Red Sparrow

A Novel

Matthews, Jason

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Red Sparrow
IN THE GRAND SPY-TALE TRADITION OF JOHN LE CARRÉ . . . comes this shocking thriller written with insider detail known only to a veteran CIA officer. In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a "Sparrow," a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency's most important Russian mole. Spies have long relied on the "honey trap," whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of "sexpionage" in Russia's secret "Sparrow School," hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and-inevitably-forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate's game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC. Page by page, veteran CIA officer Jason Matthews's Red Sparrow delights and terrifies and fascinates, all while delivering an unforgettable cast, from a sadistic Spetsnaz "mechanic" who carries out Putin's murderous schemes to the weary CIA Station Chief who resists Washington "cake-eaters" to MARBLE, the priceless Russian mole. Packed with insider detail and written with brio, this tour-de-force novel brims with Matthews's life experience, including his knowledge of espionage, counterintelligence, surveillance tradecraft, spy recruitment, cyber-warfare, the Russian use of "spy dust," and covert communications. Brilliantly composed and elegantly constructed, Red Sparrow is a masterful spy tale lifted from the dossiers of intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Authentic, tense, and entertaining, this novel introduces Jason Matthews as a major new American talent.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2013.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 147670614X
Characteristics: 434 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jul 21, 2014
  • msewell rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Different taste for different folks. I thought this was an excellent spy novel. Some mention Le Carre but I thought of Tom Clancy's "The Cardinal of the Kremlin." Hope he writes some more.

Jul 17, 2014
  • LizJurkacek rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is an excellent spy novel. The writer provides stunning detail of the Soviet's spy system. A very good book and one of the few spy novels to cover the CIA v. Soviets. Most of the classics are British characters. I hope there is a follow up to this book. Well-done.

Nov 14, 2013
  • KBesserman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best spy novels I have read in a very long time. Great details and great story. As an avid spy novel reader, I can say that this book kept me interested all the way to the very end. Have to put it in the category of Le Carre, Charles Cumming, and some of the other great spy novelists.

Nov 07, 2013
  • pitkerro rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Not a compelling read. Strangely old-fashioned and meandering and cliches abound. Maybe I've watched too many episodes of Covert Affairs but this read more like an episode of The Americans, set in the 80's. Maybe it was supposed to. The recipes and frequent use of phrases requiring translation, presumably included to lend atmosphere/authenticity, were a fail for me.

Oct 25, 2013
  • sharlkan rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I have been a long time fan of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, Nelson DeMille, David Baldacci and others. I could only stomach 3 chapters of this book. Filthy language, explicit sex are not necessary when an espionage book is well written and well researched. I'll never pick up another of his books!

Sep 09, 2013
  • toby65 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I heard Jason Matthews interviewed on radio. Then I read a couple of reviews and thought this sounded like a great read.
Unfortunately, the quality of the writing is not good. In fact, it is really, really bad. Couldn't take any more after about 20 pages of overblown, cliche ridden prose. Where is the editor on this one?

Jul 09, 2013
  • jdick rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderful, engrossing read. At times I thought I was reading John Le Carré, whose books are my faves. I hope Jason Matthews doesn't take too long with his next book...I can't wait!

Jul 08, 2013

"Former ballerina Dominika Egorova serves Vladimir Putin's regime by seducing, then spying on, enemies of the state. CIA officer Nate Nash has been reassigned to Helsinki after nearly blowing the cover of a highly valuable Russian mole, and this is where Dominika latches on, determined to learn the mole's identity. But Dominika is more than a pretty lady - she's smart, and her synesthesia allows her to tell when someone is lying. As they try to outwit and out-spy each other, readers are treated to vivid, authentic details of spycraft. Debut author Jason Matthews knows his stuff - he worked for the CIA for more than 30 years - and there are shades of John le Carré in his writing." July 2013 Thrillers and Suspense newsletter


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