©1986 Robert Littell; (P)2003 New Millennium Audio
"As slick a thriller as they come... Very, very good." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Right up there with the novels of Le Carré, Deighton, and the rest of the best." (People)
"Deft... Different... Entertaining... Engaging." (Newsweek)
Perry Mason Fan
Sisters is not as good as other Littell novels. Nevertheless, in my opinion he is the best writer of the genre and his worst novel trounces the competition from other writers.
The story is set in the 1960's. The anti-heroes are two old bachelor CIA operatives with symbiotic minds. One sees the forest and one sees only the trees. They finish one another?s sentences and one another?s thoughts. When one is stuck, the other has a ready solution. They are called the Sisters (a title that has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, since, for many years, they have both been too obsessed with intelligence work and double think to think of sex.)
Within the agency, they are known to be somewhat strange, but are kept around, nevertheless, because they are occasionally brilliant.
They both believe that the battle between the United States and the Soviet Union is at a decision point and on this point hangs either civilization and freedom or barbarism and slavery.
So, with the presumed blessing of their superiors, they put their heads together to commit the perfect crime. How? They reason that if they can discover the identity of a Soviet agent in deep cover (a sleeper), hijack him, and control his mission, the crime can not be traced to the Sisters of the CIA.
That takes you through the first ten minutes.
The character development is very good. The twists and turns are good, but not as good as in other Littell novels. The ending has a twist (of course) but is not as ambiguous as Littell?s other novels. I recommend Sisters after you have listened to or read Littell?s other novels. The others are better, but Sisters is worth the read.
After spending 40 hours on The Company, another book by Littell read by Brick is like a visit with old friends. You'll find, however, that this is an darker and twistier adventure, with characters that are more flawed and morally ambiguous. I found it to be a compelling listen, but the ending was unsatisfying and nearly ruined the whole thing for me.
Tucked away in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.
I downloaded this book based upon a review by one of the listeners I follow. Unfortunately, I didn't find it as extraordinary as he did. I wouldn't say it was a waste of a credit. I did finish the book and was mildly entertained. Scott Brick is an amazing reader so that boosted my interest, though I dinged him a star for his exaggerated effeminate and whiny representation of "the sisters." Really, it's the 60s and these guys are big dogs at the CIA and he's making them sound like drag queens.
But that nit aside, I remain indifferent to this book and wouldn't seek out others by Littell based upon this book.
Everything about this book is great. The story line, character development and narration. Why can't I get books of this quality every time. Littell has now ranked in the top five of my espionage writers, probably top two. This is a great use of a credit. Wow!
Somewhat lack lustre
No, but it kept me shuffling around quite a bit. An intriguing plot and you wonder who is pulling who's string. The story unfortunately is let down by a very fast wind down to a disappointing end.
The Potter was my favourite character a soft outer shell hiding a very hard centre. So much happens to him and he seems to be easy going, but then that hardness erupts.
Not as good as some of Littell's other novels.
Wouldn't listen again... one time is enough. Good story, worth listening to, but hardly a 'classic' worth listening to you again and again
Well written - engaging
Scott Brick is a terrific narrator. Easy voice to listen to. Well done. (Listen to
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.
trying to see the world with my ears
This might be a good (or even above average) spy novel, but it doesn't appproach the greatness of The Company, which I liked for its history as much as plot. Other than LeCarre's later novels interwoven with current events, I am not much of a fan of the spy genre, so take my review with a grain of salt if you just want to read a little action about Cold War-riors (along with Littel's very decent writing and Brick's excellent narration).
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.
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