Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow

A Novel

Book - 2013
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'' In the REZIDENTURA she was she was correct, reserved, did her work quickly and well, with an uncommon intensity....'Quite a creature,' thought Marta, 'and in operations!' Beauty, brains, tradecraft, and incandescent blue eyes. It was apparent that she knew her duty, loved her country, but there was something below the surface, an underground spring bubbling unseen." " Pride, anger, disobedience. And something else, hard to define, a secret side, an addiction to rebellion, as if she courted risk." " Chief of Directorate T Yury Nasarenko waited at the threshold of Egorov's office like a serf waiting to be invited into a barn."

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swheeler89
Dec 04, 2018

Was waiting for this one to end. Will not continue reading the trilogy. Parts lingered too long, and plot line actually got hard to follow. Wish I had just watched the movie instead.

If you thought the cutthroat deep espionage of the Cold War ended when the Berlin wall came down, you would be wrong. Enter Jason Matthews’ 2013 spy novel Red Sparrow. Set in modern day Putin’s Russia, where prison camps still exist and one wrong move will sentence you to disappear to a Siberian basement and endure unending inhumane torture tactics, a world still very much entrenched in obsession with clawing back the Soviet glory days and competing with the great enemy (USA), the story follows the beautiful young Russian Dominika Egorova, a would-be ballerina who becomes a spy when her dance career is thwarted by injury. Dominika’s Uncle, a desperate-to-prove-himself ex KGB member, assigns her to train at Sparrow school, where she trains to be an expert in sexual and romantic espionage. Her eventual target: Nate Nash, an American CIA operative who is vulnerable to Russian recruitment only after making a series of career tarnishing blunders. Unbeknownst to Dominika, Nate is assigned to recruit her to be a double agent for the CIA. What transpires is a thrilling, fast paced journey through Europe and New York. Matthews really knows the spy world: he used to be a CIA operative himself. In Red Sparrow, he has created a twisting, turning, suspenseful and incredibly well written spy novel that hooked me from page 1. Though it is fiction, the subject matter taught me a lot about the current tension between the US and Russia, and helped me to understand much of the reason behind many of Russia’s decisions. The characters were fully fleshed out and interesting; the choices they make over the course of the novel kept me on the edge of my seat. It did not surprise me to see that the book has been made into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton. If this isn’t enough to sell you on it, there is a delicious traditional Russian recipe at the end of every single chapter. (Submitted by Mandi)

t
timettial1
Sep 13, 2018

you must next read 'The Kremlin's Candidate'. On the book jacket it said that it was the second book in the 'red Sparrow' trilogy.

t
timettial1
Aug 30, 2018

very good spy novel, a real page-turner

j
jimg2000
Jun 22, 2018

The book is superior to the JL's film which left off the character's attributes of a synesthete who saw emotional content as colors, like Amos Decker in the book series by David Baldacci. However, The movie has a tighter plot with a bigger suspenseful twist at the end. Overall an excellent spy novel of unusual big personalities.
*Debut novel by a real ex-spy, first of the Sparrow trilogy.
*Good stuffs: Food recipes, many zingers, traveling in Europe, old time cloak and dagger schemes.
*Not so good stuffs: Too much details on eats, many cliches, unconvincing love story.

t
talk2terih
Jun 10, 2018

This book was a little bit longer than it needed to be, but that is often the case with new writers. As he goes along, he will learn to edit himself, or his publishing house staff will help him learn.
The very best thing about this book is the lesson in tradecraft it provides. Mathews' career in Intelligence allows the reader rare insight into a cryptic and cloaked world where even a simple glance means everything or nothing and that kindly old lady watering her flower garden may not be who you think she is.
Mathews has created some memorable characters and I look forward to reading the next title in the series and seeing their stories unfold.

a
agoldsby
Mar 16, 2018

Jason Matthews gave us an amazing, intriguing, smart, page turning thriller. I could not put this book down! Then I went to see the movie. I thought there’s no way Hollywood could mess this up. If you take the words from the book and put them in a script-it’s fool proof. Jason Matthews wrote a superb spy thriller like a cross between Salt & the female Jason Borne. In turn Hollywood gave us The Spy Who Shagged Me, bad accents and all. I could not have left that theater more dissatisfied. They cut sooooo many characters and left out everything that made Dominika the layered, nuanced heroine you cheer for as Jason Matthews intended. Poor Jennifer Lawrence if I read this , then read the script I would’ve been irate. Hollywood & JLaw eagerly turned Dominika into a flat, hypocritical, backstabbing weirdo. They really messed this up. Do not go see this movie. Just read the book because clearly the producers and director did not. The book gets five blazing hot stars , the movie gets half a star for casting Jeremy Irons but had to take the other half away because they barely used him and completely rewrote the character.
OH & thank you Jason Matthews for the receipes! At first I thought it was completely random then by the time chicken kiev came around I was planning my Red Sparrow receive blog.

c
cambridgedon
Dec 06, 2017

Well above average spy novel that reeks of authenticity since author was a former CIA operative. Very good plotline but doesn't quite have Tom Clancy's gift for storytelling. But to be fair it's very difficult to make following people or avoid being followed (SDR) sound interesting no matter what spin you put on it. Nonetheless, a very good first novel and looking forward to more in the series. Interesting that Matthews seems to be a foodie as he addends a recipe to each chapter.

c
Candaceb108
Nov 12, 2017

Fabulous. Great writing. Well researched, great balance, humor the best. And new things to cook. One of the best spy novels I have read in decades.

m
Manekineko_0
Oct 21, 2017

Fast-paced, wonderfully researched spy novel. It is well written and super thrilling, and if that's not enough to sell you, there is an authentic, delicious Russian recipe at the end of each chapter!

x
xiaojunbpl12
Apr 19, 2017

Ultimate spy game! First hand experience plus unusual writing skill, macho and sensual (1 recipe per chapter, a bonus).

r
rahmmie
Oct 11, 2016

This book was definitely entertaining but despite its length, I couldn't help feeling like I was reading the "light" version of a spy novel, the flavour was off and there was not enough substance. The characters are definitely likeable so maybe the next book will be better

m
mstolarik
Aug 21, 2016

One of the best spy novels I have read. It was interesting, fast moving, full of suspense and excellent descriptions of all the countries where action took place, including the Russian phrases used. It is up there with my other favourite writers such as Philip Kerr, Vince Flynn and Daniel Silva. Lot better then the likes of Alan Furst , or Len Deighton (the latter I had trouble understanding!).

c
carol507
Feb 23, 2016

Hard to read - too many acronyms.

debwalker Sep 28, 2015

Best fiction I've read in a long while. The Cold War spy novel resurgent in the era of Mr. P. P for psycho among other things. Matthews knows his stuff from the inside of the CIA. Tautly written and intensely plotted. Can't put it down and yet sometimes I need to just to catch my breath.

d
DenisDesautels
Sep 07, 2015

An enjoyable read, somewhat of a page turner. You need to get by the first few chapters. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

m
msewell
Jul 21, 2014

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.

l
LizJurkacek
Jul 17, 2014

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.

k
KBesserman
Nov 14, 2013

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.

p
pitkerro
Nov 07, 2013

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.

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sharlkan
Oct 25, 2013

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!

t
toby65
Sep 09, 2013

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?

j
jdick
Jul 09, 2013

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!

ChristchurchLib 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 http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=652650


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