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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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Interesting and complex

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful spy thriller. It is fast-paced, has lots of turns, and integrates interesting facts about spying. It reminds me of le Carre but is much more exciting. <br/>My only complaint about the romance angle--it seemed incongruous with the rest of the story and slowed the action down to no positive effect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Picky reader loved this book

What did you love best about Red Sparrow?

Everything: characters, plot, narration.

What did you like best about this story?

Lot of twists and turns. Hard to stop listening.

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

The red sparrow.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Intelligent spy thriller

Any additional comments?

Other books I've liked, so readers can get a sense of my taste: Gone Girl, Suspect, Guilty Wives, Witness, The Unlikely Spy, Cutting for Stone, most Daniel Silva, most John Le Carre. I wish other reviewers would put their top likes as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • Palmetto, FL, United States
  • 12-13-13

Amazing book for an author's first work

If you could sum up Red Sparrow in three words, what would they be?

Informative, well -written,

What does Jeremy Bobb bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I always listen to mystery novels because I can both listen and do mindless or boring tasks. My husband and I also listen when traveling by car as the miles seem to go much more quickly. I visualize the story more when it is narrated.

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

Sparrow school introduced a way of training a spy that I had never considered. It wasn't the extremes that made it interesting but the story was written so well and in a way that provided some many interesting details of the world of a spy and the CIA that it made it a great listen (of course, it is clear that the story didn't give away anything secret, but gave a window into the agency that a great backdrop,

Any additional comments?

I hope this is the first of a number of novels by this author in a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Outstanding!

Where does Red Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book ranks at the top of the spy/espionage genre, in my opinion. If you enjoy this type of story, you'll love this book.

Any additional comments?

Everything about this story was set up and put together like fine music. Plot, character development - everything! I throughly enjoyed the ride and look forward to more from Jason Matthews.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • Freeland, WA, United States
  • 09-11-13

Reader ruins a really good story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No

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

When I could sort it out from the abysmal reading! I love good spy stories but I hate to have to work so hard at listening!

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jeremy Bobb?

Almost anyone who has knowledge of the Russian language! Ron McLarty might have been my choice perhaps or maybe Wanda McCadden?

Any additional comments?

Jeremy Bobb almost destroys the content of the story with his complete lack of imagination and variation in tone. He sounds as if he were reading a textbook - it is hard to discern when one character ends a sentence and another responds. Keeping track of the storyline and political maneuverings is almost impossible since it is all read in the same monotone. What a disservice to the author to assign such a miserable reader to his extraordinary work!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • G
  • 07-17-13

Wanted to hear more!

I was not able to stop listening to this book. I loved the story line and the pace of the book. I hope there is a 2nd book need to know what happens next????

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nukkles
  • San Diego, CA USA
  • 07-14-13

Very well written!

I really enjoyed listening to The Red Sparrow. While I usually listen to audiobooks while doing chores, the book called to me to pay more attention to it; often, I'd just lie down on the couch and relish the prose. It wasn't so much that I needed to concentrate on the action taking place, but I wanted to focus on the narrative, which was full of evocative imagery.

The Red Sparrow doesn't fit into the rubric of generic spy novel. There is no boiler plate here and that's why I'm looking forward to the sequel... a door which the writer clearly left wide open.

My only disappointment with the audiobook is that the regional food recipes included at the end of each chapter are not made available to Audible customers in print. This type of offering was available to listeners before Amazon owned the company. Now, one has to purchase a hard copy or Kindle book just to get the recipes in print. So, if you like to try new exotic recipes, listen with a pad and pencil handy.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Who said spy stories were finished?

First, thank you Melinda. I follow you eagerly. I don't read too many thrillers or spy stories but I trust your judgement and was not disappointed.
This book feels real and feels contemporary. I can imagine it happening now ~12 years later. The Служба Внешней Разведки and the CIA are still at it -not surprising but somewhat out of sight these days. This book is taut, entertaining, and generally well written -Mr. Matthews uses language well. And it makes one think about the geopolitics that for many of us are normally in the background (though Syria is kind of highlighting Russia's ever-present ambitions.) Serious implications for us what with Russia still holding 3000+ nukes. The two main characters, Nate and Domenika are somehat unbelievable but really, suitable for the story. At the end of each chapter is the recipe of something described earlier. A cute twist, not disruptive and it made me hungry.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Howie
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 06-13-13

Really good Putin era espionage novel

Very with the times espionage tale, very believable IMHO, not many far fetched moments in this book. The first book of his I've found and was a pleasant surprise, wasn't expecting too much going into it. Highly recommend for contemporary espionage fans.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Max
  • Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
  • 08-24-13

Good for a debut but with some blunders

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

No but still it was fascinating.

Any additional comments?

I almost never write reviews but I had to write one for the Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. Regretfully, grudgingly, I'm giving this book 4 stars although many parts of this book deserve solid 5 stars. This is a very good espionage thriller, superbly written in a literary sense, with riveting, sometimes even mesmerizing plot, strong characters, either positive or negative, and appropriate, well-timed insertions of humor. In a word, all what in my opinion any good book should have. All this evoked from me strong associations and sentiments. And yes, it' true that this book is reminiscent of some of the early John Le Carre's works although I think it's somewhat better. And I think in its politics it's closer to Tom Clancy. However, despite all this I gave this book only 4 stars because there're many significant sometimes even ridiculous and preposterous blunders:<br/><br/>1. This is supposed to be a spy thriller so the recipes at the end of each chapter were really annoying. This is NOT a cook book.<br/>2. I didn't like the author frequently using pseudo-russian words especially when many of them were totally wrong. Some of them didn't even sound like Russian, more like Polish or Czech. And I would know since I'm half Russian myself and Russian is my native language. E.g.: the author uses "Russian" word "dushka" almost on every page, figuratively speaking. First of all, to my knowledge, there is no such word in Russian. There's a word "dushenka" which roughly means sweetie or darling but the last time it was probably used in 19th century so obviously it's very obsolete. And it's only one of such numerous examples.<br/>3. Author's obvious prejudice against Russia and Russians unfortunately somewhat diminished this book making it condescending and sometimes even unrealistic and ridiculous. And it's when judging from the text events in the novel occur in the early 2014. E.g.: SVR, Russian foreign intelligence service, uses Russian made PAZ buses to transport its cadets from Moscow to Sparrow school. Once more, last time I saw a PAZ bus it was in the 80s. If they still exist then it's only on very distant rural routes, like "in the deep of Siberia". Furthermore, these buses would have never been used to transport Russian intelligence operatives in Moscow. Another ridiculous example representative of author's prejudiced attitude towards Russia: when he writes about SVR Helsinki station he describes that there were only a couple of computers but on every desk was an 80th era typewriter. I accept that Russia may be technologically inferior to US but this is simply ludicrous: I mean, we live in the 21st century and Russians aren't medieval barbarians. <br/><br/>And these aren't the only such occurrences.I don't want to spoil the novel for other readers so in conclusion I will only say that I got a strong feeling that the author's main purpose was to write this book as soon as possible and along make it highly commercial. Actually, that's what the publisher's blurb says. So he wrote a pretty good outline and then threw in a mishmash of various bits and pieces. And yeah, forgot to do his due diligence on the research. It could've been much better. It has a lot of potential. But still, overall it's a good novel. I recommend it to anyone who likes espionage fiction. Hopefully, Mr. Matthews will improve in his future books of this genre. I will look forward to them.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful