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The Kremlin's Candidate

The Red Sparrow Trilogy, Book 3
Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
Series: The Red Sparrow Trilogy, Book 3
Length: 17 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,235 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Russian counterintelligence chief Colonel Dominika Egorova has been a recruited asset of the CIA, stealing Kremlin secrets for her CIA handler, Nate Nash, for over seven years. In the dazzling finale to the Red Sparrow Trilogy - which will be published right before the release of Red Sparrow, a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton - their forbidden and tumultuous love affair continues, mortally dangerous for them both but irresistible.

In Washington, a newly installed US administration is selecting its cabinet members. Dominika hears a whisper of a closely held Kremlin operation to place a mole inside a high intelligence position. But it's worse than that: One of the three candidates under consideration has been a paid Russian spy for a decade, selling precious US secrets. If the Kremlin's candidate for the position is confirmed, the Russians will have access to all the names of assets spying for CIA in Moscow, including Dominika's. But which of the three individuals is the mole?

Dominika's report triggers a desperate mole hunt before she's exposed and arrested. Resisting all suggestions to defect and save herself, Dominika recklessly immerses herself in the palace intrigues of the Kremlin, searching for the mole's name, and stealing as many of President Putin's secrets for her CIA handlers before her time runs out - even as Putin's dangerous interest in her grows. The treasure trove of her intelligence reporting sends Nate Nash and colleagues on desperate missions to Sevastopol, Istanbul, Khartoum, and Hong Kong.

With a plot ripped from tomorrow's headlines, The Kremlin's Candidate is a riveting story if you've never listened to Jason Matthews and a thrilling conclusion to the trilogy begun with Red Sparrow and Palace of Treason, which The New York Times Book Review called "a primer in 21st-century spying...terrifically good".

©2017 Jason Matthews (P)2017 S&S Audio

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

Best of the 3 but hated the end

I read (listened to) all 3 in a row. The first I loved, the second... I liked but was worried it was slipping towards a drug store romance novel. The 3rd, was awesome, lots of intrigue and plot twists, but... the end was dissapointing. Still very much worth the listen and excellent narration!!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Encore
  • Klamath Falls, Oregon, US
  • 05-17-18

Loved the first 2. Wish I didn’t read this.

Some things you cannot unhear....

It was much harder to get into this book than the first 2. I had to listen to some parts... many parts... more than once, when my attention drifted again and again.... but a little over halfway through I was once again riveted. Until the ending.

Spoilers ahead, so if you’re determined to listen to this, don’t read on. But if you don’t want a bad taste in your mouth after hours of time devoted to listening, plunge ahead. I wish I had read some spoilers and spared myself...

Basically.....
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Why would I want to read a book of FICTION in which every person I care about dies? Why invest that many hours... a trilogy, for goodness sake... getting to know people who are going to die in the last pages? I wish I had stopped at book 2 and made up my own ending.

I get that the author was really a spy, and I’m sure he lost people he was close to, but if I wanted a work of non-fiction that’s what I would have purchased.

I just sat when I finished, aghast. How I wish I had not wasted my time and interest in this book. I will trade it in for something that I hope leaves me feeling less ill.

Worse yet, the plot device needed to kill the last character who dies off is so patently false, so manipulated to give this ridiculous ending, it made no sense. I had to listen to the set up 4 or 5 times to let it sink in. Completely unnecessary.

Hated it.

End of rant.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Torn from today’s news

This was an incredible story. Both current and thought provoking. The best of this series I believe. Would make a block buster movie. How soon do we get the next book? :)

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Remarkable Story Telling, Bravo!

This is third book in the Red Sparrow series, yet it easily stands out on its own merits. The suspense and spy craft is so realistic and clever I felt like I was in a movie theater.

The story is complicated with many characters which made listening to the first half of the novel a bit difficult to follow. However, patience pays off as the suspense begins to build. A dark, doomsday storm seems to rage in every chapter. As I said before, the story is so well read, I visualized every scene in my mind as if I was watching a movie.

Jeremy Bobb narrates as well as anyone in the business.

Each chapter ends with a recipe of one of the dishes mentioned in that chapter. In Red Sparrow I found the technique unique and even charming. In House of Treason I ignored it. In this novel I found it tedious and unnecessary.

Nevertheless I found this to be remarkable entertainment.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Clumbsy Final Ending To Potentially Great Trilogy

What disappointed you about The Kremlin's Candidate?

What a grand disappointment. I expected much better. I think the editors are as much at fault as the author. I feel like this was written just to finish the trilogy. What happened?Jason Mathews' Kremlin Candidate is by far the weakest of the three books. Red Sparrow is absolutely superb. Palace of Treason is very good. The first two books created characters that are multifaceted as we would expect in the real world. The characters have complicated motivations and their actions are true within the world created by Mr. Mathews.Sadly, in Kremlin Candidate, Mr. Mathews decided to just end this world. This feels like Mr. Mathews is under contract to write a third book, but is tired and angry so he takes it out on his characters and through them the listener or reader. And the editors did not care enough.Some characters actions are not consistent with their psyche.One character is sent to a global hot spot and dies in a few pages with no foundation. This feels like Mr. Mathews just wanted to get rid of him. Another character is suddenly fired from the CIA in a few pages and goes away. There is not enough foundation for these two characters to exit. These two episodes as well as others just feel untrue. They seem to come out of no where.There is one part where a cut out gets away in the water. I could see this coming because this was already done in a previous book.At the end of this book we discover that Mr. Mathews situations and character actions are created with only one purpose in mind; to end this story.This final effort is totally unsatisfying. I think that this book might not have been published at all without Red Sparrow.Mr. Mathews, what happened anyway?

What was most disappointing about Jason Matthews’s story?

This final effort feel untrue within the world and characters. It feels like the only point of this book was to end the trilogy.

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

Mr. Bobb's performance was great. I do not think he had as much to work with in this final effort.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Kremlin's Candidate?

I would cut the scene where Gable is killed. This just does not feel true.The scene where Susan gets away is trite. This also happened in Palace of Treason. Once per trilogy is enough. The scene at the end where the CIA agent is fired is so quick that it feels like the author just wanted to end this.

Any additional comments?

Kremlin Candidate does not do Mr. Mathews previous two books justice. I wold like to know what happened.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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don't read till finished.

turn away.




the ending was depressing. soured the experience. I loved the whole series till the end. I get why it is the way it is. It just makes me feel like I wasted my time on 3 books for a horrible payoff.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Sad, horrible ending. Felt duped by author.

After reading the first and second book, I was excited to read the third book. I think it was unnecessarily cruel for the other to kill of Nate at the very end. He could’ve figured out something that would’ve made the ending puzzling or good. But instead he chose to make his readers horribly sad at the end. I did not appreciate this at all. He deliberately chose to put a dagger in our hearts. Why?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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After reading 3 books I did not like the ending

Did not appreciate spending time reading these books only to have the author take the easy way out and kill off a main character at the very end. It was. It the ending these books deserved.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great ending to great series.

This is an excellent finale to the Red Sparrow Trilogy. With the exception of somewhat unbelievable plotting and dubious tradecraft towards the end, which were absent from the two earlier entries in the series, the book was excellent. Fans of quality espionage (e.g., LeCarre) won't be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Layers of spy stories that tie together in a bow

If you could sum up The Kremlin's Candidate in three words, what would they be?

Bitter sweet ending

What did you like best about this story?

Jason Matthews swung for the fences when he finished off his spy series started and then continued in his first two wonderful books of this series. While those books focused primarily on a continuous time-line of the main characters, this book moved back and forth and played with the other characters we have grown to know.

Jason clearly used his spy craft expertise when writing this book and empowered our main soviet character, yet gave her the faults which made her as real as anyone that might be sitting in a desk in cold Moscow today. I hope it makes it to a movie house someday.

What about Jeremy Bobb’s performance did you like?

Jeremy Bobb did an excellent job. Had anyone else's voice echoed through my buds, I would have howled in pain.

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

Who knows. As with Red Sparrow, I'm sure changes will have to be made.

Any additional comments?

Jason Matthews is really an amazing author. I am so tired of authors writing about "pulling faces" and such. His writing is old fashion sophisticated yet still approachable.

I'd recommend this series to anyone that likes a mystery.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful