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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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  •  
    FRITZ STOOP Moraga, CA USA 08-26-16
    FRITZ STOOP Moraga, CA USA 08-26-16 Member Since 2017

    I'm a retired builder then dot- com-er. My latest journey is a foray into local politics. Attended UC Berkeley in the tumultuous late '60s

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    "Where are the novelists?!?"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Idiots


    Has Red Sparrow turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The quality is surpassed by many romance novel plots. Character development was akin to a Madame's interview at a brothel.


    What didn’t you like about Jeremy Bobb’s performance?

    Bland, trite, boring. All the interest of a 'user manual'


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    The quality of the writing being foisted on us is deplorable. These folks think sex, espionage, and superficial politics is a formula for literary credence.
    Nonsense. Where are the true novelists? Any itinerant with a high school diploma could produce this tripe.
    Is this culture so undeniably stupid? Of course it is. But where are our future champions of literature? Too busy with their iPhones stuck in their faces. Likely.
    One good reason to have been born in 1947.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 05-30-14
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 05-30-14 Member Since 2011

    A man's got to do what a man's got to do..

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    "A GREAT disappointment ...."

    A number of great reviews pushed me to buy and read (or rather to "listen to") this book . What a disappointment ! The story moves along stereotypes : "our" guys are all good, corageous smart & fighting for a better world (except a couple of top CIA bureaucrats) ; "theirs" guys (the Russians) are so unbelievably stupid, mean and corrupt (except those of are willing to betray their country). Modern Russia is like URSS (the Evil Empire) , if not worse. The reader does not develop empathy for the main characters as they are lacking depth and originality ; the plot moves fast , but gets boring after a while.
    On surface it sounds and looks like a Le Carré cold war novel , but it is only a pale imitation. Stay away !!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 07-10-13
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2011

    Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.

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    "Even better the second time "

    This is one of those rare books that stuck with me for months after reading it. The sometimes monstrous nature of what our respective espionage agencies do and justify in the name of security are well represented here, & while this is certainly a pro-western read, it doesn't shy away from illustrating dirty deeds on all sides. That said, the entire concept of sparrow school- what it entails, & what the "training" must do to its students- stuck with me for months & left its mark on me. Great listen the first time, & I've just re-read to prep for the second novel, & it's even better this go- round.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maine Colonial 🌲 Maine, United States 06-19-13
    Maine Colonial 🌲 Maine, United States 06-19-13 Member Since 2017

    Maine Colonial 🌲

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    "Classic espionage fiction––today"

    Who says the Cold War is over? Sure, the Berlin Wall came down, the USSR is fractured, and Russia is no longer a communist state, but that doesn't mean the US isn't watching Russia very carefully––and vice versa.

    Vladimir Putin, that old KGB operative and apparently now President-for-Life, has plenty of tricks up his sleeve––and I'm not talking about this week's news that he purloined Bob Kraft's Patriots Super Bowl ring. Vlad the Cad plans for Russia to return to being a superpower, and for that he needs excellent intelligence on the US government. Even more important for right now, he needs somebody to find out who is passing Russian secrets to the CIA's young agent, Nate Nash.

    Enter Dominika Egorova, the former ballet dancer, turned into a spy by her conniving uncle, Ivan Egorov. Egorov, the slime, sends Dominika to "sparrow school," where Russian intelligence trains agents in the most effective techniques to seduce their targets. Nate is Dominika's target, and their dance begins. The first half of the story details this slow seduction and the development of Dominika's position within the Russian security apparatus.

    It's unusual for espionage fiction to feature a female agent, but this is Dominika's story. She begins as a fervent nationalist, naïvely trusting that the servants of the motherland share her honor and devotion. Her own uncle's callously manipulative actions are just her first clues that Russian intelligence is a dangerous place. Dominika has some special help maneuvering through this snakepit. She has a form of synesthesia that gives her the ability to see colored auras around people that clue her into their real character or state of mind.

    The second half of the story raises the stakes, as both sides play a no-limit game of Mole Hunt. The Russians need Dominika to get Nate to reveal their mole, while the Americans are in hot pursuit of someone highly placed in government who is funneling secrets to the Russians. Author Jason Matthews, a retired longtime CIA agent, constructs a a fiendishly clever plot, filled with characters painted in all shades of gray (or, for Dominika, yellow, brown, red, blue and purple), including one especially colorful love-to-hate villain.

    Particularly for a debut novel, this is just a bang-up tale of modern espionage, with all the appeal of an old-fashioned Cold War yarn. Matthews does commit a few rookie errors. He uses too much alliteration in character names, he's not great with physical descriptions (what's a "willowy smile"?), Dominika's synesthesia can get a little gimmicky, and some plot elements rely on stupid mistakes.

    More troublesome is Matthews' depiction of all FBI agents as jumped-up beat cops, and incompetent ones at that. I don't have any inside knowledge of the FBI, but the law of averages alone would suggest that it can't be 100% incompetent. No, this smells like a dramatization of the well-known animosity between the two agencies, told by a biased party, and it interferes with the story. Relatively speaking, though, my criticisms are nits. Matthews is a powerful storyteller and this is first-rate espionage fiction.

    I don't want to forget to mention one of the most unusual aspects of the book. Every chapter ends with a recipe. Sure, we've all seen that plenty of times in cozy mysteries, but this is a first for me in serious espionage fiction. I've even made copies of some of the recipes and already prepared one of the dishes (a delicious soubise).

    I hope Jason Matthews continues Dominika's story in future books––and keeps his readers stocked with new recipes.

    ABOUT THE NARRATOR: Jeremy Bobb was an adequate reader, but no more. His pronunciation of Russian names and words wasn't good. His reading sounded like reading, too; he didn't bring the words to life.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Frankston South, Australia 09-22-17
    Ian Frankston South, Australia 09-22-17 Member Since 2017

    Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.

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    "Thoroughly Flawed"

    Decent spy caper thoroughly undermined by being way too long and featuring possibly the dumbest, most contrived and shabbily written spy handler I've come across. And every staggeringly illogical and inexplicably unprofessional action her takes can be explained by love.

    The narrator was flawless though and deserved better than this drivel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 09-20-17
    Chris 09-20-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Makes you laugh, makes you cry. Finishes by tearing your guts out."

    Amazing book. Joins my best read ever list. Carefully connects you to the characters, beautifully crafted with more twists than a pretzel and the ending leaves you gasping. Brilliant Brilliant piece of work. Jeremy Bobb's read is pitch perfect, wonderful performance. Outstanding all round!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 09-09-17
    Robert 09-09-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Great Story, Poor Production Values"

    Loved the book. Great story and characters. As a Russian speaker, the narration was disappointing. Mr Bobb was great until he got to a Russian word; then often he got them wrong. What was frustrating is that most of those words came up again and again. Wrong every time. I blame the production team. With just a little extra work these irritants could have been removed. It's a shame that attention to detail is is not a priority. Great book though. I'll get the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kenneth 08-28-17
    Kenneth 08-28-17 Member Since 2005
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    "Great Spy Novel"

    Compelling, riveting story filled with intrigue, suspense, romance and tradecraft that harks back to the best Cold War spy novels.

    Ummm... this is in my library but Audible now says this title is not available in my country??? What's up with that?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Ali 08-26-17
    Sheila Ali 08-26-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating spy thriller"

    I absolutely loved the book. It reminded me of "The Academy" which I enjoyed a lot. I wasn't bored at all throughout the story, the narration was just as good. I was a little surprised by the torture in sparrow camp which seemed unbelievable but I don't know how things go in Russia.

    In the end, it looked like there was a second book coming. I was hoping that there would be but disappointed not to find one.

    I would highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustaGuy 08-12-17
    JustaGuy 08-12-17
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    "Airport-style thriller"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I won't go into details. Reasonably accurate description of some trade-craft. Lurid details of beautiful, ultra- talented women and unlikely scenarios. Oddball psycho-babble. Pot boiler with espionage core. Great for reading for 4 hours in the jet and tossing into the wastebasket on the way out of the terminal.


    What was most disappointing about Jason Matthews’s story?

    Predictable and the same as hundreds of other books.


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

    No.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes. I disliked it early enough to move on.


    Any additional comments?

    Why do I never learn....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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