The pulse-pounding sequel to the best-selling, Edgar Award-winning Red Sparrow that The New York Times Book Review called "terrifically good": Star-crossed spies Dominika Egorova and CIA agent Nate Nash return in a cat-and-mouse race to the finish.
Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow and the Center, the headquarters of her service. She finds things worse than when she left. She despises the men she must serve, the oligarchs and crooks and thugs of Putin's Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington's most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.
As she expertly dodges exposure, Dominika deals with a murderously psychotic boss; survives an Iranian assassination attempt; escapes a counterintelligence ambush; rescues an arrested agent and exfiltrates him out of Russia; and has a chilling midnight conversation in her nightgown with President Putin in one of the tsar's palaces. Complicating the risks is the fact that Dominika is in love with her CIA handler, Nate Nash, and their lust is as dangerous to both of them as committing espionage in Moscow. And when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika's name on a restricted list of sources, it is a virtual death sentence. She must face off alone against her psycho boss, who's got an eight-inch knife up his sleeve.
Just as fast paced, heart pounding, and action packed as Red Sparrow, Jason Matthews' second novel proves he is "an insider's insider and a masterful storyteller" (Vince Flynn, number-one New York Times best-selling author).
©2015 Jason Matthews (P)2015 Simon & Schuster
Everything I wrote in my 6/13 review of Red Sparrow (Matthews' debut novel featuring the synesthete seductress Dominika) I could copy and paste here...another sassy clever spy novel from a man that knows the business. So well does Matthews know this business of Spy vs. Spy that it makes for some intriguing reading between the lines; you might find yourself reading along, thinking no way some of this stuff could possibly happen in *real life* -- then suddenly realizing that Matthews is the *real life* with over 30 years deep in the CIA. That's very different, and possible proof that the truth really is stranger than fiction?
As noted by others, there is more sex, and more recipes. You may again yearn for an accompanying cookbook while you stock up on cabbages, beets, onions, garlic, horseradish, and sour cream; but, frankly, my attention was diverted a couple of times wondering where to-go-to for the definition of some of the (a-hem) sexual maneuvers employed by Dominika and her fellow Sparrow School graduates. (Maybe I'll tweet Matthews for some explanations.) The recipes were a speed bump for some readers with both Red Sparrow and this book, but they provide an olfactory identification with the territory that descriptors alone just can't do. You walk into the Kremlin, and the smell of mushrooms, garlic, and cabbage fills your senses, and immerses you in the moment. Add to that Dominika's synthete perceptions of a character's personality and intentions -- Matthews cleverly pulls you into 3-D reading.
It's just pure fun watching Matthews manipulate Putin! Like a voodoo master, he controls the Russian President's every move and every thought, subtly suggesting perhaps some ego issues, as well as physical prevarications. Matthews has said in interviews that a new Cold War is going on right now. As an author, he obviously knows the pen just might be as mighty as the sword. (Would love to read a review of this book by Putin ☺.)
The reason for a downgrade of one star from Red Sparrow...the characters were a little black and white; all the good guys were stereotypical white hatted GOOD and good-looking guys, and all the no-good-niks were black hatted and black-souled (and then there is the moose-ish catatonic female Russian agent from central casting...). Maybe that's the way Matthews found it out in the *real world*, but it emphasized the fiction here, and while Putin is a character at times, he unfortunately isn't just a figment of imagination that mashes into Matthews manipulations of fiction harmoniously. The plot is a little harder to follow, but still top notch spy material. A solid showing that won't disappoint fans of Red Sparrow.
Jason Matthews' prose is at times almost poetic. He strings beautiful words around compelling characters with plots that wrap ever tighter. This second novel is even better than his first, Red Sparrow, and Jeremy Bobb's narration continues to be outstanding. Mr. Matthews has built a terrific franchise with this cast of characters, and I look forward to consuming anything else he publishes. The combination of outstanding writing around the classic spy genre provides great pleasure.
I liked the book, and it helps that I have read the first book (“Red Sparrow”) . The only issue for me was that the author tries to recite the relevant facts from the first book to make sure that people who started with “Palace of Treason” and did not read “Red Sparrow” could understand. The side effect for people who read the first book is that they feel that they waste their time.
There is a lot of believable actions, good description of geographies and cities (for Love Lock Bridge in Paris you can read CNN's article "Paris ends relationship with 'love locks'"), well defined characters and their motivations, etc.
I am sorry to rate Jeremy Bobb’s performance as only 2 stars. He did excellent job with his voice in clarity, feelings, etc. for the exception of pronunciation of Russian words (I suspect not only Russian but French as well, but I am not a native French speaker to judge). Russian is a difficult language, but it seems that Mr. Bobb did not even try, and it is so annoying! Unless you look at the reading material, Russian speaker would never understand a word, never mind sentences and proverbs – really shameful!
Strong characters in all genres. and narrators who don't ham it up.
This is masterful story telling: multiple threads woven expertly together, and easy to follow; great characters, all well developed; new and exotic locations, with beauty in the detail; a fast pace with unexpected turns. Bravo! He hasn't let us down from the first book, but only gets better. I did get a little frustrated that an obvious path to unmask the mole was not even brought up, but the story was so good I had to ignore this as a minor flaw. The performance is flawless! Treat yourself and listen to this series.
This is Hollywood on paper, so expect the Russian Spy working for the Americans to be ridiculously beautiful and irresistible. Expect the American Spy to be ridiculously handsome and beguiling. Expect lots of steamy sex scenes. And a touch of male bias. That said, it was pure entertainment.This is the second in a series (Red Sparrow being the best and worth reading.) Looking forward to the next installment.
No, but I never listen to any book a second time. When I know the plot and how it ends I just can't get into going through it again.
How come the narrator pronounced one of the main character's name in the first book (Red Sparrow) one way which seemed much more Russian than he did in this book. Drove me nuts and just can't fathom why.
Palace of Treason is an intelligent and edgy page turner that is so riveting it may disrupt your day. I can't recommend a book in this genre more highly.
This is the second book in a series and although the first book isn't a prerequisite, it provides helpful context and background.
Jeremy Bobb does a terrific job narrating; his skills seem tailor-made for this book.
Matthews builds well on the foundation he laid down in Red Sparrow, launching the reader on a metaphor driven roller coaster through the clandestine world of international politics and espionage. If you liked Red Sparrow then you will love Palace of Treason.
English, French, and Russian rendered flawlessly. Bobb's pacing, delivery, and characterizations are simply brilliant.
Unfortunately his performance is burdened by a mediocre and recycled tale of love struck secret agents pitted against Iranian scientists, sadistic Russian spymasters, and cameo appearance by Vladimir Putin. Our heroes failings are story book insignificant. Promising dialogue dissolves into characters monologuing each other. Intriguing super/psychic powers sustain interest at least equal to that of Good Housekeeping at a drill sergeants colloquium.
If your a fan of Furst, Le Carre, or even Stephenson or Baldacci, you'n find Palace of Treason somewhat wanting. If your looking for the pure escapism of your youth, listen on.
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