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Red Sparrow: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 4 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 4 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476706123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476706122
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"A primer in 21st-century spying. Matthews' former foes in Moscow will be choking on their blinis when they read how much has been revealed about their tradecraft...terrifically good." (The New York Times Book Review)

“Veteran CIA operative-turned-novelist Matthews keeps the trouble popping in Red Sparrow, but relentless drama is just one of the high points of this sublime and sophisticated debut… Red Sparrow isn’t just a fast-paced thriller — it’s a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world. While many former CIA agents and MI6 operatives have turned to writing fiction in retirement, Matthews joins a select few who seem as strong at their second careers as at their first.” (Art Taylor The Washington Post)

"Jason Matthews, who became an authority on the Kremlin during his 33 years as a CIA operations officer, has written an espionage novel, Red Sparrow, in which Putin makes a cameo -- read it and you too may conclude that no one on the planet knows the Russian president better. You too may also conclude that Red Sparrow is the best espionage novel you've ever read." (Keith Thomson Huffington Post)

"Fans of the genre's masters including John Le Carre and Ian Fleming will happily embrace Matthews' central spy." (USA Today)

“Many spy novelists, including Ian Fleming and John le Carré, actually worked as intelligence agents. Add to that list Jason Matthews, whose 33 years as a CIA field operative enriches his first novel with startling verisimilitude…That sense of authenticity, along with vividly drawn characters, much detail about tradecraft, and an appropriately convoluted plot make this a compelling and propulsive tale of spy-versus-spy…Red Sparrow is greater than the sum of its fine parts. Espionage aficionados will love this one.” (Booklist, starred review)

“The author, a veteran CIA field agent, liberally salts his thriller with realistic tradecraft, horrific villainy, and stunning plot twists as the opponents vie for control…An intense descent into a vortex of carnal passion, career brutality, and smart tradecraft, this thriller evokes the great Cold War era of espionage…Readers of bloodthirsty spy and suspense will welcome this debut from a writer who supersizes his spies.” (Library Journal (starred review))

"This debut novel from a 33-year CIA veteran delivers action as pulse-pounding as it is authentic." (New York Post)

“Matthews’s exceptional first novel will please fans of classic spy fiction…The author’s 33-year career in the CIA allows him to showcase all the tradecraft and authenticity that readers in this genre demand…[a] complex, high-stakes plot.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“Matthews’ first novel, a globe-trotting spy thriller, features enough action to satisfy even the most demanding of adrenaline junkies…The author’s CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.” (Kirkus)

"Not since the good old days of the Cold War has a classic spy thriller like RED SPARROW come along. Jason Matthews is not making it up; he has lived this life and this story, and it shows on every page. High-level espionage, pulse-pounding danger, sex, double agents and double crosses. What more can any reader want?" (Nelson DeMille)

“A great and dangerous spy-game is being played today between Russian intelligence and the CIA. Very few people know about it, including many of our politicians in Washington. But Jason Matthews does, and his thrilling Red Sparrow takes us deep inside this treacherous world. He’s an insider’s insider. He knows the secrets. And he is also a masterful story-teller. I loved this book and could not put it down. Neither will you.” (Vince Flynn)

“I read till eleven and woke up at five a.m. to finish this book. If it doesn’t supplant The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as the next mammoth read, ad if it doesn’t take its place alongside le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the love of literature and jaw-dropping thrills really is dead. I learned more about the former Soviets and the new Russians, and about our US of A, than I ever gleaned from the hardest-working journalists today. Halfway through, I was afraid Vladimir Putin would find out I was reading Red Sparrow and have me arrested. I have not read a more exciting, gripping novel in a long time.” (Doug Stanton author of Horse Soldiers)

"All the tradecraft and cat-and-mouse tension of a classic spy thriller— a terrific read." (Joseph Kanon author of Instanbul)

About the Author

Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate. Over a thirty-three-year career he served in multiple overseas locations and engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelli­gence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet–East European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets. As Chief in various CIA Stations, he collaborated with foreign partners in counterproliferation and counterterrorism operations. He lives in Southern California.

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Mathews interspersed italicized Russian words and phrases throughout the text of his novel. The problem is, his knowledge of Russian appears to come straight from Google Translate’s outputs. Most of the words are used either in the wrong conjugation, or in the wrong gender, or are outdated - not used in modern Russian and sound ridiculous.

My first question is, why did the author feel the need to use the language he clearly doesn’t speak throughout his book? And my second question is, what else did he make up?

All the characters in the book are flat, one dimensional and unbelievable. The Russians are, in the great Hollywood tradition, simple minded, greedy and of low intelligence. I’m utterly disappointed in the book. When I bought it, I was hoping to read a piece of literature that was educational in terms of political history or spy tradecraft. What I got instead was a cheap romance novel full of sex-crazed drama.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An ok spy book. I'm sure Mr. Matthews was a fine CIA agent but that does not necessarily translate into a good author as this book proves. I was expecting so much more. The story is lacking in true development and drags on and on. Only near the end does it provide some excitement. Every chapter is much too descriptive. I agree with other reviews about the use of Russian words throughout which are a distraction and the insertion of recipes at the end of each chapter. I would not bother with this book...
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By Len TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 20 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dominika, an aspiring ballet dancer, has her dreams shattered when the lover of a jealous rival breaks her foot. Without direction, she is recruited by her uncle, a high level official in the Russian Federal Security Service. Her beautiful blue eyes and striking figure make her a perfect candidate for the sparrow program that trains its recruits seduction techniques to be used against foreign diplomats, politicians and government officials. Nathaniel Nash is her American counterpart, a good-looing a CIA agent responsible for Marble, a Russian official with contacts in the highest level of the Russian government. Nate’s her target and the game of cat and mouse begins in Helsinki, Finland. Mr. Matthews provides a good balance of the comfortably predictable with the surprising to keep the reader interested to the end. As a retired CIA officer, Mr. Matthews provides enough insights into the bureaucratic mess that constitutes every large scale institution that any employee of a like institution can relate. Good entertainment.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great HUMINT tradecraft and a nice convoluted story. However, motivation was not entirely believable.... I was also put off by the sloppy use of Russian words, plus...why use Russian words? Didn't add anything for me, just a distraction. But if you meed to, make sure you get them right. And the recipes at the end of each chapter - an unnecessary affectation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enter a volatile mix into the "Game". Spies with hardened gestures but vulnerable psyches and you have the most intriguing storyline since The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Now give the main character a bit of Bernard Samson of Len Deighton fame and your are warming to a startling new line of spy thrillers. Gone is Checkpoint Charlie, to be replaced by a 'silver-wet' bridge in Estonia. Instead of Stalin's breaking of eggs to make omelets, meet Vladimir Putin's icy stare as he pumps iron while dividing and conquering with the best of the world's tyrants. Sure there is no technology in these books, just weave behind weave of disinformation and counter-intelligence coups. Mister Smiley must be turning over in his grave. A great read. Picke it up. I bought the second part of the series, Palace of Treason, the same minute I finished this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is a more detailed description of spy tradecraft that is presented and enlightening, more so than in other spy thrillers.It has a plot that is engrossing with the hovering involvement of Putin, and protaginists from both sides, female an male, Russsian and American.They both have interesting backgrounds before they come in contact and you want to see them come together.The reader becomes interested to the point that one looks forward to a next book involving them both.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could discover this book all over again. I cannot wait for Matthews next book! What's obvious in life is glossed over by most of us, but to read it w/ a skilled writer is to discover the inherent humour and follies everyone possesses, even spooks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent! It was well-written and totally engaging. There was ++ suspense and the characters were very well-drawn and believable, e.g. not super-heroes, but real people. I was sorry when the book ended and look forward to his next book.
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