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Summary

Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow. She despises the men she serves, the oligarchs, crooks, and thugs of Putin’s Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington’s most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

As she expertly dodges exposure, Dominika deals with a murderously psychotic boss; survives an Iranian assassination attempt; escapes a counterintelligence ambush; rescues an arrested agent and exfiltrates him out of Russia; and has a chilling midnight conversation in her nightgown with President Putin. Complicating these risks is the fact that Dominika is in love with her CIA handler, Nate Nash, and their lust is as dangerous as committing espionage in Moscow. And when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika’s name on a restricted list of sources, it is a virtual death sentence....

©2015 Jason Matthews (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"An insider’s insider...and a masterful storyteller." (Vince Flynn)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The sexual objectification in the narrator's voice

I am putting this to one side. I’m half way through Chapter 12 (of 44) but it is doing my head in. I am torn, it is very gripping and the characterization is amazing; I really want to know what happens to Dominika (and Nate) but … There is lots of sex and violence in the book but the thing I am struggling with is the sexist gaze of the narrator. We (the readers) become complicit in the relentless sexual objectification of the main character. She is a very strong lead character, which is great, but we are constantly brought back to seeing her as a sexual object. Here are a couple of examples from the first few chapters, the first is right after she’s been in a fight, the second is during a fight. (I’ll redact the name so that the quote is less of a spoiler.) “She squatted beside him, her dress riding half-way up her thighs and revealing the lacey black triangle of her underwear. But A was staring only at her luminous face, a strand of hair ‘bedroom-sexy’ over one eye.” “He should have gone down and given her time to put the heel of her shoe into his eye socket, but he grabbed the plunging front of her dress and pulled her down with him tearing the material and exposing the lacy cups of her bra.” It is not just the main character; all the female characters are written about like this. Perhaps I will come back to it when I am feeling robust, but right now I do not want someone in my head making me see the world this way.

56 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but flawed

I enjoyed the book but I found myself laughing out loud at how Matthew's brings sex into the story. His treatment of his female characters is both hilarious and a little "stone age". As an example, in a fight on Paris street with assailants, the black triangle of Dominica's panties were on show, because of the violent tussle. I like to think of a male character from the book having the same thing happen... "Nate grappled with the bulky goon and, as he spun around, his white Y fronts showed through his torn zipper".
Has me in hysterics every time and makes you realise how pointless and sexist the original text actually is. Towards the end, in a fight to the death, where the prose is skipping along, conveying the pace and action, suddenly "Dominicka could still feel Nate between her legs". What does this add? Would we laugh if say James Bond was in yet another fist/knife/gun fight and suddenly in the racing action, he realised he could feel Pussy Galore's legs wrapped around his groin? It's a shame, because Matthew's writes well and has engaging characters and a pacey plot. Every time he says something sexy about his protagonist, he should ask himself, how would this sound if it was a man.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good, but long

The book felt a bit long. I am undecided on the narrator, not that they didn't tell the story well I had listened to the previous book with a different narrator. By the end I was struggling with the length of the book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The accent had nothing to the story

Doing the different people in the story with their respective accent it really distracted. Especially in the beginning it was hard to listen to the story and specially the Russian accent. Unnecessary and spoiled it for me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • Cornwall
  • 08-07-16

Don't go to Russia Mr Matthews!

Blimey, I wouldn't portray Putin in that light and expect to live!
A challenging book with a nice twist or two. Much more brutal than le Carre but feels authentic. Enjoyed this one.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant story, terrible narration

I won’t comment on the story apart from to say it’s brilliant, and worth listening to without a doubt.

The narration though, oh so bad. Terrible accents that all sound the same. Mispronounced names and words continually. The result being a constant distraction from being immersed in the story itself. Very disappointing; I mean, how hard can it be to look up words you don’t know how to pronounce?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Bad narrator and poor writing

Why change the narrator in a series? First book was ok and I hoped this would be better but no such luck! I can't understand the 5 star reviews, if you're looking for a book about the CIA 'The Company' by Robert Littell is a much better choice.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • NUNEATON, United Kingdom
  • 17-11-15

A truly wondrous narration and a spectacular book

If you have read book one then you already have some inkling as to its content. However , the new narrator really brings this follow up book to life and injects a third dimension to each and every character.
The book carries on seamlessly and never skips a beat.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hang on, book two and a female narrator!

Bit of a shock to the system after the first book is narrated very well by a man. Don't get me wrong she is brilliant too, but took a little while to get used to the different pronunciations of familiar names - jarred a litte for a while.
Didn't spoil another excellent book, and to be honest I would happily listen to either narrator again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Nationalism is power hunger

tempered by self-deception." George Orwell

This is a an entertaining story that moves fluidly with in its make believe world. Do not expect insights into real politics or realistic human frailties, like James Bond the characters inhabit a world that is a parallel representation of ours, with even more exaggerated jingoism from every one, and a very much alive cold war.

The writer Jason Matthews is in the trade but I doubt that he has exposed any tech or real trade secrets, it is all very much a dig at Russia that is not very serious or credible, if I was sixteen I would have loved it but my experience and age prevent me from enjoying such a simplistic geopolitical scrimmages and name calling of real people that are much more astute, dangerous and complex in real life than any of the representation in this book.
A good few hours of light entertainment, disengage brain and dive in the fantasy.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Graham
  • 04-09-15

Greeat story BUT ...

l loved the story with its strands of plot around different characters. There was plenty of suspense as l felt there was no guarantee that the "good guys" would win nor all of their characters survive.

Far more realistic and credible than many books in its genre and highly recommended with ONE EXCEPTION.

I found the narratir's attempt to change her voice to represent different characters not just bad but appalling. For the early stages of the book l found it a big turnoff which made me angry as in "how the hell did she get this job?"

But the compelling storyline kept me there and while her character portrayal never improved l generally became desensitized to it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Safjoe
  • 09-07-18

The narrator spoiled it

Book 1, read by Jeremy Bobb, was sublime. His flow over the words and the way in which he created a character for each moving part was wonderful to listen to. Sadly book 2, also ready by him, was not available in my territory so I had to settle for book 2 by Jennifer Vuletic. Her voice is silly when she is not reading the parts associated to any specific characters. The only character she created that I enjoyed was the voice for Dominika, everyone else she made sound like a complete idiot. Some of the most important characters in the story, Gable, Forsythe, Benford, she made them sound like mindless tears not like seasoned CIA agents. I'm on chapter 14 only, can't bear the thought of having to tear through till chapter 44. Jennifer should really work on not trying so hard with her male characters, she reduces the impact those characters are meant to have and makes them unlikeable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Julian
  • 21-05-18

Please!!!!!!!!!!!! Leave out the recipes!

It would have been five stars all round; but the recipes became one of the most annoying parts of a book that I have ever experienced, so much so that I had to knock of a star for each category.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • 16-05-18

Good story, awful narrator

The story line was interesting and engaging but the narrator nearly made me send this book back - unconvincing and a disaster with the male characters, forced and grating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marisia Robus
  • 30-03-18

Disgusting narrator who spoiled a good book

The 2nd book in the trilogy was good and the story was great interesting ...... but the narrator was TERRIBLE!! THE WORST NARRATOR EVER!!!

The recipes irritate me and in this book drove me mad!

It says something for the quality of the story that I suffered through this narrator

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-08-18

Uncalled for blasphemy and terrible reading

I have listened to "Red Sparrow" by the same author and enjoyed the story and other reader's performance a great deal. The story was great. Although there was blasphemy, it was not to the same extent as in this book. This book is much worse. I find it completely unnecessary and it doesn't add anything to the book.

Also, the reader pronounces most of the important names completely different to the first book's, with accents on different syllables, and I just didn't like the way she tried to imitate the men's voices. Some parts were almost torture to listen to. I hope the 3rd book will be better regarding the reader and the blasphemy, else I won't buy it.

I also don't need a recipe at the end of each chapter.

For the rest, it was a gripping story that could have been great, with a different reader and without the swearing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-18

couldn't put it down

wonderfully superbly gripping!
Thank You Jennifer for bringing the characters to life! good job girl!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leslie
  • 05-07-17

Will read/listen to this again

Started with Red Sparrow. Loved Red Sparrow and never believed Book 2 could be as good. Proved me wrong. The layers and complexity in the story. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽 Love this series. Had me chuckling at times too - looking idiotic with my headphones on. Looking forward to the next book. Thank you, Jason.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful