The characters are well developed, the historical data is probably very accurate, his overrall knowledge of the spy business seems well researched, and his speculation of how and why events may have occured during the cold war, was at times very creative. But I personally, could not stay focused for 35 of 40 anticlimatic hours. Unless you're in the CIA, or a person who just plain enjoys long, long stories, you're better off waiting for the abridged version. He would have been better off creating a series of 4 stories, each with their own climax, while baiting us to impatiently anticipate the next release at $20 per release, rather than giving it to us all in one shot for $70.00.
This book has to go on my all time greats list. It is long, but not once did I lose interest even slightly. I would have loved to have another 40 hours after it was finished. It is virtually impossible to believe the stories are fiction. The author pulls you in and never releases his hold. The main characters are absolutely fully developed and weaved effortlessly into each strand.
This is the best audio book I have ever listened to. I have listened to several fiction and non-fiction books but none of them come close to being as captivating as this one. When I tell my friends about this book I describe it as one of the best historical fiction books ever authored.
This book was an exceptional "history" of the CIA. I don't know how much is factual, but having been born in the early '50s I lived through most of the time and events and this book's story has the ring of plausability. I enjoyed it very much. My only complaint, and just a small one, is that it took a long time to get through. I judge a great book by how dissapointed I am when a great story comes to an end. While I was engrossed in the story, I also started to feel like a Marathoner at the 20th mile...exhausted. The scope is grand and the personalities built in the book are great. The narration is above average. I recommend the book, but don't be surprised if you need a few breaks along the way.
Member since 2000
This book transported me into the story. Not many books are so compelling as to mesmerize a listner to such an extent. Of course the brilliant reading by Scott Brick helps. Brick does an outstanding job of bringing the characters to life. But back to Littels. The span of the story is just amazing. Covering half a century of the CIA's history must have been difficult. Littell makes it seem easy. Nearly all the major victory's and defeats of the spy agency are included. What a fascinating look inside spook work. I feel so strongly about the quality of this book, that I beg you to listen to it.
This is an excellent book that transfers perfectly to an audio format. It never seemed too long, but kept the listener engaged to the very end. Highest recommendation.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
One of the great cold-war, spy novel epics. Belongs on the shelf next to le Carré's Karla Trilogy: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / The Honourable Schoolboy / Smiley's People and Mailer's Harlot's Ghost.
I wouldn't say that I am an expert in the genre of spy fiction. I have read some le Carre and Clancy but I've read nowhere near enough to count myself as a master critic.
That being said, "The Company" is a great novel, whatever genre you wish to place it in. It is a wholly reasonable picture of what the life of a Cold War C.I.A. agent must have been like. There are no great sexual escapades like those in an Ian Fleming novel. The agents here simply do their duty without hope of public glory.
Whether or not you feel the spy genre worthy of your credit, this is a novel that transcends genre and is well worth the money. And at 40 hours you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.
Wow - what a great historical novel about the CIA during the Cold War - from the end of WWII to the fall of the Soviet Union. The author creates an intriguing, suspenseful tale woven around the careers of several great CIA men and women. The mole hunt for Kim Philby, the Bay of Pigs, the communist invasion of Hungary, the coup attempt against Gorbachev, and more, are just some of the events that are told with suspense and detail that makes them memorable and relevant.
Scott Brick is SUPERB in this reading. I had nearly given up on Scott Brick narrated novels due to his tendency to sound whiny and effete, but clearly he's been rehearsing. His ability to switch between Boston, New York, Russian, German, and even a Ronald Reagan accent is excellent. With the many characters in this book, that ability is critical to the understanding of the dialog. Hats off to Brick on this outstanding performance.
So plan some time (40+ hours) to get into a great spy novel based on historical events. You won't be sorry.
I actually looked for a book narrated by Scott Brick who is my favorite and found The Company. For the past 39 hours of listening (I have two hours to go) my interest has been thoroughly focused on the ongoing saga of the CIA and the main characters. If only 1/10th were true, it is scary. It started out slowly but picked up the pace and has kept me eager for my next exercise session which is when I get to be entertained. A great incentive! A great book!