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Red Sparrow Audiobook

Red Sparrow: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

The start of a major career! A gripping, highly commercial espionage thriller written with the delicious insider detail and up-to-the-minute insight only known to a veteran CIA spook.

In today's Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington - hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin's intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel's impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.

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©2013 Jason Matthews (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

What Members Say

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4.3 (2870 )
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  •  
    Marilyn GLASTONBURY, CT, United States 07-27-13
    Marilyn GLASTONBURY, CT, United States 07-27-13 Member Since 2009
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    "More spy details than romance, but good"

    I don't normally read spy novels, but I love James Bond and Mission Impossible movies, and hubby and I were going to be listening on a road trip, so I opted for this book that sounded part spy novel, part romance.

    It is written by a real intelligence agent apparently, and I can believe it, as the book had amazing details about how spies move, think, operate. These details made the story richer and fascinating, in my opinion.

    The romance was definitely in there, but the reason I can't call the story really a romance has to do with the way the book was written: There is little dialogue, with the narrator telling you what characters are doing, feeling, thinking. That, plus the narrator's even, cool tone of voice kept the reader/listener at more of a distance. The romance was one aspect among many in the plot, no more no less.

    I got caught up in the story because of the author's ability to build the characters (and fast!) and to make you feel you're right there. I think the story was somewhat predictable, which is strange for a spy novel (and to a newbie spy reader at that) but that did not detract at all from wanting to know the details of how it was going to play out.

    I'm not sure how to rate the narrator, whether it was his reading or the author's "voice" (style of writing) coming through. The narrator was easy to understand and got inflections right on emotions when there was dialogue but overall he used an almost monotone or rather mono-emotion delivery with a cadence and pacing that was superimposed almost over the story. It did not detract from nor aid the story. In a way, it was perfectly fitting that it was cold ad distant, seeming to just "tell it like it is." Was his voice entertaining, no.

    One issue I had with the audible experience was that the author tended to start chapters with this format: Mr. Smith, seeing that it was noon, headed out and.....That's not from the book! But starting the chapter with a name, and often the name is Russian and they all sound the same to me, means that I don't hear it at first and then a sentence or two later I'm wondering who is doing the action. In a printed book you can go back and look (and I also have a good visual memory) but you can't do that with an audible version (hard to find the right place to go back to) so at times I just had to listen and work it out.

    Both hubby and I looked forward to getting back in the car after a pit stop to hear what happened next, so it worked great for our road trip!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michal Scotsdale, AZ, United States 07-15-13
    Michal Scotsdale, AZ, United States 07-15-13 Member Since 2009

    I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have 5 grown children, play ukuele exercise, and read.

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    "Excellent read, but would love the recipes"
    What did you love best about Red Sparrow?

    This was an amazing spy story. Even at the last 10 minutes of the book, I did not know how it would end. <br/><br/>My only regret was that I don't have copies of the recipes. Each chapter ends with a recipe and some of them sounded amazing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dominica. Very complicated character!


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Bobb – was your favorite?

    Nate! Would love to know him also.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end. Can't discuss or it would give it away.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish audible would put a pdf. on the site that included the recipes.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 10-10-14
    David Houston, TX, United States 10-10-14 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.

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    "Solid,slick,up-to-date spyfare devoid of suprises"

    Jason Matthews is a very competent story teller, maintaining tension and interest throughout this very contemporary treatment of the nearly century old Russo/American espionage tango. He very effectively ushers us into the world of spying trade craft and introduces us to the grey scale palette of motivation and ethical rationalization which goes with it. I had no problem relaxing and letting his developing plot carry me along for eighteen hours. I believed the story; I liked the characters I was supposed to like and I detested those I was meant to despise. All very neat and effective.

    Still, when I reached the end, I realized that I had never been either surprised or intensely engaged. Nor was I ever challenged or unsettled in the way I have come to expect from Greene or le Carre. This is story telling as diversion, and even though it spends a lot of effort explaining the emotional turmoil of the protagonists, it never really managed to bring me closer than arms length to the characters. This in spite of consistently expert reading by Jeremy Bobb.

    I suspect we will be hearing more from these characters, and I will probably read the next installment if there is one. There are not that many espionage authors out there who write with this level of command, and this is a beginning. Who knows where it may lead.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 10-06-13
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 10-06-13 Member Since 2014

    Cookie

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    "Tasty Tour de Force"

    Great plot, great pacing.
    Right up there with the best, I could have done this one in just one sitting! Even the recipes seemed sinister as read in the dead pan narrators style. Somehow it really works. As the character sees things in colors, I tend to see things in flavors so this tour of exotic locals in terms of food really appeals!
    Mr Matthews has a great career ahead! There is room for improvement in the sex and violence scenes. The sex is a little boring and violence of the torture scenes needlessly graphic. Sometimes less detail is more effectively chilling.
    Having said that, this is a fast, well developed and very tightly plotted novel. Right up there with Silva, Le Carte et al, don't miss it!
    All in all worth the credit, unputdownable 9 out of 10! I can't wait for the next one!

    I think I will need to buy this one in print also since I do want to make some of the recipes!

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 01-01-17
    Marie Arlington, TN, United States 01-01-17 Member Since 2013

    Audible is a really great way to escape into different worlds. I love "reading" and discovering new authors and stories.

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    "Could not put it down"
    Where does Red Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Although we all have read many "spy books" and besides that Red Sparrow has a bit of parallels with The Hunt for the Red October, it "reads" very realistically and draws the reader in. I loved that each chapter ended with a recipe, I thought it added some "sustenance" to the story line. I couldn't help but think if the author whose CIA background has found truth in this novel, how "bad" is it really out there in the Sparrow world? So, overall the book is great, don't let bad reviews because of the recipes at the end distract you, they add some lightness to the book. The story keeps moving and the characters, although you have "met them before", are good for a few surprises.<br/>


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes, it did. I was well written, made you sympathize with the characters or despise the bad guys. Cliffhanger at the end!


    Have you listened to any of Jeremy Bobb’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I have not, Mr. Bobb did a great job!


    Any additional comments?

    The only thing that bothered my about Dominika is that she is also secretly a synesthete who sees sound as colors as well as auras around people that clue her into their mental state. I had a hard time "buying" this. However, if you like spy stories than this book is worth a credit. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-25-14
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-25-14 Member Since 2017

    I love books!

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    "excellent"

    First time author for me and debut novel for James Matthews. It was a page gurner and I couldn't put it down. The author is a retired CIA officer and got much of the book from his background. This is a classic Russia versus the USA and it's current day. The author must've written this book 2-3 years ago but the event he decscribes are the ones going on right now in Ukraine and elsewhere. He states that Russia misses being a superpower and now being considered second class. Vladimir Putin's goal is to creat a USSR vesrion 2.0. With this backdrop the author creates some interesting characters on both sides and an intense, hard hitting story of spy versus spy. Using current events makes it even more plausible. The author is supposedly writing a second book using these characters, I'll look forward to it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jack englewood, CO, United States 03-02-14
    jack englewood, CO, United States 03-02-14 Member Since 2017
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    "A classic spy vs spy novel set in modern times"

    This is one of the best books I have read in years. The story is edge of you seat suspense, with a spy style love story mixed in. The writer worked for the CIA so it just doesn't get more realistic. Narration is excellent. This book left me racing back to the computer to see if Jason Matthews had other books. I could not believe this was his first. Destined to become a must read classic.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Hanson Alameda, CA United States 11-10-13
    Linda Hanson Alameda, CA United States 11-10-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Best Spy Story EVER!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Red Sparrow the most enjoyable?

    So now I can repeat myself and say this is probably the best spy story I have ever read. Cannot wait until the sequel and...I want the recipes in written form!<br/><br/>Do try and see what you think?<br/>


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don 11-09-13
    Don 11-09-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Listening at every chance I get ..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Red Sparrow to be better than the print version?

    This is a great espionage novel, masterfully read. Deep characters, intricate plot, high quality suspense. I’m happy that 2/3 through, the seduction portions are very powerful support for the story, but few and far between. What great about the story is those few events provide a huge dimension of the story without all of the “detail”, which would be distracting. The reader does an excellent job. J Bobb is superbly matched – right up there w/ “13” by RK Morgan and the Jasper FForde novels which are very well matched with readers.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Really enjoying the story - love to see just how the plot is unfolding at every turn.


    What about Jeremy Bobb’s performance did you like?

    Excellent pacing;


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt like I was in Russia, in the SVR.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vincent Chestnut Ridge, NY, USA 10-23-13
    Vincent Chestnut Ridge, NY, USA 10-23-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A story based on knowledge of inner workings"
    If you could sum up Red Sparrow in three words, what would they be?

    Reality in fiction. Compared to other espionage books, this seems more real.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Red Sparrow?

    Secrets revealed.


    Have you listened to any of Jeremy Bobb’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    N/a


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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