A prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, David Ignatius penned this riveting suspense tale ripped from today’s headlines. Deep within Pakistan’s borders, a secret CIA team is being systematically dismantled by a cunning enemy. Soon, Sophie Marx, a young, ambitious agent, is on the ground searching for answers. But as she gets closer to the truth, she suffers a devastating betrayal and must risk more than her life to save the world from a terrifying fate.
©2011 David Ignatius (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
I don't write reviews often, all I can say is this is perhaps the best thriller I've listened to in quite some time. It blends the far east, espionage, the recent financial tumult without any of the sound effects or dual performers I've recent been exposed to in other productions. Buy it and enjoy!
It's a shame that the cover and title of Bloodmoney suggest a run of the mill potboiler when Bloodmoney's pleasures are so much headier: Ignatius gives us a dizzyingly fun but convincing tour of some of the most mysterious subjects in the modern world in modern Pakistan, the CIA and the world of high finance. While it is fictional, Ignatius paints a conspiracy with a startling ring of truth by portraying a dark intersection between these worlds. It helps that he fills Bloodmoney with engaging, believable characters - from the colorful CIA chief to the brusque boss of a CIA shadow organization to the pious Pakistani militant to the slyly witty ISI chief, each character is fully realized enough to evoke a separate world. The ultimate effect is a story that shows the human consequences of labyrinthine, secretive organizations with the heady joy of The Wire.
Firdous Bamji's reading is masterful - he covers plot exposition with a cool/unaffected tone in keeping with the story, and he acts the dialogue to perfection, giving real life to each character. "His" CIA and ISI chiefs are some of the most well acted performances in my recent listens.
Stopped early on when the first character we really got to know was being tortured. Don't like such violence and it hadn't hung together enough by that time to keep going in spite of it. It seemed well written although I wondered if it was going to be anti-American, but didn't listen long enough to find out for sure.
This hit the top of my favorites list. This portrait of a counter-terrorist operation has a multitude of believable details, and flows forward with the inexorability of tragedy. Not that it's depressing or a downer. Not at all. In fact, this book is uplifting. We see how revenge is redundant because the bad guys bring themselves down. it portrays the players in this action as human beings, and this means there is hope for the world. The geopolitical realities of AFghanistan and Pakistan, and the role of the US in the mess over there, is illuminated through complicated but realistic characters. The author clearly knows the character flaws of the many nationalities involved, but also the beauty of each culture, and the tragic misunderstandings caused by these culture clashes.
The plot was riveting. The scenery changed constantly but not in a hard-to-follow way. Very easy to listen to because you always know where your are, whether LA or Dubai or Islamabad, and you always know who is speaking, thanks to the brilliant dialogue and amazing acting job of the narrator. There's plenty of action but it never deviates into farce or action for the sake of action. The suspense comes from seeing the various characters weaving complex plots, each trying to advance his mission. Best of all, good and evil mingle amid many characters of many nationalities. Each character has a motive that makes him or her understandable. Just when you think you've identified the bad guys, the plot shifts.
I'm so glad I listened to this on audiotape. It takes you right out of the story if the narrator mispronounces the foreign language parts or gets the accents wrong. This narrator gets everything right here. In addition, his voice changes to suit each character without ever sounding absurd. He even does the female voices really well, without sounding falsetto.
Absolutely. This book is dangerous to your health.
It's rare to find a believable female character in a spy novel. Often they have the face of a model, the body of a pole dancer, the psyche of a nymphomaniac, the endurance of a Navy Seal, the shooting arm of a sniper, etc etc. Female spies, according to many novels, usually dress in clinging silk and ultra-high heels that then become assassin's weapons. Clearly, such authors have no clue what espionage operatives really cultivate, namely, anonymity and the ability to blend in. This novel has a believable female character who is not extreme in any of those ways. She is not perfect, nor does she have ice water in her veins. What she has is a somewhat flawed character like all of us, a rather checkered past all her own, and an admirable ability to see through the lies and deceptions of others.
It has 3 speeds: Slow, Slower, Zzzzzzz . . .
Not reader's fault. He just didn't have anything to work with.
Out of 400 or so Audible books I have purchased, this one would have to rank in the Worst 5 list, maybe even #1. It's so slow as to be painful. I would best describe it as the Ambien of Audible. If you can't sleep, put this one on and you'll be in lalaland very shortly. The story itself could have been quite good, but it is destroyed by conversation. I mean, NOTHING happens! It's just conversation after conversation followed by train of thought. No need to worry about giving away spoilers with this one - there is nothing to give away.
I really enjoyed this audio book. The story is exciting with good tempo, and the narrator gives the different characters subtle inflections that add color to the characters. There were good bits of info on the Pashtun culture that in reality all Americans should understand. I will shop for other Ignatius books for sure.
Thoroughly exciting spy novel, with at least 2 additional benefits, a strong woman hero, and insights into the cultural issues that we tend not to know--or ignore--about the countries we have gone to war with in the past 20 years.
"Excellent and exciting audiobook"
I will say nothing about the plot but recommend this audiobook most highly.
Well written and well read.
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