Red Sparrow: A Novel by Jason Matthews
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Red Sparrow: a novel audiobook by Jason Mathews develop in Putin’s actual Russia, where a former prima ballerina, Dominika Ergorova, suffers an attack from a company partner that ends up her career forever. Blinded by rage, she takes revenge from the man and finds herself facing bankruptcy and poverty. To save her ill mother from poverty and a most certain painful dead, she starts training to be a Russian spy unwillingly, dragged by her uncle as her only option.
Thanks to her special skills to see colors in people’s characteristics and attitudes, she outstands and sent to train as a Sparrow spy. Sparrows are secret spies from the Soviet Nation that learn to seduce people from the opposite sex to extract information or perform missions involving sex. Ergorova’s first mission didn’t turn out so well and, even though she manages the situation, she starts feeling hate towards the people she’s working for.
Later on her career, she’s assigned to seduce a CIA agent, Nathaniel Nash, who leads the most important penetration movement in Russia. Both are trained in their own methods and schools. Trapped in a whirlwind of tradecraft, sex, murder, and secrecy the two young spies end up falling in love, against their training.
In that point, Ergorova decides to quench her thirst for revenge against their leaders and gets recruited in the CIA, starting a double life as an agent in the U.S.A. There, she hunts down a high-level traitor in Washington, consecrating herself as a double-agent and going back to Russia to become the last generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service.
After every chapter, he introduces food recipes that will guide the plot and directly participate in with characters and storylines. Finally, the outline ends up in a deadly and shocking finale.
Written by a former CIA agent, “Red Sparrow: a novel” by Jason Mathews gets in and out from the spies’ reality with an atmosphere that undertakes all the dangers of this kind of life.
Many say that it’s probably the most realistic spies story written, but it’s important to remember that the audiobook also may respond to the vision of its writer. Taking into consideration that he was, as mentioned, a CIA agent, the influence of those visions can also be heavily conditioned.
Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that the thrilling audiobook is charged with realistic descriptions of the darkest side of espionage, charged with an authenticity. The combination of these experiences with a character development that is incredibly rich, believable and full of very humane features will hook the readers. Once they are hooked, the swirl of action, extreme emotions, sex, and suspense will simply keep them to the verge of their seats.
Finally, unlike many other spy novels that rely only on the action and lack dedication in the rhythm or narrative, Matthews shows off a much-trained hand. This way, he braids a psychological spider web that far from weakening the story, makes it dense and yet breathtaking until the very end. This is particularly interesting as Res Sparrow is his first novel, but wouldn’t be unexpected due to his experience in the operative section of the Agency.
Is the movie faithful to the audiobook?
No, the movie is not exactly faithful to the book; they cut out a lot of important things and show Dominika at first as a kind of a prude girl that turns into a strong female due to the Sparrow school, while in the book she’s already a strong character.
Does the audiobook include real stories?
The author affirmed in an interview given to the publishers weekly in 2013 that there was a time where a real Red Sparrow school worked in Kazan. He also said that, even though he doesn’t know if it still runs as a program, he believes “honey traps” still exist.