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Red Sparrow

Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
Series: The Red Sparrow Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (828 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Russian honey trap agent targets a young CIA operative to uncover a senior-ranking mole at the heart of the Russian Intelligence service.

Dominika Egorov, former prima ballerina, is sucked into the heart of Putin's Russia, the country she loved, and spat out as the twists and turns of betrayal and counter-betrayal unravel. American Nate Nash, idealistic and ambitious, handles the double agent, codenamed MARBLE, considered one of CIA's biggest assets. He needs to keep his identity secret for as long as the mole can keep supplying golden information. Will Dominika be able to unmask MARBLE, or will the mission see her faith destroyed in the country she has always passionately defended?

Jason Matthews retired after 33 years in the CIA's Directorate of Operations as a clandestine operations officer and senior manager. Matthews lives with his wife Suzanne, herself a retired 34-year veteran of the CIA, in Rancho Mirage, California. Treason is his first novel.

©2013 Jason Matthews (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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 DeMill)
"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 11 and woke up at 5 am to finish this book in three days. If it doesn't supplant The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as the next mammoth read, and 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 have not read a more exciting, gripping novel in a long time." (Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good story rather degraded by US bias

The story goes along at a good pace and is well read.If you can suspend disbelief about how ugly,fat and awful the Russians are and how nice the CIA is, it is a pretty good read.I doubt the ability to read the colour aura of the characters helps credibility of the whole.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Fer
  • 03-04-2018

The narrator was lifeless

The narrator has such a monotonous voice! Although I liked that he didn't try to make voices for the characters, especially the female, it was all just so one tone, the suspense of the story was lost. The story was alright, interesting, well thought out and kept you reading on. Maybe i'd recommend reading it in digital or physical book rather than snoozing through this guy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed this book

I enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see the film,
Looking forward in reading the two follow up books in this series

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Action-packed!

This was a fun book. It gave some interesting insights into the history of the relationship between Russia and the US, and into how intelligence operations with from an author who apparently worked for the CIA! I found some aspects of the characters a bit unbelievable (even for a spy novel!) and some of the twists predicable, but overall I still really enjoyed the book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Spying at its best.

If you enjoy the intricacies of street craft, black ops and a fast moving exhilarating story, this is for you.
You can feel the cold, the dark and feel the eyes.
A great story to the last page.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

reasonable story line

The story line was reasonable. The recipes at the end of each chapter detracted from the story. over the book was ok not great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Story was ok

I found some parts a bit boring this is the 1st in a trilogy I dont think I'll bother reading any more from this series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enthralling

This is a great spy thriller.

The narration is a little deadpan, but once you get into it it’s hard to imagine it being any better.

Highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Could not top listening.

Brilliant. Got next book immediately. Then the 3rd. Had me hook line and sinker. Hope there is a 4th coming soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable, great story.

Great read (listen) with some quality narration. Excellent name pronunciation and seamless performance. Love the story, fantastic idea having a featured recipe at the end of every chapter- made me damn hungry, though!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth
  • 28-08-2017

Way too good

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I could not stop reading it. Did no work 'till it was finished.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, really engaging and readable with plenty of suspense

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-2018

Terrible Pronunciation- Great Story

I loved this story but the pronunciation of Russian terms really put me off. It would have required a tiny bit of practice to make it so much less painful to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marisia Robus
  • 24-03-2018

I couldn't stop listening!

An exceptional story line, twists and turns that I did not see coming! The characters were developed excellent and I was floored when I found out who Marble was!
I lived each moment with her and Nath and the end broke my heart!
Can;t wait to read the next one!
Well done Jason Matthews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christian Steinmann
  • 13-06-2019

Amazing.... Hits all the correct areas

This was an amazing experience for me, I'm scared that the second might only let me down.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Danni Higgins
  • 14-01-2019

The most boring book I’ve ever listened to!

This book has a pathetically boring story line and is extremely long and drawn out.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Penney
  • 05-12-2018

I am hooked!

Damn now I need to read the next book. So enjoyed the descriptive writing. Excellent.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ong
  • 03-11-2018

A Possible Insider Perspective of Putin's Russia

A well crafted story that is also well written. It can give us an insider's perspective of Russia today.
Prefer the ending in the movie version with a poetic justice.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-08-2018

Excellent story

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story line was gripping and the reader was fantastic. The only negative for me was the blasphemy by the CIA agents. I cringed every time I heard it and found it completely unnecessary.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 21-07-2018

One of the best thrillers I have read in ages !

This book was an excellent combination of well researched fact and fiction. So gripping I could barely stop listening! It is the best book of its genre that I have enjoyed in a long while. I can’t wait to dive into the second in the trilogy x

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  • Safjoe
  • 01-07-2018

Sublime story craft

I watched the film and was drawn to read the book. The detail, the oppulent dance with words, the peril as described...and the recipes. I am looking forward to book 2 in the trilogy.

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  • Eddie
  • 13-03-2018

Thought I had strayed into a cookery book

If you could sum up Red Sparrow in three words, what would they be?

Forsyth meets LeCarre

Any additional comments?

An enjoyable spy thriller in modern Russia. Look forward to the other two books in the series. Bit baffled as to why the author insists on giving our food menues at the end of each chapter.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 30-08-2013

The Dan Brown of spy fiction?

What disappointed you about Red Sparrow?

An unbelievable story filled with cliches and stereotypes - Russia bad: USA good - is it really that simple?

What could Jason Matthews have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Have a credible plot and at least some characters you can believe in.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Story was well-read - but the narrator didn't have much to work with.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Red Sparrow?

Cut out all the sex scenes - they were woeful.

Any additional comments?

I'd like to know how books as weak as this get published?

55 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr Caterpillar
  • 07-02-2018

Not good story telling

Some years ago I read an author's guide to police procedure. It was written by an experienced police officer who was an articulate writer but by his own admission did not have what it takes to be a writer of crime fiction.
I feel something similar is going on here. Jason Matthews worked for the CIA for 33 years, so he obviously knows his onions (see end of review) but I don't think he's a thriller writer. I say this knowing there were plenty five star reviews but I wonder if the reviewers are so steeped in the genre that they know how to fill in the gaps. For my own part, there was nothing to get a handle on. The characters were just names, the romance was meh, and what little action there was just failed to engage.
Then there were the recipes. To coin an expression, "It was funny the first time... except it wasn't." Every chapter has a cooking scene shoehorned in, and after a while you start to spot them, and they are flipping annoying.
The most pleasure I got from this book was watching the time count down.


Ainsley Harriott French Onion Soup. Empty sachet into cup. Add boiling water and stir.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • 26-01-2019

A recipe for disaster...

...sorry.

Don’t get me wrong, the story and narrator are great, but what the hell is the deal with the recipes?!?

Initially, they just seem odd... but eventually they become *really* annoying... especially after a really violent confrontation - then a recipe? Why? Who is going to make any of them?!?

I guess it’s bad enough they were in the book, but at least then you could have skipped them. In audiobook form they are just a really terrible joke and actually detract from the enjoyment of the story as a whole.. which is a shame because it’s good (and different to the film). The atmosphere is tense, though I occasionally lost track of who was doing a particular thing because of all the Russian... but still entertaining!

Did I mention that I hated the recipes!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • J. M. Craig
  • 04-04-2016

Spy Story or Cookery Book

Jason Matthews can't seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to write a spy novel or a cookery book. The constant recipes and details of meals is very annoying

40 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Youngstuts
  • 23-07-2013

Excellent spy thriller with taste...

Red Sparrow is a first class spy thriller with excellent narration. I will not comment on the storyline but leave it to other listeners to enjoy. This book has the unique addition of a recipe at the end of every chapter. Each chapter has some reference to food and to be given the recipe is a very nice twist. There are 40 chapters...........

I am looking forward to the next book by Jason Mathews and, hopefully, narrated by Jeremy Bobb.

Highly recommended.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • P.G.
  • 09-07-2013

It's what it says on the cover an excellant yarn

What made the experience of listening to Red Sparrow the most enjoyable?

The cast of characters, although somewhat predictiable make the novel an excellent listen. The well written and complext story is well composed and the reciep touch excellent in places, although some of the later ones seem a little insider and incomplete. I can recognise several of the recipes from visits to Russia'

Who was your favorite character and why?

Uncle Vanya, as the self obvsessed beaurocratic monster.

Have you listened to any of Jeremy Bobb’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not heard him elsewhere, but some of his ponunciations seem like my spelling unusual.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The spies who kept warm

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ivan
  • 19-06-2013

Great spy thriller, ah those Russians....

Where does Red Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 70%

Who was your favorite character and why?

Russian girl spy

Any additional comments?

A bit too propagandist,with Russians the baddies and Americans as the good guys. But a good thriller nevertheless

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-2019

Great story in a modern time

Loved this but at times seemed to go on for every. Recipes broke up the story and left me hungry lol

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-2019

A good plot in principle

An enjoyable listen, well read and presented, with with a ‘good in principle’ plot. Reasonable characterisation, but it just didn’t quite engage in the way some of the more classic spy stories available on audible do. Just my view, others may love it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful