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Summary

When investigative journalist Shiv Malik was betrayed by a source he considered a friend, he spent almost fifteen years tracking down the truth about what happened. The Messenger is an extraordinary audio tale of friendship, lies, betrayal, terrorism, the destruction of a marriage, and the insidiousness of fake news long before it went viral. In the wake of the 7/7 London bombings, Shiv Malik began working for the BBC to discover how young South Asian men like him had turned into suicide bombers. That's when he met notorious Islamist spokesman Hassan Butt, who told Shiv that he'd repented and left al-Qaeda. Hassan wanted Shiv to write his biography, and Shiv thought he'd found the biggest story of his life—a story that would help to change the world for the better. Little did he know that Hassan Butt would almost destroy his life. Over the next three years, Shiv and Hassan became friends, until one day there was a knock on the door from police investigators and everything fell apart. In eight revealing episodes, featuring Shiv's own audio recordings of his conversations with Hassan, Shiv searches for where he can place his trust: in the reams of evidence, in the cops, in a terrorist who swears he's changed, or in a friend who has no one else to turn to? Produced by Topic Studios.
©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC

What listeners say about The Messenger

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping listen

I loved this podcast, to the point I ended up listening to every episode in only two sittings. It was informative and interesting, telling a highly personal and reflective tale of journalism within a UK and global political context that has impacted on is all. I'd highly recommend to everyone.

10 people found this helpful

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Binged this one

Gripping story of a journalist beguiled by his source. Incredible honesty and self knowledge from author Shiv Malik about his ups and downs as he tried for 10 years to get to the truth. Lots here that I didn't get from reading the book. Full disclosure: I'm one of the people interviewed in this serial. (Cameo role only - but I won't hold that against them.)

6 people found this helpful

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A little bit too 'poor me'

I did enjoy this but felt like too much of the podcast was the author trying to get sympathy about how badly he'd been treated, as opposed to taking more responsibility and focusing on the story behind what had been truth and what had been a lie, which was what I was really interested in. At points I was tempted to stop listening because the constant 'poor me' narrative became too overwhelming. The section about the police asking to see how recordings I found particularly grating - when should journalists protecting their sources take precedence over national security and stopping terrorism? And it seemed to me the press treated the police, who were just doing their jobs, very badly. It felt like the author was more bothered about trying to protect his precious book than a terrorist being stopped and lives saved. (even if it did turn out not to be true). After that section I really stopped sympathising with the author and was happy to rattle through the final episodes without properly focusing. An interesting listen definitely but too biased for me.

5 people found this helpful

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Gripped from start to end.

excellent, highly recommend. Compelling story and well narrated by the writer who gives an incredibly honest, meaningful and soul bearing account of his journey into this investigation of twists and turns. Couldn't break away once I had started. Good job its Saturday.

4 people found this helpful

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Good production values but a weak story

It took a long time to tell this very thin story. It’s not exactly an unusual story either. I was left at the end going “really? Is that it?”. Production values are excellent, which kept me thinking “no there must be more to it than this if they’ve spent so much money on it.” Nope.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing story.

Really good. I feel so much sympathy for Mr Malik. Gripped from start to finish.

1 person found this helpful

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Great listen.

Not normally my style, but an honest and in some strange way charmingly naive story, giving a great insight into cultures, misused trust, and the making of extremism. Worth your time.

1 person found this helpful

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The messenger DELIVERS

As an audio book the storyteller is all important this is very well read and knowing it to be a true story keeps your interest all the way through the dramatic music running through at times makes all the difference give it a go well worth your time!

1 person found this helpful

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Sore topic, worth the listen

Really glad this story is getting told - at the end of the day this is much less about terrorism than it is about the naivety of youthful ambition, the burdens of cultural dissonance, mental (un)health and the ability face yourself and own your mistakes - or not. We can all learn from this and I think Shiv managed to tease out this lesson for all of us in the final episode - though at great personal cost. There will always be Messengers, all we can do is understand their MO to better guard ourselves.

1 person found this helpful

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Very interesting!!

Great story!! I couldn't turn it off and ended up blasting all the way through it in one sitting. I could listen to this sh*t all day. really feel for the Journalist!! something fishy definitely went down!

1 person found this helpful