The start of a major career! A gripping, highly commercial espionage thriller written with the delicious insider detail and up-to-the-minute insight only known to a veteran CIA spook.
In today's Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.
Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington - hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin's intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel's impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.w
©2013 Jason Matthews (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio
Overall, a thoroughly good listen. Character development far better than in many contemporary 'thrillers'.
This is a long listen - which I normally enjoy. There were points in the final chapters that I felt there was a cumbersomeness that the majority of the tale did not possess.
Give a listen - you will not be disappointed!
I tend to read the more action-packed superhero style of spy novels (a la Vince Flynn or Ludlum) so this story was different than I had expected. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it's focus on the (more realistic) relationship aspect of the espionage world.
This book was too long. My friends who read the book said the Russian names were difficult. I told them they should be listening to the names if they wanted to be confused. It made it very difficult to track characters, as the names sounded so similar. The lead characters were not that likable. I just don't get what all the critics thought was so wonderful. I wanted to scream when the 2 main characters got together and wouldn't speak what was on their mind. Why recipes in a spy book??? And recipes with no amounts in the ingredients???
Good narration. About the only thing I liked about the book.
Very disappointed in book, not audio.
The plot was ok, and had potential, however, there were too many other annoying things that ruined the book for me. I definitely did not like the recipes that were given at the end of each chapter. Could have done with out them.
I also did not like the lead female character, Dominika, that much. She was just too egotistical and so into being a Russian spy - a good depiction of Russian spies by the author I suppose. Furthermore, her ability to see emotions that appear in bright colors around people was TOO MUCH!! Why the author added that to her character was silly.
I did like the lead male character, Nate. I wish the author had focused more on him than the female lead, Dominika!
If this were a book series, I would not read the next book.
I am an avid reader-listener which includes many thrillers: murder, spy, espionage, etc. I bought the audio book from Audible on a whim based on the description contained on their site. I agree with several other reviews that the initial several hours of the book was somewhat slow although the author was building the extensive background for the exceptional story that was to follow. Once the author got into the meat of the story, he did an incredible job.
The story contains many fully dimensional characters that are realistic and believable and make the story that much more believable. The main characters of Nathaniel Nash and Dominika Egorova are exceptionally well developed. I found myself rooting for them throughout the book and wondering what they were going to do next long after the book was finished. For two characters to make this strong of an impression long after the book is finished is a tribute to the author’s literary skills. In addition, the location descriptions make you feel as though you were there observing the action from the sidelines. The book contains insider descriptions of the workings of the CIA and Russian intelligence that adds credibility to the story line. The book is full of deceptions, schemes, double crosses, twists and turns that will keep you guessing at the outcome. And in the midst of all the treachery is an incredible love story that against all odds shouldn’t be, but is.
In summary, Red Sparrow is an espionage thriller that is on a level way above the typical book in this genre. It will hold you attention and keep you well entertained through the end of the book. The author had done an incredible job with this story line. This book is on my list to listen to again and again in the future. I can truly say that this is one of the best books that I have listened to this year and I do not give that praise out lightly. As such, this book is highly recommended!
Loved the story line. Interesting recipes. Plan on giving some a try.
Delivery of reader very much to my liking. Don't care for over production of many readers. Been a audible listener since books on tape in the the 80s. Keep up the good work
There is no doubt Jason Matthews knows his stuff. And he's put a lot of it in this book. (Or maybe not... isn't that the mark of a good spy - to make things appear to be different than they are?)
To read this book is to be immersed in the world Matthews has created. It's an intense and intellectually satisfying ride, with lots of tradecraft and even some humorous moments. More than once, I had to stop listening and remind myself "This is a work of fiction. These are not real people. They are not going to get caught; they are not going to die." Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.
To my delight, Matthews invents the Orions, a "geriatric surveillance team of retired field officers", who rely on years of practiced intuition to trail their subjects. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older myself, but I immensely enjoyed this aspect of the book. I hope they, or something like them, actually exist, because they're just wonderful, and are a warm and funny counterpart in a world that is cold and literally, dead serious.
At the end of each chapter is a recipe for one of the dishes consumed by the characters in the book. They are a literary palate cleanser - something to reset your senses before diving into the next course. Matthews uses them skillfully to let the readers catch their breath before being catapulted into the next chapter. His writing is skillful and precise - without being tedious.
My one regret is that I didn't read this book sooner. The idea of the female spy trained to bed her targets seemed to be borrowed from so many cheap, formulaic novels, but this character is anything but. She's brilliant and vulnerable, and her dehumanizing training is one of the reasons her loyalty to her government begins to crumble.
Don't even think you're going to be able to figure out the ending of this book. Nearing the last pages, I had figured out a few of the events -- spies are spies, after all -- but this book is so much more than a series of events. You'll have to read it yourself to fully understand what that means.
The second book is out, but I may wait awhile to listen to it. I want to savor this one awhile; I want to get my anxiety level back down. I want to know that another is at least in the works before consuming the next one. Nate and Dominika are people I'm not ready to let go of.
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