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Publisher's Summary

Crisis constantly lurks around the corner, monitored by spies who are always with us. In his career-capping thirteenth novel, master of the espionage thriller Robert Littell has crafted a breathtaking story of the legendary CIA - "The Company" to insiders.

At its heart lies a spectacular mole hunt involving the CIA, MI6, KGB and Mossad - a stunningly conceived trip down the rabbit hole to the labyrinthine Alice-in-Wonderland world of espionage, "a wood where things have no names."

Racing across a landscape spanning the legendary Berlin Base of the 1950s - the front line of the simmering Cold War - the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Bay of Pigs, Afghanistan, and the Gorbachev putsch, The Company tells the thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an enemy that is amoral, elusive, and formidable. It also lays bare the internecine warfare within the company itself, adding another dimension to the spy vs. spy game.

©2013 Robert Littell (P)2013 Phoenix Audio

Critic Reviews

"If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel, he should have." (Tom Clancy, author of Patriot Games) "If le Carre is the Joyce of spy novelists, Littell is the Dickens." (Booklist, starred review). "An epic tale...peopled by heroes and villains who seem almost mythological in retrospect...Keeps you riveted." (Nelson DeMille, author of Up Country)
"Destined to become the definitive novel about the CIA." (Amazon.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Outstanding

An exciting story that sustains throughout and delivers a one-two punch from start to finish. A well written spy novel, modern-day mystery, and character study wrapped up in great style and delivered through the brilliant narration of Scott Brick. If you want to relive the cold war through real people, true events, and a step-by step walk through a dark corridor of history -- don't miss this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Over too soon!!

I was initially reluctant to start a 40 hours book, but I was astonished at how quickly the time passed. It was over far too soon. I realize this book is a fictionalized version of history, but the foundations in fact make this a very compelling commentary on practices and policies of this country during the Cold War, and beyond. I only wish this book had been twice as long!!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pay Attention--It's worth it!

Excellent character development and plot, but can at times leave you in the dust if you're not paying attention to the names and AKAs. You WILL use rewind, but it's well worth it. The story is compelling and timely. The references make you feel like you're getting the behind the scenes 'real' story of the CIA and it's role in historical events. It will drive you to listen long after you should stop and get on with life. The narrator is fantastic and brings life to all the characters. A must read!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Mind Boggling

You wouldn't know this is fiction - if you know American Intel History you would think this is a non-fiction accounting the CIA past.
Long, but keeps you interested.

63 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Superb! Gripping! Highest Praise!

Now I don't often wax on about how great these audio books are. As you've probably figured out, there's occasional diamonds, and a whole lot of stones. This one is rare indeed! Essentially a fictionalized narrative history of the CIA from post-WW II through the end of the Cold War, it's a wonderful story! Scott Brick does an outstanding job with the voices, nuances, and accents. He's a great narrator! Littell's epic tale follows a number of actual historic characters through the years ... there are a number of international espionage accounts, with one overall mystery running through to the final end: who is the longstanding mole in CIA working with the Russians since the beginning(?). I found myself regularly jumping off to look up characters and events on Wikipedia to see how real history paralleled the narrative. It's really fantastic how Littell weaves it all together. Wonderfully intriguing and historic characters such as "The Sorcerer", James Jesus Alexander, Kim Philby, "The Rabbi", and on and on. The ending does not disappoint and is inspired. Hell, it might even be real! Try it, you'll like it!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great book

This is my first Rober Littell book and I really enjoyed it. It keeps you guessing right up until the very end. I thought I might be getting sick of it by the end of 40 hours, but not so.

Scott Brick is an excellent narrator. Although, he could be more consistent in volume. There are times when listening through the cassette adapter in my car that I couldn't hear him well at all. I know that changes in volume can add some drama, but if you can't hear what he's saying, drama gives way to frustration.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 04-17-12

Competent but essentially run of the mill

Perhaps the chief attraction of this book is its decades-long narrative which touches every one of the U.S./Soviet flashpoints between the early fifties and the fall of the Kremlin old guard. We are given a nice view of the through line in this central confrontation of the second half of the 20th C.

Unfortunately this is also the story's chief weakness. We are asked to believe that this tiny handful of central characters was, Zelig-like, present and vital at every climactic moment over a thirty year span and then went on to run the CIA as, essentially, their own little shop. By the end there is something rather absurd about how thinly they have been spread.

Nonetheless, there are times when Littell spins a ripping good story, notably in the cases of the Hungarian uprising, the Bay of Pigs and the rise of Boris Yeltzin. He gives us gripping closeups of each, complete with some memorable minor characters and the requisite hairsbreadth escapes. The outcomes are uniformly predictable, but the we still enjoy the trip each time, and with so much compelling history to cover, the author is able to keep the story unwinding at a pace which seldom lags. If only the leading players came to life along with the episodes. Only one really does, and he labors throughout his entire life for the Communist cause.



12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

History Buffs - Don't Miss This One

Wow - what a great historical novel about the CIA during the Cold War - from the end of WWII to the fall of the Soviet Union. The author creates an intriguing, suspenseful tale woven around the careers of several great CIA men and women. The mole hunt for Kim Philby, the Bay of Pigs, the communist invasion of Hungary, the coup attempt against Gorbachev, and more, are just some of the events that are told with suspense and detail that makes them memorable and relevant.

Scott Brick is SUPERB in this reading. I had nearly given up on Scott Brick narrated novels due to his tendency to sound whiny and effete, but clearly he's been rehearsing. His ability to switch between Boston, New York, Russian, German, and even a Ronald Reagan accent is excellent. With the many characters in this book, that ability is critical to the understanding of the dialog. Hats off to Brick on this outstanding performance.

So plan some time (40+ hours) to get into a great spy novel based on historical events. You won't be sorry.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • Mount Nelson, TAS, Australia
  • 12-29-05

Fantastic - will take over your life !

This book is huge.....long.....and captivating all the way......
It had me wanting to continue listening for more at every minute of it's (40?) hours. It is the most enjoyable listen I have had to date and gave a seemingly realistic insight into the workings of the CIA and other spy agencies.
The character development is excellent, from the Uni study days, through recruitment , training , first posts and on to senior positions and eventually end of careers.
It nicely ties in realistic events in great detail, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and leaves you wondering if this is a non fiction or a novel.
Be warned...it will take over your life ! Your family will be sicj of seeing you listening and wearing your earphones - you won't be able to stop listening.
Excellent narration. Highly recomended

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Re-living my history

This was one of the first audible books I purchased - I think I was going for quantity. I listed to the first CD twice at different points in time but abandoned the effort each time. However, I have great faith in Audible reviewers and this book was one of the highest rated, widely read books on the site. I tried again and finally broke into the second CD. From there on, I was transported back to times and events I could remember but this book both refreshed that history and gave it a new perspective. How could one so quickly forget living the Cold War?

Unlike a few other reviewers, I applaud the reading by Brick as I could swear he recorded the Kennedy and Reagan White House conversations they seemed so real. Maybe you have to be of a certain age to truly appreciate this reading.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Vikas Krishan
  • 02-06-17

An American Le Carre

Meticulous, detailed and well written. This long book was bought to life by the excellent narrator!

  • Overall
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  • Martin
  • 12-08-16

The Company

Excellent. Held my attention for all 40-odd hours. Names and events from the Cold War cleverly drawn together. Would recommend this to everyone.

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  • Margo
  • 05-11-16

Worth the time commitment.

What made the experience of listening to The Company the most enjoyable?

Really interested in the background of some of the most important world events of this period but in a way that the fictionalised story made it more personal.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His portrayal of the characters enables you to visualise them and separate them out, which is very important when there are so many of them.

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

The final denouement which underlined for me that nothing is ever as black and white as you would like it to be.

Any additional comments?

It's a heavy commitment in terms of time, so best to listen to when you have at least 60 mins at a time, otherwise it's difficult to keep up with strands.

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  • jacqueline bain
  • 04-26-16

Gripping page turner

Took a while for the story to get going and to get used to the characters.
When I got into it I didn't want to put the book down.
Realistic, empathetic and myriad twists and turns.
Would heartily recommend it.

  • Overall
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  • TonyS
  • 03-26-16

Now I Sort-of Understand

I need to understand how Russia became. I knew about Stalin and his dreadful regime, but clearly the country was badly affected by WW2 and what Hitler did. It is not over yet, judging by Putin's behaviour, but I can see and understand the history of the 40 plus years covered by this excellent book

  • Overall
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  • K. Blair
  • 11-26-15

Excellent book

One of the best books I've listened to in quite a while. Factual backbone with fictional characters in the leading roles and enough believable embellishments to add spice to the story. Very good.

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  • Paul
  • 07-25-15

Superb Listen

What made the experience of listening to The Company the most enjoyable?

Well constructed story with interlocking characters working within sub plots

What did you like best about this story?

The background behind the history of events many of us lived through

Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favourite?

Angleton, for his tenacity.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, the overall length precluded this.

Any additional comments?

An ideal listen for regular long trips in the car. made the M25 bearable