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The Soul of Viktor Tronko Mass Market Paperback – December 3, 1988


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell (December 3, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440201772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440201779
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,257,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Peacefully engrossed in writing a biography of a termite collector, Kessler gets a surprise visit from an old friend. Mel is a one-time CIA agent now ready to reveal an espionage event that occurred two decades earlier. When Mel is murdered, Kessler is seduced by the whiff of a really big story. He pursues the leads that suggest one Victor Tronko was a fake defector let loose to mask the presence of a KGB mole in the CIA's highest levels. When Kessker dislodges the wasps' nest, retribution strikes. Sinuously intricate and compellingly realistic, this cloak-and-dagger caper will be as well received as The Zolta Configuration. While most thrillers let the reader bob like a cork on the surface, this author's knack is to draw down a reader's full attention with complicated dialogue, shifts in narrative, and intense activity. Barbara Conaty, Medical Coll. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Quammen is the author of a dozen fiction and nonfiction books, including Blood Line and The Song of the Dodo. Spillover, his most recent book, was shortlisted for several major awards. A three-time National Magazine Award winner, he is a contributing writer for National Geographic and has written also for Harper’s, Outside, Esquire, The Atlantic, Powder, and Rolling Stone. He travels widely on assignment, usually to jungles, mountains, remote islands, and swamps.

Nancy Pearl is a librarian and lifelong reader. She regularly comments on books on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Her books include 2003’s Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason, 2005’s More Book Lust: 1,000 New Reading Recommendations for Every Mood, Moment and Reason; Book Crush: For Kids and Teens: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest, published in 2007, and 2010’s Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers. Among her many awards and honors are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association; the 2010 Margaret E. Monroe Award from the Reference and Users Services Association of the American Library Association; and the 2004 Women's National Book Association Award, given to "a living American woman who …has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation."

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Burger on July 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book several years ago. One of the better, more cerebral espionage books I've ever read. Been trying to find his other spy book (i.e., "Zolta"), but its out of print. Too bad the author does not appear to be writing this type of fiction anymore--while his nature stuff is good, I'd love to see him fill the void left by Adam Hall.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Claude Lambert on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a more complex spy novel than Le Carre can write, you got to read this. It is excellent, but it needs smart and patient readers to keep up with tiny bits of information lost in a lot of disinformation. The hero is a journalist who tries to get to the truth by interviewing retired CIA agents. The agents talk because they are bitter and unsatisfied, so their reports are tainted. Therefore it is impossible to decide if Viktor Tronko is a Russian defector or a double agent. The journalist is attracted to the case by the tantalizing promise that there is or might be a link between Tronko and the Kennedy assassination, or between Tronko and a traitor within the CIA.
The reading is made more light by the desire of the journalist to go back to his real love: natural history (as Quammen himself did). The real life naturalist Eugene Marais plays a role too, as his work was stolen by the poet Maurice Maeterlinck, another (real) case of lie and disinformation!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's a spy-thriller type book, the story of a journalist who starts rooting around in CIA affairs, trying to find the truth about a man named Viktor Tronko. Tronko was a Soviet, who may have been a defector, or maybe a ruse; in any case he told the Americans some pretty important information. If they believe it. The novel swarms with characters, all of them realistic and lifelike, all imaginative. Although the facts and people become confusing after awhile, the end is very satisfying and definately worth reading to. It's also amusing that Quammen wrote a novel wherein the main character is a middle-aged journalist who enjoys writing about nature (and through that about people) and has a fetish for Eugene Marais. The writing is very good, the story although confusing is interesting.
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By DEM on December 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The negative reviews on this book I read were likely written by readers more comfortable with James Patterson or a Marvel comic book. Ignore them. This book is sheer genius and I take my hat off to the author. It is a cerebral recounting of actual events, only moderately fictionalized. I can't say enough positive things about the author but have to ask why he stopped writing fiction?
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Format: MP3 CD
Excellent thoughtful spy thriller in the Le-Carre' tradition. Seems a lot more realistic than most other example of the genre.If you want car chases and heroic men fighting evil along clearly defined lines, go somewhere else. But if you want to be drawn into a world where everybody is lying and telling the truth and sometimes both at the same time, this is the book for you.
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By Amazon Customer on October 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to consult the dictionary more on this book than any other. I however like that as it broadens my vocabulary. I found the end a little confusing however. Reads like non-fiction. I enjoyed the book over all
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By brian b lucas on November 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
if you love le carre ....you will love this........I promise......I have read everything le carre has ever written..... in my opinion.here is a spy story right up there to the masters standard
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Takes you straight into the world of double and triple think. Gives us a sense of how an intelligence agency can cannibalize itself.
A true "action" story
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