be a great writer and a historian.”

Jose Abramovitz, Peru’s Vice Minister of Energy (1985-86), President of Peru’s Negotiating Committee for New Oil Contracts, Senior Advisor to Peru’s Minister of Interior (2008-09)


“A fascinating and well-told tale of real-life intrigue involving spies, foreign governments, terrorism, and transnational litigation from a U.S. litigator’s unique perspective.”

David P. Stewart, co-Director, Global Law Scholars program and Center for Transnational Business and Law, Georgetown University Law Center, co-Reporter, Restatement (Fourth) Foreign Relations Law of the United States (2018), Assistant Legal Adviser, U.S. State Department (1976-2018)


“… I was enthralled by how Mark navigated the political and legal tightrope in succeeding in thwarting Mr. Guevara’s attempt to collect the reward for the capture of Vladimiro Montesinos. This wonderful read tells how law, politics and public relations all play a factor in litigating cases, particularly cases that attract international interest. …”

Johnine P. Barnes, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Shareholder, Chair, Washington D.C. Labor and Employment Group

Event Video

Mark Cymrot and Ann Hagedorn, Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away, spent an evening at The Writer’s Center, discussing two masters of deceptions – with very different fates.


Watch the Event on Youtube!

About Sleeper Agent: This “historical page-turner of the highest order” (The Wall Street Journal) tells the chilling story of an American-born Soviet military-trained spy who, under cover as a U.S. Army corporal, infiltrated two sites of America’s atom bomb project in World War II. “Worthy of John Le Carre” (The New York Journal of Books), Sleeper Agent was a finalist in the 2022 Edgar Award, Best Fact Crime.