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
Recipes at the end of chapters made up for predictable plot. The initial character development showed promise. And yes the recipes are the best part.
So much potential but solutions and characters appearing with little to no development at times. Worst of all these characters impact the plot tremendously. The use of Diva's color reading power only is relevant for half the book. After that it is used to illustrate how wonderful the CIA is supposed to be. More than anything I am excited to try the recipes in this book some of them sound amazing. Sadly the culinary dishes are the highlight of this transparent spy novel.
I'd have a tough time recommending this book. Although it's well written and Jeremey Bobb's narration is good, the story really doesn't have an ending. It just stops. The recipes that open every chapter may be fine in written form (because you can choose to skip reading them), but in an audible book, it disrupts the flow of the story and is just plain annoying.
Least interesteing were the recipes, as stated above. Most interesting were the various twists and turns the characters took. I was enjoying the book, but the "non-ending" left me scratching my head, thinking I must have skipped chapters by mistake!
He did a very nice job narrating.
It inspired me to be much more sceptical of the reviews of others! I suggest you take my review with a grain of salt. It's only one person's opinion.
Jason Matthews is a talented new writer. Next time, I will probably buy the printed book rather than the Audible version.
Let me start with the positives: (1) the book is well written with good use of the the English language; (2) the discussions of trade craft are interesting; (3) the use of Russian phrases is is a nice touch as is the author's knowledge of Russian geography; and (4) the performance is very good.
As for the negatives:
1. The main character is is so poorly conceived that it is impossible to suspend disbelief. For example, is it credible for a young female Russian corporal to constantly talk back to senior officers (and get away with it)?
2. The lead character also bases many of her decisions on the color of the "aura" she see around the heads of the other characters. Really?
3. The author is obviously a foodie -- each chapter ends with a recipe for a dish mentioned in that chapter. I found this annoying. Perhaps the author should write a cookbook next time.
Overall, I had a hard time hanging in until the end.
I generally enjoy this type of book, but I found the author's style annoying - literally from the first sentence. Six word into the story, the first unfamiliar acronym appears, and I'm already wondering if I missed something important. I found I frequently had to replay sections of the book to "decode" acronyms, jargon, or foreign language phrases that didn't make sense until subsequent text clarified their meaning. The writing was so confusing during the big fight seen (near the end) that after my first pass, I wasn't sure who had survived and who had killed whom.
I've listened to dozens of audiobooks of this genre without the frustration I tolerated in this one. I doubt that I'd try another from this author. The story was good, but it just wasn't worth putting up with the annoyances.
right in the middle
Decent read, minus stupendously horrible pronunciation of all Russian words frequented in the book for authenticity.
I am a native Russian speaker and I couldn’t even recognize half of them. With all the resources available to a narrator, how hard was it to learn a little bit? -Pure negligence, IMHO.
Also, note to the author: one of the central characters “Domenica”, apparently of very privileged upbringing, had chosen KGB/SVR career on her own, without pressure. There is no way in Hell it could happened, those people are so above it, she would never do it, totally unbelievable.
hmmmm...less sex and more detective
yes...his voice was nice
The one where the narrator began sex moaning as a girl.
Maybe I am a prude, but really I just wanted to hear a story.
Sex with a hairbrush...really? Lesbian shower scene...just felt like porn.
This thriller (which isn't too thrilling) has recipes thrown in. Normally I like books with recipes, but these interfere with the action, and the decision to include them was a mistake. Other reviews have mentioned the great character development. I didn't find that to be so. In addition to the recipes, the violence is also weird because it doesn't seem consistent with the rest of the story telling. I didn't much like this book.
This could have been a good read except for all of the cooking, eating, recipes....I don't think I could read another of Jason's books. I do love cooking but this was just a little too much. It did take away from the story a great deal!
Could have been a good story line if the cooking references were left out.
When I wasn't drifting due to the even keel and lack of emphasis from the reader, I found the story intriguing. The challenge was keeping attention on the presentation.
The prep detail that book described to prepare agencts.
I guess what I liked best was the overall story...the spy versus spy but I had to go back and listen to parts of it over and over because there was too much jumping around. The overall story has great potential but perhaps for me this would have been better read than listened. I wanted to like Nate and Dominika but for me the story seemed to run together too much and while most of the characters and scenes were poorly developed there were some scenes that stood out...but too few to give this more than a mediocre rating.
The attemp to make this a suspense filled spy novel with strong romance overtones just didn't work for me. I would have developed some of the characters and scenes more fully...left off some of the references that made no sense (...brick lined Richmond...silk road peddler etc. Etc.) And focused more on telling the story rather making it sound more like a laundry list like he did this...she did that then breaking into dialog then using a accented voice for a particular character and next time not.,.. all the jumping around which worked sometimes but far too often did not.
MAYBE...but as for this book I feel he was not consistant in his narration ...at times he droned on and on and at other times he tried to animate what a character was saying but then in mid"conversation he would go back to reading in a monotone voice. For the most part his narration was halted and inconsistant.
Yes...return the book. I admit I purchased this based on the previous reviews and in the future I'll not rely on what others have to say so much. I would not have even given this book a three star rating except for the fact that it was probably better read...it did have a few decent moments and I really wanted the story and chacters to work but everything seemed to not fall in to place. The whole spy story thing...the love story...the murder mystery...good and bad characters...it just didn't fall in to place for me. Also...the narration...in my opinion was not too good. I found myself wondering why the previous reviewers found this such a good book. The inner workings of all the different intelligence communities should have added spice to the book rather than sound like a laundry list of you do this they do that and on and on. One positive note is that I did like the recipes...a nice touch.
In the future I'll cbeck out what reviewers outside the Audible community have to say about a title together with what the Audible reviewers write and then make my decision whether or not to purchase a title. I guess I'm just very surprized how different my opinion of this book was from the other Audible reviewers and I guess that's why I wanted to add this review...so perspective listeners can see the varied reviews and judge for themselves.
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