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Katherine

Georgetown, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2011

ratings
125
REVIEWS
123
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
8
HELPFUL VOTES
103

  • Young Philby: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Robert Littell
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Best-selling novelist Robert Littell employs all his considerable skills in telling the story of Kim Philby through the eyes of more than 20 true-life characters. When Kim Philby fled to Moscow in 1963, he became the most infamous double agent in history. A member of Britain's intelligence service since World War II, he had risen to become their chief officer in Washington, D.C. after the war. The exposure of other members of the group of double agents known as the Cambridge Five led to the revelation that he had been working for Russia for even longer than he had been part of MI6.

    connie says: "Maybe get this one in print"
    "Nobody does it better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was prepared for a book that I wouldn't enjoy as much as Robert Littell's masterpiece, The Company, and I also feared I wouldn't like it much at all, ruining him for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was about Philby as a fairly young boy, to show how he took the path he did. There were some elements of that, but there was still a lot of intrigue, a lot of spycraft, especially as the story progresses.. Do hang on to the very end if you're enjoying it at all. You must!

    I also enjoy going back into a time before we know how things turned out and can see the sense in people's choices through that lens. Who could have said how far the revolutionary zeal in the U.S.S.R., for example, would spread? I never thought of Philby as making choices in an anti-fascist period, when all of Stalin's horrors weren't known and people feared the rise of Hitler.

    The book's format, with the story presented through interviews worked for me as well, as did John Lee's narration. A large amount of the book was read with dialects, which could be a bit distracting, but he pulled it off.

    It was a great book and definitely a new approach to a familiar subject.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Shiffman
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In Operation Shakespeare, investigative journalist John Shiffman traces a high-risk undercover operation launched by an elite undercover Homeland Security unit created to stop the Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Pakistanis, and North Koreans from acquiring sophisticated American-made electronics capable of guiding missiles, jamming radar, and triggering countless weapons - from wireless IEDs to nuclear bombs.

    Katherine says: "Outstanding!!!"
    "Outstanding!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a well-told and highly relevant exploration of the shadowy world of black market arms trading, focussing on one particular case. It was so well written, it puts the issue of stealing high-tech military secrets and hardware front and center as an important issue of our time. The technical details are easy to handle, set amongst the rich characters and riveting storyline. Apparently, it is going to be adapted into a movie, but I highly recommend reading it anyway, as the minor characters and rich contextual details won't make it into that format. Most exciting, scary and fascinating book I've read for ages. It fits well with Manhunt: the Ten Year Search for Bin Laden by Peter Bergen, as they both cover enormously relevant recent history through recounting the capture of one individual. Excellent storytelling of real, but covert, events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden - from 9-11 to Abbottabad

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Peter L. Bergen
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (202)

    From the author of the New York Times best-selling Holy War, Inc., this is the definitive account of the decade-long manhunt for the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda expert and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen paints a multidimensional picture of the hunt for bin Laden over the past decade, including the operation that killed him.

    Betty says: "DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!"
    "Fascinating! Don't miss this one."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is great storytelling, with just the right amount of detail and well told. I hadn't really realized how interesting each part of it would be, peeking behind the scenes at every stage of the process. I found the coverage balanced, not favouring any particular outlook or presidency. It IS a great success of the Obama presidency and, even though I don't support him overall, we all can celebrate successes by any president, hopefully. After all, we're all Americans! (I'm actually Canadian, but you know what I mean).

    Women especially, haven't you wondered how his wives fit into all of this, what kind of people they were, how they lived? In this book, you find out.

    In the epilogue of the book, he relates the other threats of militant Islam besides Al Qaida, which by this point in time, after he wrote the book, have proved to be very troubling indeed. Bergen doesn't see the whole movement as a threat overall to the West, comparable to Communism or Nazism, and I hope he's right. Time only will tell. I think it's better to take it seriously though and I think the real story is NOT that Bush screwed up in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that there aren't easy answers to this threat and no president would likely have been able to 'fix' it. I think it should be clear it's a long struggle, dating perhaps from 1979, and obviously still with us.

    But this book is a riveting account of every stage of this particular mission and for anyone even slightly interested, a very enjoyable book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Well-Mannered Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Aline, Countess of Romanones
    • Narrated By Susam O'Malley
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The New Yorker raved that her bestselling memoir, The Spy Wore Red, "reads like a perfect thriller." Now the real-life model-turend-spy presents a thirlling novel of suspense -- based on the true intrigues of Carlos the Jackal. One of the most infamous names in the history of espionage, Carlos managed to elude his enemies for decades...until his recent arrest made headlines across the world. This exciting ficitonal account reveals the insidious methods -- and brilliant genius -- behind his international maneuvers. It is the story of a man whose smooth, cultured charm hides a secret identity and a shattering plot -- and the one woman who discovers he is actually the notorious Carlos the Jackal.The inspiration for the Countess of Romanones' novel was her own actual meeting with Carlos the Jackal in 1977, when he delivered documents to her home in Madrid; and her experience as a consultant with a wide variety of world specialists on international terrorism.

    Vicki G says: "Intriguing"
    "Not up to the other books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the Spy Wore Red many years ago and one other of her books, so I thought this might be an almost-as-good additional journey into her world. It wasn't. There isn't much of a story and I'm not continuing with it. I should have trusted the other reviews!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Trinity Six

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Charles Cumming
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (87)

    The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed – the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it.... London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that – and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem. Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money.

    Ramon says: "Fun exciting intrigues perfectly narrated."
    "Good enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book doesn't rate among top espionage writing, in my opinion, but if you like the genre or the topic, it's worth a listen. It's based on the Cambridge 5 experience, but the focus is very much on the present, showing what could have been if there had been a sixth man. John Lee is impeccable, of course, doing a wide range of accents and characters so well and for me, he lifts any book up from his delivery. I'll probably check out other Charles Cumming books, but not be jumping on them immediately.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Giles Milton
    • Narrated By Napoleon Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II - a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin’s communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes - starting with the British Empire. Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin’s red tide from washing across the free world.

    aria says: "What a tragedy"
    "Much better than expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wrote a review already and it disappeared, so forgive me not working too hard at it. This was a very good depiction of the early days of the Russian Revolution from an unsympathetic side.....the opposite of "Reds", one could say. It was a terrific story with startlingly dangerous feats being attempted in the very early days of British spying. We forget that the fear of a worldwide communist revolution was justified at the time, which also contributed to the rise of fascism. The characters and stories are vivid and fascinating and with some in central Asia, resonate with us today. How amazing that the Soviets wanted to make use of the highly religious Muslims for their own purposes!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Policeman

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (61)

    Local police stations all over the Scottish Highlands are being threatened with closure. This presents the perfect opportunity for Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who would love nothing more than to get rid of Sergeant Hamish Macbeth. Blair suggests that Cyril Sessions, a keen young police officer, visit the town of Lochdubh to monitor exactly what Macbeth does every day. Macbeth hears about Blair's plan and is prepared to insure that Cyril returns back to headquarters with a full report. But Cyril is soon found dead and Hamish quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

    Kathi says: "The narrator brings this book to life!"
    "Reliable entertainment yet again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my third time writing this, with the first 2 attempts being inexplicably lost. All I want to say is that despite lots of murders, this book, like the others, never disturbs too much plus provides wonderful escapist fun up in the Highlands with Hamish Macbeth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War - while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby's best friend and fellow officer in MI6.

    Michael Eaton says: "The Greatest Spy -- Ever Discovered"
    "Fascinating! Great storytelling!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the hands of Ben Macintyre, I think any story would be interesting, but this was so outstanding it was as if I had heard nothing about Kim Philby before. Aided by John Lee's perfect narration and the seal of approval from John le Carre, this book takes you into the private world of Kim Philby, as much as any book can, with wonderful results. Ben Macintyre is a terrific writer, conveying the subtleties of the British secret service in that time period, as well as the very real damage Philby's subterfuge brought on those both close to him and afar. Best book I've read for awhile!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death of Yesterday

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (90)

    When a local woman tells Sergeant Hamish Macbeth that she doesn't remember what happened the previous evening, he doesn't begin to worry. She had been out drinking, after all, and he'd prefer not to be bothered with such an arrogant and annoying woman. But when her body is discovered, Hamish is forced to investigate a crime that the only known witness - now dead - had forgotten.

    Sharron says: "Like visiting an old friend"
    "Reliable entertainment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These books have been great escapist fun and I'm going to find it hard to finish the series. There are plenty of murders, but none so real that it is disturbing. It was interesting to see that nasty brother and sister again with the plot of their lives moving forward in a satisfying way. This time, I found I began to care about Hamish's love life, which isn't a wise choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Andrew Meier
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    This is the riveting account of one of the first Americans to spy for Joseph Stalin. A brilliant Columbia University graduate, Isaiah Oggins went to Berlin to establish a safe house and spy for his country - but he turned coat. Working for the Soviets, he was nevertheless poisoned in 1947 on Stalin's orders. Classified for decades, Oggins' story is a cloak-and-dagger tale to rival the best novels.

    Sherry says: "Intriguing and full of history"
    "Endless, mind-dumbing descriptions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There might be a good story here, but I can't suffer through the horrible descriptions of details in order to find out. The effect is pretentious when minute details of a house, a face or a garden are given, with not enough story line given to make you care about it. The basic facts of a story seem to be ignored, while blades of grass and other such things are described in detail. It could be a form of torture to listen to this book, so I abandoned it early in Chapter 2. I only lasted that long because I hoped Chapter 1 would set the scene with all that description and the story might take off in Chapter 2...it didn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight in Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (83)

    Paris, 1938: As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation", now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.

    Judith A. Weller says: "Arming Franco's Opponents on the Eve of World II"
    "If you enjoy Alan Furst, give it a try"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was another Alan Furst book, with a lot of love affairs and not too much violence. I began to sense the character of someone who 'loves women'....and haven't we all known them?....how they connect in one way with such gusto, but on another level, aren't connecting at all. That was useful. Finally, after multiple books, each with multiple love affairs in the pre-pill era, someone FINALLY got pregnant. Still, he was detached from the whole thing! The author is in his 70's and some other reviews have said he's 'phoning it in', but I enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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