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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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    346
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    1,924
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall
  • Cynthia
  • Bremerton, WA, USA
  • 01-17-03

Hang on to your Hat

Littel has spun a tale so true-to-life that I found myself thinking it might be thinly veiled non-fiction. More than once I found myself sitting in my car, listening until the very last moment I could walk in to work. The characters are fully three dimensional, the plot develops naturally, and the history lessons contained within the story are so well woven I couldn't tell where the fiction ended and the history began.

Don't miss this revealing look at the rise and near-fall of one of this country's governmental institutions.

161 of 161 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Full of twist and turns and surprises.

This is one of the most complicated and deeply written plot, based on real people and historical events. While a novel, you soon forget that fact as the characters develop and the story unfolds. You have to pay attention, because the plot turns on itself, and you can loose the storyline. I don't know how many times I had to replay a section, because I missed a switch in the plot.

Character development is great and you soon know and care about the characters. It is sometimes hard to tell who the good guys are and who are the evil ones. No matter, you will find yourself engrossed by the story. If you lived through some of these actual events, the book makes you wonder if it has let you in on what really happened and why things happened the way they did.

I will definitely be reading more of Mr Litell's books.

56 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

My Review of the Reviews

I don't really like spy novels, but I love long books. So I read most of the reviews and decided to give the book a try. So here are my responses to the reviews:
1 Some said it had too much cursing. I don't get easily offended by too much cursing. I kept an ear out for it, but felt there was very little cursing. Unless you are overly sensitive to cursing, don't worry about this one. And now, I'm going to find another book by this author...
2 Some said too long. I do like long books and felt that every hour was great. There was 1 slight lull in the 80's after a major plot climax, but overall, it was captivating.
3 Some got mixed up with names because of it being a spy novel. This was my biggest concern. I have the same problem. But I was able to be reasonably sure of what was going on at all times.
4 ...It was a condemnation against democracy. This is the most ridiculous claim. I didn't see any "preaching" for or against. It is a spy novel. The author showed that the Russian actually believe in their cause. Characters on both sides of the "game" were well developed and real.
Spy novels aren't my genre, but I would recommend this book highly.

214 of 217 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

You're in Good Company with

I've never written a book review before because I would hate someone to buy something on my account and then not enjoy it. However, I can confidently state that "The Company" is a top notch listen in every respect. History has never been so entertaining or personal. I hesitate to imagine the hours of research that went into its writing, for, although it is a work of fiction, the factual events are covered in amazing detail that shows uncanny clarity and insight on behalf of the author. It is easy to get lost in the names, places, titles and relationships, but it is worth the effort. The narrator was perfect. His readings were well prepared (it is probably difficult to switch from German to Russian accents back to English), and he put real emotion in the reading when required (without overdoing it). I can't really overstate how much I enjoyed this audiobook, and I am sure that you well also.

45 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robin
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
  • 01-16-03

Amazing

The Company will become a part of your life. Over the course of a month I came to know the men and women depicted in The Company, and to care about them. This book is about more than just the cold war, it is about the shaping of modern America and the people who (could have?) made it happen. I didn't want it to end.

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Keeping me

This is the first review I have written and I just had to do it. I am about half way through the book and it's great! I really believe it is more true that fiction! I had reservations about downloading such a huge book, but I am enthralled. I was afraid that it would be too confusing listening to this type of book, due to both the subject and the length, but it is so interesting I can't wait to get time to listen to it. It is written in such a way that it is easy to follow and the narration is exceptional. What a great book!

32 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peanut
  • San Diego, CA
  • 08-22-03

The Holy Grail of Audible.com

At 40 hours, this juggernaut of an epic pulls you deep into the story of the second half of the twentieth century from the perspective of the true soldiers of the Cold War. At 23, even relatively recent events like the fall of the Berlin Wall are shadowy memories at best for me. Littel brought the meaning and feelings of over forty years of tension straight to the surface with action, secret agents, double agents, love affairs, suspense, history, spectacular characters, and humor to slide you through smoothly. This audio book is a rite of passage to being a true Audible listener.

52 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeff
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • 02-27-03

Fascinating read

Littell strikes a great balance between detail and drama. The story sweeps over decades and continents, but still keeps you connected to the three men whose lives are traced the most closely. When a major plot twist involved one of them, my heart actually started pounding and I became concerned for him.

I highly recommend this entertaining book, especially if you take advantage of a subscription to pick it up for a song!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dianne
  • Mildura, Australia
  • 06-16-09

A Great Listen

What a fantastic listen, at no time did I think that 40 hours was too long: I found this novel interesting from start to finish and a great way to get a birds eye view of modern history. Littell's style has enough detail and originality of expression to engage the 'reader' without slowing it down too much for the listener who likes action. Definitely qualifies for a repeat listen before too long. The narrator was easy to listen to and characterised the voices very well without causing one to cringe.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lavish, Totally Absorbing

When I bought this book, I shelved it for a while because I couldn't commit myself to the sheer length of it. Everyday I didn't start listening to <U>The Company</U>, I was robbing myself of one of the greatest audio book experiences I will probably ever have. The depth of character development and the complexity of the interweaveing stories is handled masterfully by Littell. Scott Brick's narration is fantastic.

Do not be intimidated by the length of this book! Once you get in, it will stay with you during your days and nights when not listening to it.

58 of 63 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 12-14-15

The Company - Fantastic Read!

Don't be daunted by the length of this book as it breaks nicely into sections/time capsules. I'm usually a fan of crime thrillers but I'll try anything that grabs my attention and then manages to hold it. Littell's style and Scott Brick's performance proved to be a perfect match.

I was first attracted to Robert Littell after watching the TV series Legends on Netflix. My husband and I gulped it down in three evenings. I decided to see what was available by this author on Audible. Seeing the length of the book I was put off but thought what the heck if it doesn't measure up I can return it. I found myself riveted. At several points I went online to see how close the book followed recorded history, especially the Bay of Pigs and the Gorbachev/Yeltsin era. Except for the names of the fictional characters, the book closely followed actual events.

Give this book a try even if it's not you're usual genre. The Company has taken me off into a whole new genre. Can't wait to read more from this author!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bruce G.
  • 12-01-15

45 hours of engaging espionage..

If you could sum up The Company in three words, what would they be?

Engaging<br/>entertaining<br/>enthralling<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

The 'Sasha' thread throughout the book

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The bay of pigs schene

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

The 'girlies' scenes throughout the book made me cry.

Any additional comments?

The Company is nothing less than an epic history of the Cold War, the period in which the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics tried to undermine each other without resorting to nuclear weapons. <br/><br/>One reason why Littell’s novel is so effective is the skill with which he blends such historical events as the Cuban Missile Crisis with the lives of his fictional characters. Those invented personalities range from the alcoholic head of America’s Berlin Base, Harvey Torriti, to the pedophile who runs Soviet counterintelligence, the man known only as “Starick.”<br/><br/>What ultimately makes this massive work so enjoyable is the decades-long search by the CIA for the Soviet mole, Sasha

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian C Dando
  • 03-15-15

Gripping.

Had me hooked straight away. An often uncomfortable journey through generations, reflecting true friendship, loyalty, paranoia and ultimately betrayal. One of my favourite books of all time. That's not an easy list to get on! Very well narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Che
  • 02-08-15

No other story like this

In this genre no other book compares to it, for its audacity and Complexity and sheer scope. Espionage at its best.. Scott Brick has given a performance nearly equal to the author himself

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Kevin
  • 01-05-15

Exceptional

Fantastic book and fantastic delivery from SB. 40 hours was not enough. I still wanted more when it was done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 12-16-14

A great ride

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

Very good story, far better than our own Le Carre

What other book might you compare The Company to, and why?

Any Le Carre or similar

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

Great consistency over such a long narration

Any additional comments?

Good book, well worth the time to listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl
  • 08-27-14

Long but Very interesting And you really need to pay attention

What would have made The Company better?

A little bit more action , Linking a few more stores together, considering it was 40 hours the ending was fairly quick, <br/>But still doesn't change my opinion of it be an amazing book enjoyed

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Company?

More than one all the twists and turns In every little story in a story On the attention to detail

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

The amazing way he Gave the characters their own accents throughout, And made all the people actually sound different ,

Any additional comments?

A very interesting book at the same time in history lesson

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 10-12-17

Captivating story with superb narrator

I don't think I've ever listened to such a long story but I didn't want it to end. It's a tour de force tale of the CIA and the Cold War from 1946 to 1995, with fascinating characters and convincing plot lines.

The narrator, Scott Brick, is in a class of his own - simply amazing. He tackles various languages, accents, male/female voices, with astonishing fluency. Truly the best narrator I've ever heard on Audible books . I'm very picky about narrators and have returned several books for refunds because of poor performances. Why do they happen - isn't there an editorial panel to weed out the hopeless voice actors?

Definitely my top pick of 2017. You won't regret buying this gem.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-17

The American Le Carre

Any additional comments?

As a child of the cold war, a great fan of John Le Carre and a voyager around Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this was a great discovery. The author knew Robert Kennedy well and I guess has a lot of insight into the psyche of US thinking on foreign affairs. I certainly learnt some things I was not aware of, such as Andropov's connection with the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the change of location of the 1961 Cuban invasion and the rumours around how Putin got his feet on the first rungs of power. <br/>With the technological changes to counter intelligence, this is almost an historical novel. It is going to take an exceptional writer to create a gripping spy story involving people sitting in front of computer screens bombarding each other with viruses. Highly recommended.

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  • mr
  • 06-27-17

Super History, grippingly told

If you could sum up The Company in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, authentic, above all Epic

What did you like best about this story?

A kind of "War and Peace" for Cold War spying

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

40 plus hours with no irritating tics. Genius!

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

Gripping

Any additional comments?

Amazing value!

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  • Cass McLeod
  • 07-28-17

Fascinating storyline with an authenic edge.

Detailed and at times intense ( and not too sentimental) description of US involvement in recent world events as seen through the eyes of a group of friends employed by the CIA . Given it is 42 hours plus and there a few characters and plot lines, I recommend it as a great holiday read . Good for modern history buffs who like a blend of non-fiction and fiction .