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The Company: A Novel of the CIA | [Robert Littell]

The Company: A Novel of the CIA

"If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel," says Tom Clancy, "he should have." In this spectacular Cold-War-as-Alice-in-Wonderland epic, Littell, "the American le Carre," takes us down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinthine world of espionage that has been the CIA for the last half-century. "Ostensibly a single novel, The Company can also be listened to as an anthology of cracking good spy stories," says (Publishers Weekly).
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Think of Mario Puzo doing a spy novel and you get a sense of the scope Littell achieves. Spanning over 40 years of CIA history, The Company is a multi-generational saga of men and women trying to do right in a world where deceit is a tool of the trade. Narrator-extraordinaire Scott Brick gives individuality to a large cast of characters, keeping the listener connected to them from The Bay of Pigs to the Reagan White House. (Ed Walloga)

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2002 Robert Littell; (P)2002 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (5007 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cynthia Bremerton, WA, USA 01-17-03
    Cynthia Bremerton, WA, USA 01-17-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    139
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    "Hang on to your Hat"

    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.

    139 of 139 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Elizabethtown, PA, USA 03-31-04
    Matthew Elizabethtown, PA, USA 03-31-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My Review of the Reviews"

    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.

    147 of 149 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Gallinaro Auburn, NH United States 06-15-08
    Frank Gallinaro Auburn, NH United States 06-15-08 Member Since 2007

    Lover of good ideas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Full of twist and turns and surprises."

    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.

    41 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 01-16-03
    Robin Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 01-16-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "Amazing"

    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.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Prince George, VA, USA 05-25-05
    Jo Prince George, VA, USA 05-25-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You're in Good Company with"

    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.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 06-05-03
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 06-05-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    40
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    Overall
    "Lavish, Totally Absorbing"

    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 The Company, 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.

    38 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Sterling, IL, United States 08-08-03
    Amazon Customer Sterling, IL, United States 08-08-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    16
    7
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    "Keeping me"

    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!

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne Mildura, Australia 06-16-09
    Dianne Mildura, Australia 06-16-09 Member Since 2008

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Listen"

    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.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Seattle, WA, USA 02-27-03
    Jeff Seattle, WA, USA 02-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating read"

    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!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louis San Diego, CA 08-22-03
    Louis San Diego, CA 08-22-03 Member Since 2002

    nyphur

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Holy Grail of Audible.com"

    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.

    36 of 38 people found this review helpful
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  • Carl
    8/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long but Very interesting And you really need to pay attention"
    What would have made The Company better?

    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


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Company?

    More than one all the twists and turns In every little story in a story On the attention to detail


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    The amazing way he Gave the characters their own accents throughout, And made all the people actually sound different ,


    Any additional comments?

    A very interesting book at the same time in history lesson

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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