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A Very Expensive Poison Audiobook

A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin's War with the West

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Publisher's Summary

On November 1, 2006, journalist and Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London. He died 22 days later. The cause of death? Polonium - a rare, lethal, and highly radioactive substance. Here Luke Harding unspools a real-life political assassination story complete with KGB, CIA, MI6, and Russian mobsters. He shows how Litvinenko's murder foreshadowed the killings of other Kremlin critics, from Washington, DC, to Moscow, and how these are tied to Russia's current misadventures in Ukraine and Syria. In doing so he becomes a target himself and unearths a chain of corruption and death leading straight to Vladimir Putin. From his investigations of the downing of flight MH17 to the Panama Papers, Harding sheds a terrifying light on Russia's fracturing relationship with the West.

©2017 Luke Harding (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Harding's exposé, shortlisted for the CWA Nonfiction Dagger Award, could not be more chilling or timely.... A devastating and disturbing must-read." (Booklist)

"A chilling look at the Putin regime's murderous suppression of its critics.... In this fast-paced book, Harding, who was expelled from the Kremlin while serving as the Guardian's Moscow bureau chief, covers all the bases while exposing the weakness and accommodationism of the now-departed British leadership. Hard-hitting and timely given Russia's continued sway in international politics as well as its documented influence over an incoming American administration that is also hostile to the press." (Kirkus )

"Extraordinarily pacy...one of the best political thrillers I have come across in years." (The Evening Standard)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (343 )
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4.7 (312 )
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Performance
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  •  
    william 02-12-17
    william 02-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A very informative book."

    I loved this book. I heard of it through an NPR interview of the author. I drive for a living, so audio is best for me; which leads me to the only tiny issue I had. I'm new to audio books so following a reader with a British accent was a slight challenge for me at first. I got use to it after the first 2 chapters... other than that.... it was wonderful and a very informative book and listening experience.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 02-03-17
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 02-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Cover-To-Cover, This'll Have You Mindblown!"

    Who can forget the iconic photo of Litvinenko, gaunt, bald, dying in his hospital bed, the victim of the most chilling kind of assassination straight out of a le Carre spy novel? It's haunting.
    This expose will leave you reeling. You don't even feel the 13+ hours going by as it's such a gripping, horrifying tale of threats made real, of NEVER being able to speak your mind, to speak of anything.
    It's a tale of mobsters, of comical (if they weren't so deadly) assassins, of archaic poisons and your run-of-the-mill bullets to the head. It's an account of radiation leaving near-fatal trails, of dedicated and always thwarted detectives, of courtroom dramas. It's of vindication that means absolutely nothing.
    You think Putin is scary? Read/listen to this book and you'll have nightmares.
    Meticulously researched by a journalist who lived in Russia and had his apartment broken into and bugged many times, this is a throat-grabbing (literally for some victims) story that is well-crafted, and superbly narrated. The evidence laid out is astounding, and when it's iffy, it's specifically stated as "circumstantial".
    And it'll mean nothing, nothing to governments...

    27 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kucherv 05-12-17
    kucherv 05-12-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Great all the way up until......"

    I really enjoyed this book, it is a well researched and presents well document and supported evidence on the death of Sasha. Then the last 4 hours deals with the war in Ukraine then this is where he looses me. It's very one sided and 70% of the claims or evidence is based on his feelings. He doesn't even bring in evidence that damns certain people in Kiev or NATO. I followed the war in Ukraine very closely and I can say that it's very incomplete and biased. I felt irritated at some points when this book completely tried to put a spin on events that clearly have been documented in the west as errors of the protesters. The last 4 hours are just emotionally driven arguments.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cook 01-30-17
    Cook 01-30-17 Member Since 2001
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    "Publisher please send copies to all in the senate and congress."

    All citizens and government officials have a patriotic duty to read Harding's exposure of international criminal acts and political deceptions used to threaten, weaken and destroy democracies.

    12 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Hawker 01-30-17
    K. Hawker 01-30-17
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    "Fascinating and detailed"

    I remember seeing this scandal play out on the news. It seemed crazy then, but feels even crazier now that I know more details. The author gives you a very informative look into Litvinenko, his assassins, and how Putin's government works.

    The narrator was engaging and clear. I'm very glad I listened to this!

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard NEW YORK, NY, US 03-14-17
    Richard NEW YORK, NY, US 03-14-17 Member Since 2014
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    "A Non-Fiction Thriller"

    A Very Expensive Poison is a thrilling and eye-opening account of an historically unprecedented murder that, remarkably, British Justice has officially linked to the current Russian President. The book is an incredibly drawn, multi-angled reconstruction of the infamous crime itself, the poisoning of a political dissident, Alexander Litvinenko, in central London with the most radioactive substance known to man. Meticulously researched, the book recounts the moving personal stories of the victim and his family as well as the stories of the bottom feeding perpetrators, a cast of characters lightyears beyond the power and villainy imagined in The Godfather.

    It is all there: finely drawn portraits of thugs as well as those highly placed on the world stage (and unfortunate combinations of the two). You will never forget the victim whose idealism, love of country, and inborn dignity blinds, or inures, him to the inevitably lethal consequences of dissent.A Very Expensive Poison, through its accounts of the factual actions and brutal methods of political actors whose influence over not only over Russia but also England, Europe and America is only growing, could not be more timely or informative. It is essential reading for everyone seeking deeper insights into the present darkening of world politics.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Curley 10-25-17
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    "Fascinating read - investigation drags a bit"

    Great read. The structure could have been mixed up a bit. Some of the best parts were towards the end and had little to do directly with the poisoning itself. The book starts like a great Dan Brown fiction but then goes back over the story to prove the facts.

    The break up of the story with chapters about Russian oligarch cases in London, lifestyles or the Panama papers give it a historical/biographical feel.

    Hard to mix a murder “mystery” with a traditional biography. 4 Stars could be 5 if the chapters arrangements were reworked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Nadifmg 10-17-17
    Nadifmg 10-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Glad I gave it a chance"

    The narrator was excellent but the story is complex and doesn't always follow chronological order which can make it a little hard to follow, be prepared to pay attention. Very relevant reading considering current events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Cynthia Bazinet New Hampshire 09-12-17
    Cynthia Bazinet New Hampshire 09-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Riveting and informative"

    Harding's account of the death if Alexander Litvenenko and the machinations of the Putin mafia-government is fascinating and disturbing. Worse is the willingness of governments to look the other way. If you can keep the names straight, you won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Independence, Ohio United States 08-20-17
    Amazon Customer Independence, Ohio United States 08-20-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting case; very drawn out"

    The story was set up well and very intriguing, but it took a very long time to reach any kind of resolution.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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