Each side struggles to anticipate its opponent's next move and the superpowers are locked in a deadly contest that exploits friendships, destroys loyalties, and manipulates human beings as expendable pawns.
©2002 Robert Littell; (P)2002 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved
"A perfect little gem, the best Cold War thriller I've read in years." (The New York Times)
"Concise, smart and funny, this novel turns Cold War spy cliches on their head." (Publishers Weekly)
"Littell deserves his comparisons with Deighton and le Carre." (The Times, London)
I found this book to be very slow moving and unsatisfying. The "central" character, A.J. Lewinter, turns out to be a bit player in this imitation melodrama. We never really find out from him why he defected, but only get speculation from the "spooks" on both sides as to why Lewinter traded sides. Since the book never really grabbed me, I had to force myself to continue listening. Then when the book ended, I said " . . . that's it?" Save your money and your time: choose something else to read/listen.
Not even close to the quality of "The Company". However, it is readable and enjoyable -- just a disappointment after reading his show stopper.
BOOKS - Portal of the Imagination
A good story with interesting quirks which Scott Brick brings alive. Not in the same class as "The Company" and has some areas which are only salvaged by Brick's talent as a narrator. This is a book you must pay attention to in order to "get" lots of the nuances. If you enjoy Littell or Brick this one is worth your time.
I found the story slow and full of tangents. Some of the social philosophies and spook actions were at times interesting, but I quit listening to it. I found the reader's voice to be a bit droning and character's inflections started sounding the same. The accents were helpful, however, when figuring out who was saying what.
This was perhaps one of the bottom 5 books that I have downloaded. Save your money. The characters are flat, the plot predictable. I had to force myself to finish it and would not recommend spending your time listening. I continue to like Scott Brick as a narrator but even he can't make up for a weak plot.
I bought this book after having listened to the Company and becoming a huge Robert Littell fan....bad choice. Some of his other works are ok, but this one was boring. I would set it to play and fall asleep to it at night. I had no concerns or cares for the characters and only looked forward to the ending, which I don't even remember. If you liked The Company....STOP NOW. It's a great book and he's not come out with anything to match it...if you're desparate for more from him, read The Sisters...but I strongly advise not listening to this particular droning epic.
Overall an interesting story of how the "spooks" on both sides play off each other. Not sure when this story is to have taken place, but sounds like late cold war era, 60s perhaps. But it was very unusual to listen to as the narrator gave every character an ethnic accent to nearly every phrase in the book. Didn't matter whether the character was from Russia, Washington DC or Boston. Content good but narration unusual.
his voice is mellow and he does different characters in a slightly different way so that it is easy to follow who is speaking when the author does not write in who says what. He rarely does a sudden change to the volumeof his voice (it is REALLY ANNOYING to have your eardrums blasted as some narrators do) .
leaves you hanging a bit at the end, but the story line is good and it makes you think.
Well read, well wriiten and like all of Littel, extremely nuanced. The listener must listen; the rewards are ample.
I have to admit that spy novels and espionage is my genre of choice, but this is another great "read" (listen) from Robert Littell. As always he has many characters to keep track of, but masterfully pulls them all together to end the book. If you liked "The Company" you will like this book.
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