Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
A Novel

76%

5 Critic Reviews

The inclusion of a recipe at each chapter’s end...is unnecessary. This book is good and doesn’t need the gimmicks. The author’s CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In the tradition of John le Carré, the bestselling, impossible-to-put-down, espionage thriller that is “a primer in twenty-first century spying” (The New York Times Book Review), written with the insider detail that only a veteran CIA operative could know—and shortlisted for an Edgar Award.

State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fateful double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the US military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.

Taking place in today’s Russia, still ruled with an iron fist by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Red Sparrow displays author Jason Matthews’s insider knowledge of espionage, counter-espionage, surveillance tradecraft, recruiting spies, interrogation, and intelligence gathering. As The Washington Post hails, this is a “sublime and sophisticated debut…a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world.”
 

About Jason Matthews

See more books from this Author
Jason Matthews is a retired officer in CIA’s former Operations Directorate, now the National Clandestine Service. 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 and, as Chief in various CIA Stations, managed covert action projects against the Weapons of Mass Destruction programs of the world’s Rogue States and collaborated with foreign liaison partners in counter terrorism operations. He lives in Southern California.
 
Published June 4, 2013 by Scribner. 449 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Red Sparrow
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Feb 18 2013

The inclusion of a recipe at each chapter’s end...is unnecessary. This book is good and doesn’t need the gimmicks. The author’s CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.

Read Full Review of Red Sparrow: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Charles Cumming on May 31 2013

I think it was a mistake to give Vladimir Putin a walk-on part, and some of the character names (Korchnoi, Ustinov, Delon) are oddly chosen, given their real-life antecedents.

Read Full Review of Red Sparrow: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Feb 18 2013

Matthews’s exceptional first novel will please fans of classic spy fiction. In Moscow, CIA agent Nathaniel Nash is running the most valuable asset in the CIA’s stable, a major general in the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

Read Full Review of Red Sparrow: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on May 03 2013

Since Matthews is a 33-year CIA vet, the spycraft in his well-plotted debut has the scintillating whiff of authenticity. But he's given Dominika a version of synesthesia that lets her ''see'' emotions as colors...

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The Columbus Dispatch

Good
Reviewed by Julie Davis on Jun 02 2013

Nate and Dominika’s serpentine journey through classic spy landscape is fresh and gripping. The reader has a front seat to the painstaking art of mole detection and agent development...Excitement and tension build until a pulse-pounding finale.

Read Full Review of Red Sparrow: A Novel

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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