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Summary

When a Russian defector is assassinated in a sleepy English seaside town, Group Fifteen agents John Milton and Michael Pope find themselves in a rush to uncover the culprits and bring them to justice.  

Their investigation leads them to Moscow and a confrontation with Directorate S, the agency responsible for seeding Russian sleeper agents around the world. When lies and double crossing mean that no-one is what they seem, the two agents - alone and without backup - struggle to achieve their goals under the most dangerous of circumstances.  

Set one week before the opening of The Cleaner, this compulsive thriller turns back the clock to Milton as a barely functioning alcoholic, still tormented by the ghosts of the men and women he has killed in the service of his country. Milton must fight his own demons as well as the Russian assassin sent to eliminate him. Will he be able to complete his mission and escape with his life?

©2018 Mark Dawson (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

Classic Milton

It was nice to get some back story of million before the cleaner
I wanted to listen in one sitting but listened in two days
The narration is excellent and no Spoilers it's a good story with plenty of action and could be listened to before the cleaner and deserves to be a best seller

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another great “John Milton” classic

Great story. If you are a fan and have read all the books, this is just perfect to read. Loved it - thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Rather disappointing and uneven story

Despite the topical story, I found this latest in the John Milton series rather disappointing. I was looking forward to my favourite vigilante doing his thing but this one went back to when he was still in his previous "job" and tried to explain why he decided to quit. The bad (mainly Russian) characters were 2 dimensional stereotypes and much of the story didn't make sense and had to be "explained" at the end. I could see why the Skripal affair would pique the interest of writers like Mark Dawson but I would have been happier if he had spent a bit more time working the plot out. Sadly, not his best.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Confused

Mark Dawson is a great author. I've listened to all of the books in this series but only managed to get part way through this one. I listen to audio books mainly on short car journeys and when I go to bed. These listening periods might only be for 15 maybe 30 minutes at a time so I need a plot and characters that can be easily remembered. This book with the umpteen Russian character's completely confused me and thus I gave it up as a bad job. Come on Mark get back on track!!

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  • James
  • Dog Lane, Kelsall, United Kingdom
  • 20-11-18

Great book, John Milton never surprises us!

Another Book from the John Milton series exceptionally well narrated by David Thorpe.. just when we think John can’t do another story Mark Dawson finds one which is topical, well researched & believable, keep them coming loads of life in John still.!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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No more please!

Just couldn't get into this Milton book.
I have really enjoyed many of the previous John Milton books but just could not get into this one.
I found the story to be slow and lacklustre. Even Thorpe's voice has begun to grate on me.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent as usual

Great story, surprises and theatre, Milton at the beginning, can’t wait for the next one

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Usually love Milton but...

This was always going to be odd. A prequel is usually blighted by the reader’s prior knowledge and this was no exception. The story telling was laboured, the characters were somewhat confusing (who was who), and the whole thing seemed to go, well, not exactly nowhere, but not quite as far as I would have liked. Just a blip in the road, hopefully.

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Sleepers

Good forerunner for the rest of the John Milton stories lets hope we have many more Milton stories from Mark Dawson.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 10-11-18

Not too keen on prequels

as I'd prefer that any story just continued. However as I like this Mark Dawson series, the John Milton character and David Thorpe's excellent narration I found it easy to bury my prejudices and just enjoy !

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  • Wayne
  • 20-10-18

A younger John Milton

Those who follow this excellent espionage series will quickly realize that Sleepers goes back into a period of a younger John Milton's life before he left the Group 15 espionage agency. Up until this novel the Milton series was in chronological order of John Milton's life. The author explains why if a short afterward. I wish he had brought back Beatrix Rose also, Although now long dead she remains my favorite Mark Dawson character.

I seemed to me that the last several novels in the John Milton series while quite good were not up to Dawson's prior standards. This one definitely is. Narrator David Thorpe was excellent as usual.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bellsmark
  • 28-10-18

Big fan of the series

If you hadn't started this series this may be a good place to start. it is a prequel that filled in a few blanks. It takes place a very short time before the first book in the series. It is, also, a very good book on it's own. The action is great but I really enjoy being in the head of people who are elite at what they do. I could not reccomend this series more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Larry
  • 17-01-19

Well written

This book is well written and engaging. I enjoyed it as I have many of the others in this series.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carissa
  • 15-12-18

storyline not as good as the others

while I enjoyed this book, it did not have as much action and suspense as the other John Milton novels. I don't know if this is just my imagination, but it also seemed a bit shorter than the others. but all in all it was still good

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  • Gman
  • 29-11-18

Quite well done

Perhaps the best of the series thus far...If you like any of the previous then I think you will find this to be of your liking. One thing, ok two things, that I appreciate this author doing is making Milton human and also making the story near to reality.

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  • Joyce Eriksen
  • 25-11-18

This is a long awaited prequel.

Dawson can go back as far as he likes in John Milton's life I'll read every one. This one is prime Milton, fast, clever and full of twists to keep you turning pages. Loved it.

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  • Margaret
  • 20-11-18

Great Story!

I love to read and listen to Mark Dawson’s series about John Milton. He is a complicated person which gives him the humanness of all of us. We may not be special agents, but we all as humans have our faults to bear. I have read all of this series and it’s great to see how John begins his defection from the group. Keep it going can’t wait to read the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary M Heine Jr.
  • 16-11-18

Not loud enough

Not loud enough the reader is amazing just doesn’t seem to be mixed at a loud enough level

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Princess689
  • 20-10-18

Another Exciting Read

Milton is as fantastic as always. Read this in one day because I couldn’t put it down. John Milton never disappoint me or let me down. Highly recommended.


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  • Ginny Barnhill
  • 19-10-18

Mark Dawson's Latest Triumph

Mark Dawson has written a believable and vibrant tale based on the backstory of his John Milton character; not an easy feat to achieve after having written 12 previous novels. This story does not disappoint.

Dawson's gift, especially in the military, suspense, thriller, espionage genres, is creating characters that bring relevance and relatable human traits. Every component of a Dawson story adds value while avoiding gratuitous elements only for their shock value. His stories live.

Dawson's research and knowledge of his subject carry throughout all of his works; Sleepers included. I now measure all other writers in these genres by Mark Dawson's rule. There are a few who measure-up, but not many. Dawson has raised the bar for my reading pleasure.

David Thorpe's delivery is perfection, providing the personality and voice masterfully to all of the characters, and yes, David Thorpe is John Milton for me.

I suggest you read some (if not all) of the John Milton stories before you read Sleepers. Why? Because in hindsight, since I have read all of the Milton stories, Sleepers has engaged my heart more profoundly with my love of the Milton character, and drama. It brilliantly supports the meaning of his life--in the now.

P.S. John Milton stories are not just for male readers. As a woman, I appreciate the heart Mark Dawson successfully delivers within the suspense and intrigue of his stories and their characters. (I know, what a female thing to say! And I'm proud of it.)

Congratulations to Mark Dawson. I picked up Sleepers, and couldn't stop reading until the last word in your After Word!