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Russian Roulette

How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution
Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: History, World
4 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II - a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin’s communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes - starting with the British Empire. Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin’s red tide from washing across the free world. They were an eccentric cast of characters, led by Mansfield Cumming, a one-legged, monocle-wearing former sea captain, and included novelist W. Somerset Maugham, beloved children’s author Arthur Ransome, and the dashing, ice-cool Sidney Reilly, the legendary Ace of Spies and a model for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Cumming’s network would pioneer the field of covert action and would one day become MI6. Living in disguise, constantly switching identities, they infiltrated Soviet commissariats, the Red Army, and Cheka (the feared secret police), and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin. In a sequence of bold exploits that stretched from Moscow to the central Asian city of Tashkent, this unlikely band of agents succeeded in foiling Lenin’s plot for global revolution.

©2013 Giles Milton (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Would Make A Good Movie

A really interesting story regarding the evolution of spy craft and international intrigue. Good thing the Brits were able and willing to engage the Soviets. Otherwise the world might be considerable different today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Nerves Of Steel British Spies Vs Russia: WW1 Era

What made the experience of listening to Russian Roulette the most enjoyable?

This detailed biographical history of the beginning of MI 6 during and after WW-1 and the subsequent infiltration of the Bolsheviks, Lenin's Cominterm - with world revolution especially in India and the current middle east which sheds light on current events and spies with nerves of steel, a flair for unimaginable danger, and quick intellect. Wow!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cummins, AKA "C"........he invented the whole affair....

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

No, but his performance was brilliant and he sounds like a spy!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Tea And Vodka On The Eastern Front

Any additional comments?

If you have read "Farewell" this book is made for you, brother!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine
  • Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • 08-07-14

Much better than expected

I wrote a review already and it disappeared, so forgive me not working too hard at it. This was a very good depiction of the early days of the Russian Revolution from an unsympathetic side.....the opposite of "Reds", one could say. It was a terrific story with startlingly dangerous feats being attempted in the very early days of British spying. We forget that the fear of a worldwide communist revolution was justified at the time, which also contributed to the rise of fascism. The characters and stories are vivid and fascinating and with some in central Asia, resonate with us today. How amazing that the Soviets wanted to make use of the highly religious Muslims for their own purposes!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent histoary that doesn't hide the ball

Unlike many of the texts available on audible that deal with soviet history, this one was refreshing for being clear from the outset that it isn't writing an unbiased history, but is clear in its point of view from page one that it is a story about fighting the global socialist revolution, which the author considers an unqualified heroic action. When you don't hide your bias, it becomes easier to take your history as it is, instead of being annoyed by the clear point of view when unacknowledged by so many other authors. A strange thing occurs, also, when you do this, the author is able to acknowledge alternative points of view, simply from the fact that they are openly displaying their own, and the history is actually more complete. When you state outright that the British Empire and its brutal murder across the globe is cool with you, you don't have to make fuzzy dodges that try and imply some intrinsic quality that justifies the trail of blood that is the history of empire. You simply state outright that you don't care, and you're on this side. You're a disgusting imperialist asshole with a broken system of morality, but it's refreshing nonetheless.

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  • Brooke
  • Memphis, TN USA
  • 10-14-17

Riveting story and very well written

This is a riveting spy story that is hard to stop listening to! The reader's voice is perfect for the material, and the writer unfolds the details of the story in an engaging manner. Highly recommended for another perspective on the Russian Revolution and the "insiders' view" of events as they unfolded!

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  • ar
  • 05-12-14

What a tragedy

Would you try another book from Giles Milton and/or Napoleon Ryan?

Giles Milton, yes... The narrator no. Literally an awesome read, horrible listen.

What did you like best about this story?

The writing. Anytime a history is written as a suspenseful novel, it's a win

Would you be willing to try another one of Napoleon Ryan’s performances?

Absolutely not. Nothing against this guy, but for him to narratate nonfiction is ridiculous. He sounds like he's doing a murder mystery at a mansion. I had to try really hard to take the book seriously, which thank heavens it was well writte so I could.

Did Russian Roulette inspire you to do anything?

Um..... Like be a spy or something? No. But I got another book when it was over.

Any additional comments?

If I were the author I would wonder if there is a petition to have audible re record the book with someone else that doesn't sound like Sherlock Holmes

1 of 6 people found this review helpful