Crisis constantly lurks around the corner, monitored by spies who are always with us. In his career-capping thirteenth novel, master of the espionage thriller Robert Littell has crafted a breathtaking story of the legendary CIA - "The Company" to insiders.
At its heart lies a spectacular mole hunt involving the CIA, MI6, KGB and Mossad - a stunningly conceived trip down the rabbit hole to the labyrinthine Alice-in-Wonderland world of espionage, "a wood where things have no names."
Racing across a landscape spanning the legendary Berlin Base of the 1950s - the front line of the simmering Cold War - the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Bay of Pigs, Afghanistan, and the Gorbachev putsch, The Company tells the thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an enemy that is amoral, elusive, and formidable. It also lays bare the internecine warfare within the company itself, adding another dimension to the spy vs. spy game.
©2013 Robert Littell (P)2013 Phoenix Audio
"If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel, he should have." (Tom Clancy, author of Patriot Games) "If le Carre is the Joyce of spy novelists, Littell is the Dickens." (Booklist, starred review). "An epic tale...peopled by heroes and villains who seem almost mythological in retrospect...Keeps you riveted." (Nelson DeMille, author of Up Country)
"Destined to become the definitive novel about the CIA." (Amazon.com)
Littel has spun a tale so true-to-life that I found myself thinking it might be thinly veiled non-fiction. More than once I found myself sitting in my car, listening until the very last moment I could walk in to work. The characters are fully three dimensional, the plot develops naturally, and the history lessons contained within the story are so well woven I couldn't tell where the fiction ended and the history began.
Don't miss this revealing look at the rise and near-fall of one of this country's governmental institutions.
Lover of good ideas
This is one of the most complicated and deeply written plot, based on real people and historical events. While a novel, you soon forget that fact as the characters develop and the story unfolds. You have to pay attention, because the plot turns on itself, and you can loose the storyline. I don't know how many times I had to replay a section, because I missed a switch in the plot.
Character development is great and you soon know and care about the characters. It is sometimes hard to tell who the good guys are and who are the evil ones. No matter, you will find yourself engrossed by the story. If you lived through some of these actual events, the book makes you wonder if it has let you in on what really happened and why things happened the way they did.
I will definitely be reading more of Mr Litell's books.
I don't really like spy novels, but I love long books. So I read most of the reviews and decided to give the book a try. So here are my responses to the reviews:
1 Some said it had too much cursing. I don't get easily offended by too much cursing. I kept an ear out for it, but felt there was very little cursing. Unless you are overly sensitive to cursing, don't worry about this one. And now, I'm going to find another book by this author...
2 Some said too long. I do like long books and felt that every hour was great. There was 1 slight lull in the 80's after a major plot climax, but overall, it was captivating.
3 Some got mixed up with names because of it being a spy novel. This was my biggest concern. I have the same problem. But I was able to be reasonably sure of what was going on at all times.
4 ...It was a condemnation against democracy. This is the most ridiculous claim. I didn't see any "preaching" for or against. It is a spy novel. The author showed that the Russian actually believe in their cause. Characters on both sides of the "game" were well developed and real.
Spy novels aren't my genre, but I would recommend this book highly.
I've never written a book review before because I would hate someone to buy something on my account and then not enjoy it. However, I can confidently state that "The Company" is a top notch listen in every respect. History has never been so entertaining or personal. I hesitate to imagine the hours of research that went into its writing, for, although it is a work of fiction, the factual events are covered in amazing detail that shows uncanny clarity and insight on behalf of the author. It is easy to get lost in the names, places, titles and relationships, but it is worth the effort. The narrator was perfect. His readings were well prepared (it is probably difficult to switch from German to Russian accents back to English), and he put real emotion in the reading when required (without overdoing it). I can't really overstate how much I enjoyed this audiobook, and I am sure that you well also.
The Company will become a part of your life. Over the course of a month I came to know the men and women depicted in The Company, and to care about them. This book is about more than just the cold war, it is about the shaping of modern America and the people who (could have?) made it happen. I didn't want it to end.
This is the first review I have written and I just had to do it. I am about half way through the book and it's great! I really believe it is more true that fiction! I had reservations about downloading such a huge book, but I am enthralled. I was afraid that it would be too confusing listening to this type of book, due to both the subject and the length, but it is so interesting I can't wait to get time to listen to it. It is written in such a way that it is easy to follow and the narration is exceptional. What a great book!
At 40 hours, this juggernaut of an epic pulls you deep into the story of the second half of the twentieth century from the perspective of the true soldiers of the Cold War. At 23, even relatively recent events like the fall of the Berlin Wall are shadowy memories at best for me. Littel brought the meaning and feelings of over forty years of tension straight to the surface with action, secret agents, double agents, love affairs, suspense, history, spectacular characters, and humor to slide you through smoothly. This audio book is a rite of passage to being a true Audible listener.
Littell strikes a great balance between detail and drama. The story sweeps over decades and continents, but still keeps you connected to the three men whose lives are traced the most closely. When a major plot twist involved one of them, my heart actually started pounding and I became concerned for him.
I highly recommend this entertaining book, especially if you take advantage of a subscription to pick it up for a song!
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Perhaps the chief attraction of this book is its decades-long narrative which touches every one of the U.S./Soviet flashpoints between the early fifties and the fall of the Kremlin old guard. We are given a nice view of the through line in this central confrontation of the second half of the 20th C.
Unfortunately this is also the story's chief weakness. We are asked to believe that this tiny handful of central characters was, Zelig-like, present and vital at every climactic moment over a thirty year span and then went on to run the CIA as, essentially, their own little shop. By the end there is something rather absurd about how thinly they have been spread.
Nonetheless, there are times when Littell spins a ripping good story, notably in the cases of the Hungarian uprising, the Bay of Pigs and the rise of Boris Yeltzin. He gives us gripping closeups of each, complete with some memorable minor characters and the requisite hairsbreadth escapes. The outcomes are uniformly predictable, but the we still enjoy the trip each time, and with so much compelling history to cover, the author is able to keep the story unwinding at a pace which seldom lags. If only the leading players came to life along with the episodes. Only one really does, and he labors throughout his entire life for the Communist cause.
When I bought this book, I shelved it for a while because I couldn't commit myself to the sheer length of it. Everyday I didn't start listening to <U>The Company</U>, I was robbing myself of one of the greatest audio book experiences I will probably ever have. The depth of character development and the complexity of the interweaveing stories is handled masterfully by Littell. Scott Brick's narration is fantastic.
Do not be intimidated by the length of this book! Once you get in, it will stay with you during your days and nights when not listening to it.
"The Company - Fantastic Read!"
Don't be daunted by the length of this book as it breaks nicely into sections/time capsules. I'm usually a fan of crime thrillers but I'll try anything that grabs my attention and then manages to hold it. Littell's style and Scott Brick's performance proved to be a perfect match.
I was first attracted to Robert Littell after watching the TV series Legends on Netflix. My husband and I gulped it down in three evenings. I decided to see what was available by this author on Audible. Seeing the length of the book I was put off but thought what the heck if it doesn't measure up I can return it. I found myself riveted. At several points I went online to see how close the book followed recorded history, especially the Bay of Pigs and the Gorbachev/Yeltsin era. Except for the names of the fictional characters, the book closely followed actual events.
Give this book a try even if it's not you're usual genre. The Company has taken me off into a whole new genre. Can't wait to read more from this author!
Had me hooked straight away. An often uncomfortable journey through generations, reflecting true friendship, loyalty, paranoia and ultimately betrayal. One of my favourite books of all time. That's not an easy list to get on! Very well narrated.
"No other story like this "
In this genre no other book compares to it, for its audacity and Complexity and sheer scope. Espionage at its best.. Scott Brick has given a performance nearly equal to the author himself
Fantastic book and fantastic delivery from SB. 40 hours was not enough. I still wanted more when it was done.
"A great ride"
Very good story, far better than our own Le Carre
Any Le Carre or similar
Great consistency over such a long narration
Good book, well worth the time to listen
"Long but Very interesting And you really need to pay attention"
A little bit more action , Linking a few more stores together, considering it was 40 hours the ending was fairly quick,
But still doesn't change my opinion of it be an amazing book enjoyed
More than one all the twists and turns In every little story in a story On the attention to detail
The amazing way he Gave the characters their own accents throughout, And made all the people actually sound different ,
A very interesting book at the same time in history lesson
"Worth the time commitment."
Really interested in the background of some of the most important world events of this period but in a way that the fictionalised story made it more personal.
His portrayal of the characters enables you to visualise them and separate them out, which is very important when there are so many of them.
The final denouement which underlined for me that nothing is ever as black and white as you would like it to be.
It's a heavy commitment in terms of time, so best to listen to when you have at least 60 mins at a time, otherwise it's difficult to keep up with strands.
"Gripping page turner"
Took a while for the story to get going and to get used to the characters.
When I got into it I didn't want to put the book down.
Realistic, empathetic and myriad twists and turns.
Would heartily recommend it.
"Now I Sort-of Understand"
I need to understand how Russia became. I knew about Stalin and his dreadful regime, but clearly the country was badly affected by WW2 and what Hitler did. It is not over yet, judging by Putin's behaviour, but I can see and understand the history of the 40 plus years covered by this excellent book
"45 hours of engaging espionage.."
The 'Sasha' thread throughout the book
The bay of pigs schene
The 'girlies' scenes throughout the book made me cry.
The Company is nothing less than an epic history of the Cold War, the period in which the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics tried to undermine each other without resorting to nuclear weapons.
One reason why Littell’s novel is so effective is the skill with which he blends such historical events as the Cuban Missile Crisis with the lives of his fictional characters. Those invented personalities range from the alcoholic head of America’s Berlin Base, Harvey Torriti, to the pedophile who runs Soviet counterintelligence, the man known only as “Starick.”
What ultimately makes this massive work so enjoyable is the decades-long search by the CIA for the Soviet mole, Sasha
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