Please, do yourself a favor and spend your time elsewhere!
Book has ridiculous and unreal plot, characters are film-thick stereotypes with funny names, FBI agents act like clowns, not like professionals we all know they are.
For starters: FBI agent needs a babysitter for his daughter, so he shows up on a door step of his kid's ballet teacher whom he never met in his life and asks to leave her there... HUH?
Or comical German agent with laughable ideas about man-supremacy (I am a man!), -it is not 19-th Century anymore, did author noticed it?
I am a little bitter, as I feel cheated by author who was insulting my intelligence throughout this story.
I would give it 0 stars, or minus 5 for all I care, but lowest possible is 1, so I give it 1.
I am a little surprised with all the glowing reviews people post here. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid piece of literature, excellent narrator, lengthy story and well-developed characters (sort of, read below).
But, and there is a big but: the author’s whole point of view of historical events that took place during and after Cold War rises a lot of questions, author constantly draws parallels between Communist East and Democratic West , KGB and CIA. This is intellectually dishonest: -while some methods of any intelligence organization are somewhat similar (I think they call it tradecraft), in addition to intelligence work, KGB was terrorizing its own people by sending hundreds of thousands, even millions to Gulag, KGB was also maintaining Gulag camps by their officers. I don’t think we will ever get an accurate number of casualties, but nobody would be surprised if this number would be greater than number of soldiers killed by Nazis.
Over years, KGB spread fear in the countries of Eastern block by encouraging army of snitches, idea was if you don’t report your neighbor, he will report you. People was disappearing left and right, no due process, how can you possible compare this to anything that was going on in the West at the time, or ever?
After Stalin’s death, KGB was restructured and pig was state-issued a lipstick, but it is still a pig. I remember people was ending up in jail in 80’s for owning a VCR and playing American action movies like Rambo (which was considered spreading Capitalist Propaganda and deemed dangerous).
The infamous Soviet mole, the villain “Sasha”, depicted in the book, who is covered in blood of all the people he exposed to KGB over decades, somehow received pretty much positive outlook and hero’s ending only because he believed in Soviet propaganda and was betraying his country for free??? Other Soviet illegals in the book got huge amount of sympathy because of their “lonely” life in the US…
I think author was trying to be impartial, and somewhat cool interpreting historical facts, but somewhere along the way skewed to the wrong side of the road.
You can’t stretch truth that far, you can’t put CIA and KGB on the same level.
All in all, story that started well, ended up with nothing but irritation.
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