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)
So many great books, and so little time to meet them all..this is why I adore audio books, I take them with me everywhere: studio, garden etc.
What a fantastic listen, at no time did I think that 40 hours was too long: I found this novel interesting from start to finish and a great way to get a birds eye view of modern history. Littell's style has enough detail and originality of expression to engage the 'reader' without slowing it down too much for the listener who likes action. Definitely qualifies for a repeat listen before too long. The narrator was easy to listen to and characterised the voices very well without causing one to cringe.
An exciting story that sustains throughout and delivers a one-two punch from start to finish. A well written spy novel, modern-day mystery, and character study wrapped up in great style and delivered through the brilliant narration of Scott Brick. If you want to relive the cold war through real people, true events, and a step-by step walk through a dark corridor of history -- don't miss this book.
You wouldn't know this is fiction - if you know American Intel History you would think this is a non-fiction accounting the CIA past.
Long, but keeps you interested.
Now I don't often wax on about how great these audio books are. As you've probably figured out, there's occasional diamonds, and a whole lot of stones. This one is rare indeed! Essentially a fictionalized narrative history of the CIA from post-WW II through the end of the Cold War, it's a wonderful story! Scott Brick does an outstanding job with the voices, nuances, and accents. He's a great narrator! Littell's epic tale follows a number of actual historic characters through the years ... there are a number of international espionage accounts, with one overall mystery running through to the final end: who is the longstanding mole in CIA working with the Russians since the beginning(?). I found myself regularly jumping off to look up characters and events on Wikipedia to see how real history paralleled the narrative. It's really fantastic how Littell weaves it all together. Wonderfully intriguing and historic characters such as "The Sorcerer", James Jesus Alexander, Kim Philby, "The Rabbi", and on and on. The ending does not disappoint and is inspired. Hell, it might even be real! Try it, you'll like it!
I was initially reluctant to start a 40 hours book, but I was astonished at how quickly the time passed. It was over far too soon. I realize this book is a fictionalized version of history, but the foundations in fact make this a very compelling commentary on practices and policies of this country during the Cold War, and beyond. I only wish this book had been twice as long!!
Excellent character development and plot, but can at times leave you in the dust if you're not paying attention to the names and AKAs. You WILL use rewind, but it's well worth it. The story is compelling and timely. The references make you feel like you're getting the behind the scenes 'real' story of the CIA and it's role in historical events. It will drive you to listen long after you should stop and get on with life. The narrator is fantastic and brings life to all the characters. A must read!
This is my first Rober Littell book and I really enjoyed it. It keeps you guessing right up until the very end. I thought I might be getting sick of it by the end of 40 hours, but not so.
Scott Brick is an excellent narrator. Although, he could be more consistent in volume. There are times when listening through the cassette adapter in my car that I couldn't hear him well at all. I know that changes in volume can add some drama, but if you can't hear what he's saying, drama gives way to frustration.
This book is huge.....long.....and captivating all the way......
It had me wanting to continue listening for more at every minute of it's (40?) hours. It is the most enjoyable listen I have had to date and gave a seemingly realistic insight into the workings of the CIA and other spy agencies.
The character development is excellent, from the Uni study days, through recruitment , training , first posts and on to senior positions and eventually end of careers.
It nicely ties in realistic events in great detail, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and leaves you wondering if this is a non fiction or a novel.
Be warned...it will take over your life ! Your family will be sicj of seeing you listening and wearing your earphones - you won't be able to stop listening.
Excellent narration. Highly recomended
This was one of the first audible books I purchased - I think I was going for quantity. I listed to the first CD twice at different points in time but abandoned the effort each time. However, I have great faith in Audible reviewers and this book was one of the highest rated, widely read books on the site. I tried again and finally broke into the second CD. From there on, I was transported back to times and events I could remember but this book both refreshed that history and gave it a new perspective. How could one so quickly forget living the Cold War?
Unlike a few other reviewers, I applaud the reading by Brick as I could swear he recorded the Kennedy and Reagan White House conversations they seemed so real. Maybe you have to be of a certain age to truly appreciate this reading.
The characters are well developed, the historical data is probably very accurate, his overrall knowledge of the spy business seems well researched, and his speculation of how and why events may have occured during the cold war, was at times very creative. But I personally, could not stay focused for 35 of 40 anticlimatic hours. Unless you're in the CIA, or a person who just plain enjoys long, long stories, you're better off waiting for the abridged version. He would have been better off creating a series of 4 stories, each with their own climax, while baiting us to impatiently anticipate the next release at $20 per release, rather than giving it to us all in one shot for $70.00.
"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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