A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2014 | Unabridged
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Drafted against her will to serve the regime of Vladimir Putin as an intelligence seductress, Dominika Egorova engages in a charged effort of deception and tradecraft with first-tour CIA officer Nathaniel Nash before a forbidden attraction threatens their careers.
Publisher: Prince Frederick : HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books, 2014
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781470345464
Characteristics: 1 online resource (17 audio files) : digital
audio file
Additional Contributors: Bobb, Jeremy
OverDrive, Inc
Alternative Title: Red sparrow

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Staff Book Review: Red Sparrow

If you thought the cutthroat deep espionage of the Cold War ended when the Berlin wall came down, you would be wrong. Enter Jason Matthews’ 2013 spy novel Red Sparrow. Set in modern day Putin’s Russia, where prison camps still exist and one wrong move will sentence you to disappear to a Siberian basement and endure unending inhumane torture (more)

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Jul 11, 2017

I enjoyed this novel especially the descriptions of life in Russia. I recommend reading it.

May 28, 2015

I got a real kick out of this one, although I can kick about a few things in it, too. This is a spy novel in the classic cold war US vs. Russia genre. The author is the real deal and the jargon, tradecraft, and dialogue reflect that. The story reeks of authenticity. The plot and character descriptions are already described sufficiently in other reviews, so I’ll add my personal perspective. First off, the FBI bashing got real old real fast. I also found the sex and torture scenes excessive, unnecessary, and pandering – frankly offensive, but perhaps not more so than has become common in the thriller genre. I listened to this one on CD and the reader was excellent. I don’t know Russian, but I’ve heard enough of it to believe the reader did. He convinced me, anyway. This book is much better than Blowback by Valerie Plame. I gave up on that one halfway through, so I’m not reviewing it. It wasn’t terrible, but just too much geared to the chick lit scene for my taste.

This author made an odd choice that, surprisingly, I haven’t seen mentioned in the dozen or so reviews I read, although I assume there are reviews out there mentioning it. Every chapter or so he ends with a recipe related to the preceding scene. I can’t say this bothered me or appealed to me; it was just sort of weird. Most of the recipes sounded somewhat stomach turning to me, but then I’m no foodie. I’m the type who wishes they’d invent a food pill so no one had to eat. In order to feed this conceit, the author crams a lot of restaurant or dinner meetings into the exposition, thus repeating in the text the same recipe that is presented at the end. This is a waste of time and a bit irritating in my opinion.

All in all, though, the plot was clever, the American characters believable, the action not so much but still entertaining, and it was refreshing to relive that era. The Russian characters were grossly overdrawn, comic-book-like Snidely Whiplash bad guys. Putin would not be pleased, but American fans of the genre will.

Aug 09, 2014

An odd one, indeed, especially listening to the recipes being read out at the end of each chapter, as mentioned by a previous reviewer. Still, I considered it an above-average spy thriller for how it tries to come to grips with espionage and power politics in Putin's Russia, as well as the character of Domenika. On the downside, I never found myself warming to or even particularly interested in the character of Nash, and in the best spy romances it does take two to tango.

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