In what Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times called "the plot of plots", Robert Littell has created the CIA "legends" Francis and Carroll - dubbed "The Sisters Death and Night" by their cohorts. But few know what these enigmatic and extremely dangerous operatives do. They plot - and they're plotting the perfect crime. They've located the perfect pawn, the Potter, the exiled ex-head of the KGB sleeper school - and, with artful deception, the Sisters coerce him into betraying his last and best sleeper, the man he considers his son. Once awakened, this sleeper, an assassin living secretly in the US, will launch a mission of death - unless the Potter, in a desperate race against time, can stop his protegé from committing the Sisters' perfect and world-shattering crime.
©1986 Robert Littell (P)2003 New Millennium Audio, 2016 Phoenix Books
"Right up there with the novels of Le Carré, Deighton, and the rest of the best." (People)
"As slick a thriller as they come.... Very, very good." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Deft.... Different…. Entertaining.... Engaging." (Newsweek)
Brick... Is fantastic. If you haven't heard him perform Littell's "The Company" you must. It is Littell's finest piece. "The Sisters" is more complex in its story line. Complete with a sleeper spy, handlers, trainers and sweepers. Littell takes an old story, spins it and adds a hint of plausibility. Listen well
Basically, if you like Robert Littell, you'll like this book. I waited a long time to listen, fearing I'd be disappointed from some of the reviews, but I think the issue is, when someone writes a masterpiece like The Company, everything else is pale in comparison. But, on its own, The Sisters is an intriguing spy story with rich characters. It's amazing how he links events that we're all familiar with and we have the sense that we're really peeking behind the veil into the world of intrigue that doesn't make it into the newspapers.
I happened coincidentally to download this audio just before the Kennedy Assassination, so it was a very timely read/listen. Littell is a master of the LeCarre-type spycraft novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Brick's delivery of the dialogue amongst the various characters. The plot is crisp, with excellent character development, but I was hoping for a more satisfactory ending to the various intrigues than the one Littell delivers. Just the same, a worthwhile purchase.
I really liked the first half of this book. It was amusing, even funny at times.
I didn't like the second half too much. As soon as he mentioned the bar owner Rubinstein (Jack Ruby's real name), I knew the book would make references to the JFK assassination and the rest of the book would make assumptions that have nothing to do with historical facts.
Not on par with some of Littell's other works, but it's read by Brick and provides enough entertainment to carry the story. If you like Littell, you should enjoy it.
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