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Starred Review. As in The Company (2002), a long and serious chronicle of the CIA, Littell provides plenty of inside intelligence info in his superb new thriller, but he adds a decidedly comic spin. A female CIA executive looks frighteningly like Fred Astaire, while a former top agent works as a PI out of a former pool parlor above a nondescript Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn. The detective's name seems to be Martin Odum, but "Fred Astaire" calls him Dante, and he also goes by Lincoln Dittmann, the name of a Civil War enthusiast whose cartons of memorabilia sit unopened in Martin's office. Is Martin Odum himself a "legend"—a fake identity dreamed up in the dark imagination of the CIA? Because he needs the work, Martin agrees to help an old Russian KGB agent find his Israeli daughter's husband and persuade the man to give her a "get"—a divorce decree required by religious law. The husband has been pretending he's Jewish to cover up his link to a Russian criminal called the Oligarkh. As the bodies of his friends and clients begin to pile up, Odum searches for answers about not only the missing husband but also himself. Wonderful writing and a great sense of fun make this another winner.
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What does a spy novel look like after the end of the Cold War? Littell provides quite an answer. A former Newsweek reporter, he has produced an entertaining romp through post-Soviet Russia. Reviewers found plenty to quibble with, most notably Littells surprisingly cliché-ridden prose. But in exposing the tensions of Russias transition to capitalism, Littell approached the genre with creativity. He doesnt overlook the War on Terror, either; Al Qaeda gets a walk on. The plot line of Odums struggle to figure out his true identity struck some readers as a bit forcedbut others thought it added depth, bringing rich layers of meaning to what otherwise might have been a stock genre piece.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
The main character and plot were complex but not as likable as Sean Bean's portrayal in the TV show.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
In the interest of full disclosure let me say that classic espionage stories such as the works of John LeCarre' have never appealed to me, the few I tried seemed slow and boring. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Colonel D
Intel's novel keeps you waiting breathlessly to learn whether Martin integrates his several legends as well as become able to get in touch enough with his emotions to fall in love... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent "spy" story.... Will read more of Mr. Littell's stories. Also love the TV series.Published 2 months ago by Robbie