I am a rabid fan of spy novels and I don't write many reviews. However, I have to say, this book was so terrible that I felt I must warn other readers. When I bought the book I expected a lot given its high ratings. However, it disappointed on a number of accounts. First of all, half the book is blustery diatribe about the former Soviet Union and the nature of the Russian people. A little of this would be OK to add context to the story, but it is overwhelming and completely bogs down the plot. Second of all, the characters are quixotic and often make irrational decisions which are not consistent with either their previous behavior or their personalities. Lisa Rhodes in particular is probably one of the worst drawn female protagonists I have read. There were several times while listening when I said out loud, "Oh shut up you idiot!". The narrator too is sub-par. I have listened to many books narrated by Scott Brick. The guy has only one tone of voice and he often adds sarcastic inflections at inappropriate points. Give me George Guidall over him any day. Finally, the grand finale, a great rescue attempt, is ridiculous strategically. I don't want to spoil it for you poor souls who shoulder through the 24 hours of listening time, but lets just say that if you think about it for more than a minute, you realize that neither the US military nor the CIA would ever plan or enact such a hair-brained scheme. Honestly, I can't believe I wasted a whole day of my life listening to this.
I usually can get at least something out of a book, even bad books, but I found this one absolutely useless. It was a waste of time and money. Lots of philosophical babble about nothing.
While some may find the story hard to follow, I thought it was wonderful for its complexity. Unlike some of the common mystery writers who spoonfeed us plotline, le carre requires an active reader. However, if you are willing to do the work you will be rewarded with an amazing adventure, rich with well developed character and fascinating description. He draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last page. After listening to this book I bought every single one of his books on audible, and he remains my favorite. And of all his books I liked this one the best. I would highly recommend it!!!
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