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Publisher's Summary

An Israeli government minister is assassinated in the home of his mistress. Days later, a Mossad officer leads his final raid, killing a Hamas leader in his bed and barely escaping with his life.

The action moves into the near future, when world leaders, united under the leadership of a visionary female president of the United States, broker a major compromise between Israel and the Palestinian authority. Their hope is to snuff out the violent flashpoint that fuels global terrorism. It seems to work until a well-known fundamentalist rabbi is taken hostage by a legendary Palestinian terrorist.

Ferociously suspenseful, Vicious Circle brilliantly dissects an entire culture of violence and the corrupted consciences that embody it.

©2006 Robert Littell; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Littell's is one of the most talented, most original voices in American fiction today, period." (The Washington Post)
"Littell's latest brainy thriller probes very near the heart of the time-worn conflict over a land made and kept holy through regular libations of martyrs' blood....Must reading for fans of high-end thrillers." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Derek
  • Norman, OK, United States
  • 04-08-08


I too was puzzled by the previous reviews which characterized this work as anti-Jewish. I can see how such conclusions could be reached, but only by those who might be seeking such conclusions. For example, the speech given by the adviser to the President at the Harvard Jewish group I thought could have been tempered. But still, it seemed to me to be more of an indictment against uninformed intellectuals than the Jewish people.

Also, it was a bit strange that the premise of the book pitted a Jewish extremist group against a Palestinian (Islamic)extremist group. While there are some Jewish, terroristic, extremist groups they are minute in comparison to the extremism on the Palestinian side.

For these reasons, I can see how could some could see it as anti-Jewish. But overall, I did not come to that conclusion. What I enjoy about Littell is the extended philosophical dialogue between characters. And Scott Brick does an excellent job in narrating this. If you listen to these dialogues, it should be clear that the tone of the book is not anti-Jewish.

But, perhaps, the flaw is that it seems to place the blame equally on both sides. The fact is that when the Israelis cease their operations in Palestinian controlled territories, the attacks from Palestinians continue. This undermines the very title of the book, "Vicious Circle" which intimates that it is a tit for tat which perpetuates the violence. This could also be a reason some see it as anti-Jewish.

But, I think, there is enough "tit for tat" in the conflict to support the premise of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue and action throughout. It was a very good listen.

I loved, "The Company," and was not dissatisfied after listening to "Vicious Circle." "The Company" still remains my favorite, but I do recommend this work to all who enjoy intrigue with thoughtful dialogue.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Super !!

WHOA! Getting some mixed reviews here. Like those listeners above, I listen to every Littell book as soon as it's out. I thought a book about Arabs would be boring but not if he writes it!

No, it's not really a spy thriller but neither is The Company. I loved the way the spy story holds your attention while giving the BEST explanation of the Middle East problem I've ever heard.

I think this book should be "required reading" for every politician or government official involved with the Middle East! FIVE STARS FROM ME.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Critical Topic

This was not my favorite by this author/reader combination. Vicious Circle is not as entertaining as the previous books, but the subject is one that needs addressing. Religious extremism of any bent is very disturbing to me and the growing clout that these intemperate people have everywhere in the world does not bode well for any hope of political stability – and not just in Palestine or the Middle East. To get inside the heads of two such religious bigots as does the author makes this worth the listen.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kylie
  • Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
  • 11-29-07

A very good book

I have read all the other audible selections from this great author, so it was logical to give this one a try. Only problem was that it had several negative reviews about being anti-Jewish. I am an American of the Jewish faith so I was expecting the worst. Instead this was another great novel showing both sides of the picture. It moved fast and was entertaining throughout.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Viciously bad

This book does nothing but go into a vicious circle and so the title is very appropriate. I did not even finish the last few chapters because I was so disapointed. The Book hightlights 2 main characters one Muslum one Jewish, and blah blah blah, the same Palestinian, Israeli this is my land fight that will never end. One thing they agree on is they are both in love with the land and that their religions are cut from the same cloth. If you didnt have any clue of this in the past maybe this book would be dimly enlightening, for the most part its not. Most of Littells work has been great, this however is not worth buying. do yourself a favor and pass. I wonder how it ended... My ending was shutting it off, putting down the convertible top and crusing off to something more stimulating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Wynnewood, PA, United States
  • 10-10-09

Very Disappointed

I've absolutely loved Littell's other books and Scott Brick used to be a favorite reader, but I just had to give up on this one in less than 5 hours. To stretch out a suspense with long unrealistic dialogues between those on each side - do you expect me to believe that they actually face each other and repeat their arguments that were trite long ago and are well known by everyone on all sides of the conflict? And done in Brick's incessantly strident voice! I've easily accepted that he has only one foreign accent that works best with east European, but he could have gotten an Israeli speaker to help his pronunciations sound authentic, some of his Arabic was a little bit better. Obviously I can't give a full review because i just couldn't finish it. Hoping for better in the future.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Just can't get into it. (stopping at 5 hours)

I've listened to 5 out of the 12 hours, and I think I'm about to give up on this one. So far, I have not been interested almost at all.

The only reason I listened this long was that I really liked the author's other book, "The Company." And "Vicious Circle" got very good reviews by readers on Amazon.

Maybe this one gets better, but so far it's more of a Middle Eastern debate than a story. It's certainly not a “fun” spy novel, with a fast-moving plot.

That said, it's not badly written. It's certainly intelligent. But I'm just not engaged.

By the way, a lesser part of the book is written as so-called excerpts from a first-person taped interview of a U.S. official. I found it odd, because we only hear one side of this interview. The speaker pauses, and says things like, “That’s a good question…” But we never hear the questioner. So I kept wondering, how can this be a taped interview and we only hear one side of it? I just wasn’t sure what the author’s conceit was. I found these passages so awkward that I often cringed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Only my second litters book- very good

I really liked this book- great story - totally unexpected ending- got to have more - YES

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

one of the best

one of the best books I've read in a long time. If you want to learn more about the conflict in the middle east, and are curious as to why it cannot stop, then this book will educate you while educating you.

  • Overall
  • Lyndel
  • Lilydale, Australia
  • 01-07-15


I enjoy Robert Little. The books are high on knowledge. This one I predicted the end, it could only be one end I thought. With the protagonists, having each a name of Abraham's sons.