Verdict:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Author: Antonio Mendez
Publish Date: 25 October 2012
Genre: spy, thriller, non-fiction, true crime, politics
Source: Spinebreakers (Penguin), finished copy
Me and spy stories never usually mix. I always expect a complicated plot which is focused on action, i.e. not my kind of genre. Thus: I try to stay as far away from them as possible, for example, I have never seen a 007 film in all my life. Continue reading
By merely reading the first chapter of Red Sparrow it makes sense that debuting author, Jason Matthews, is a former CIA operative. He tells Red Sparrow with such knowledgeable detail and insight that it results in an extremely realistic reading of what the ordinary public can only believe is normal in the spy world.
The only other past action I have had in the spy genre is through reading ARGO by another CIA technical operations officer, Tony Mendez. I seem to have been lucky at choosing the right spy books to read as Red Sparrow has also been involved in a thrilling film rights deal with 20th Century Fox winning the battle.
Dominika Egorova has recently completed Sparrow School, where the Russian Secret Service train woman to seduce men to discover their political secrets. American CIA agent, Nate Nash, is in Moscow with America’s top secret mole who is a Russian General. Dominika’s first mission is to seduce Nate to unveil who his Russian contact is. As both characters think within a chessboard mind-set, this doubtfully triggers a romantic relationship between the two spies.
Despite the book not being quick paced, this doesn’t make it any less of an interesting thrilling read and instead adds to its authentic nature. At times it feels like you are swamped with spy talk and this can become difficult to understand. But remaining focused is worthwhile as learning spy jingo can be an impressive introduction at dinner parties.
Red Sparrow is very clever at opening our eyes to the conflict and conspiracies that take place right under our nose. It makes you wonder if this world we are reading is remotely fiction or if it is inspired by real events.
What is quite amusing is that each chapter finishes with a recipe; bringing an entire different meaning to dishing up trouble.