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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Leaving Berlin and The Good German comes a fast-paced and richly imagined novel about an American spy, the Cold War's most notorious defector, who gave up his country for the safety - and prison - of Moscow but never lost his gift for betrayal.

In 1949 Frank Weeks, fair-haired boy of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, 12 years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB-approved project almost certain to be an international best seller, and has asked his brother, Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It's a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for. The book is sure to be filled with mischief and misinformation; Frank's motives are suspect, the CIA hostile. But the chance to see Frank, his adored older brother, proves irresistible.

And at first Frank is still Frank - the same charm, the same jokes, the same bond of affection that transcends ideology. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of treachery, still actively working for "the service". He finds himself dragged into the middle of Frank's new scheme, caught between the KGB and the CIA in a fatal cat-and-mouse game that only one of the brothers is likely to survive.

Defectors is the gripping story of one family torn apart by the divided loyalties of the Cold War, but it's also a revealing look at the wider community of defectors, American and British, living a twilit Moscow existence, granted privileges but never trusted, spies who have escaped one prison only to find themselves trapped in another that is even more sinister. Filled with authentic period detail and moral ambiguity, Defectors takes us to the heart of a world of secrets, where no one can be trusted and murder is just collateral damage.

©2017 Joseph Kanon (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Decent story. Narration mediocre.

The story line took a while to develop. The ending was somewhat predictable too, but it was a refreshing change from the brainless shoot-em-up spy novels that inundate the broad market.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rosemary
  • Greenwich, CT, United States
  • 06-15-17

Superb thriller!

This book will transport you to Moscow 1962. A very well written spy story. Very little sex or violence thankfully, with a truly superior narrator. Good job all around!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Jim Squires

This a very complex book full of unexpected twists and turns. A difficult long listen.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Could not get past the narrator.

I can't comment on the story, because i couldn't finish. WOW the narrator ruined this. He took out any gravitas that this book could have had. I just found him annoying.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

So-so Spy Story told from a Different Perspective

The story tries hard to evoke what the life of a defector must have been like in the Soviet Union at the most frigid moments of the Cold War. I found it impossible to engage with the characters, each of whom was more boring than the next. The finale brings some twists, but I was just trying to get the whole thing over with.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent espionage novel

some moderate twists and turns but overall a little too sluggish with not much happening in the end.