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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

“The best true spy story I have ever read.” (John Le Carre)

The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War. 

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.   

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings listeners deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.

©2018 Ben Macintyre (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“The best true spy story I have ever read.” (John Le Carré)

What members say

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Absolutely riveting story

This is a fairly slow starter because it’s not a novel. Once it gets going it’s impossible to put down, brilliant research and marvelous narrative by John Lee.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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John Lee is GREAT!

I write very few reviews, but reading the negative review about John Lee prompted me to answer.
I've listened to many of his books, and consider him a favorite. Anyway if you enjoy espionage books, this is one of the best.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Lost almost a nights sleep to this... and well worth it.

I don’t venture into the spy genre often. I started this on a whim, enjoyed it for the first few nights I listened to it and then on the third night found myself at 4am still going, unable to sleep, it’s that tense! It also usefully filled in some holes in my British history. Thank you, a great listen!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • AS
  • 09-20-18

Ben Macintyre true to form

Perhaps his best, maybe second to Agent Zigzag or A Spy Among Friends, British spy historian Ben Macintyre relates a deeply-researched and fully alive griping tale of real life intrigue, espionage, and escape, while also commenting on the utility of espionage and the moral equivalencies of both sides. Although I loved Macintyre's own reading of Rogue Heroes, glad John Lee is back to lend his voice to this wonderfully engaging story. Lee's excitement and enthusiasm, and his ability to convey Macintyre sly humor, are perfect for this story. I bought both the audiobook and kindle version, unsure of where/when I'd read it, but I found Lee's voice so captivating, that I've let him read the whole thing to me. Highly recommended, better than any spy fiction out there (save maybe Le Carre, Greene, Ambler, whose suspense, thrilling pacing, and literary prose Macintyre rivals or even bests).

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Supurb

The best listen for many years. I great story told very well. I enjoyed the writing and John Lee very, very much.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Better than best Mossad thrillers

One of the best spy thriller stories I have come across. Very well researched and superb performance by John Lee. Very highly recommended. It starts slow but picks up towards middle and difficult to put down. I thought nothing could beat the book , Mossad : Greatest Missions by Mishal and Zohar. This one is better. It is like a Marathon of Espionage over 11 years. I was left in awe on the motivation and character that one must possess to stick with it .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I love the British reader but...

I understand the lee is British but his Russian accent sound more British than is Normal one. Having said it he arguable my favorite reader wonderful to listen to. The story is great!! Macintyre did it again!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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How little we know

Great Cold War story. That it really occurred is really amazing. Shows the impact one person, with the right motivation can have on world events. If you enjoy intrigue and a real life “James Bond” thriller this book won’t disappoint.
The narration, the characters, the story and the sweeping well written story is well worth your time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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required reading for understanding of Russian KGB

Well written. With all the talk Russian interference in democratic elections throughout the world this book brings a very clear picture of the vicious world of the KGB from the 60's through the 80's. Do you think things have changed much since the downfall of the USSR?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A movie next?

No question this true story should be a movie or a series that. Ethic or Amazon Prime Video should create. This book kept me interested every chapter, paragraph, every word. If you like true story that has old Cold War intrigue you have no choice but to buy this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful