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About Robert Littell
Bestselling author Robert Littell has been ranked amongst John Le Carre and Graham Greene for his masterful spy fiction. A Newsweek journalist in a previous incarnation, Littell has been writing about the Soviet Union and Russians since his first novel, the espionage classic The Defection of A.J.Lewinter. Among his numerous critically acclaimed novels are The October Circle, Mother Russia, The Debriefing, The Sisters, The Revolutionist, The Once and Future Spy, An Agent in Place, The Visiting Professor, the New York Times bestselling The Company (adapted for a TNT mini-series), and Legends (winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Best Thriller of 2005) and For the Future of Israel, a book of conversations with Shimon Peres. Littell is an American who makes his home in France.
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Martin Odum is a onetime CIA field agent turned private detective in Brooklyn, struggling his way through a labyrinth of memories and past identities—“legends” in Agency parlance. But who is Martin Odum? Is he a creation of the Legend Committee at the CIA’s Langley headquarters? Is he suffering from multiple personality disorder, brainwashing, or simply exhaustion?
Widely considered one of the true grand masters of American spy fiction, Robert Littell shifts focus from the broad Cold War canvas of his international bestseller The Company to the life of a single CIA operative caught in a contradictory “wilderness of mirrors” in which remembering the past and forgetting it are both deadly options. From unforgettable opening to astonishing ending, Legends again proves Littell’s unparalleled prowess as a seductive storyteller.
“Littell provides plenty of inside intelligence info in his superb new thriller, but he adds a decidedly comic spin. . . . 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.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Now and then novels come along of such originality and power that they blow me away.... [Legends] makes it blazingly clear that Littell’s is one of the most talented, most original voices in American fiction today.” —The Washington Post
The New York Times bestselling spy novel The Company lays bare the history and inner workings of the CIA. This critically acclaimed blockbuster from internationally renowned novelist Robert Littell seamlessly weaves together history and fiction to create a multigenerational, wickedly nostalgic saga of the CIA—known as “the Company” to insiders. Racing across a landscape spanning the legendary Berlin Base of the ’50s, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Bay of Pigs, Afghanistan, and the Gorbachev putsch, The Company tells the thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an amoral, elusive, formidable enemy—and each other—in an internecine battle within the Company itself.
“Compulsive reading from start to finish.” —The Boston Globe
“Hugely entertaining . . . A serious look at how our nation exercises power. . . . Popular fiction at its finest.” —The Washington Post Book World
“As it happens, this longest spy novel ever written turns out to be one of the best.” —Chicago Tribune
“Reads like a breeze . . . guaranteed to suck you right back into the Alice-in-Wonderland world of spy vs. spy.” —Newsweek
“If Robert Littell didn’t invent the American spy novel, he should have.” —Tom Clancy
“It's gung-ho, hard-drinking, table-turning fun.” —Publishers Weekly
This thrilling historical saga follows two young men who, in 1917, leave the tenements of New York City for revolutionary Russia, while another heads toward Palestine. Covering decades of twists and turns in their lives and in the tumultuous history of the Soviet Union—as well as the dramatic event that will finally reunite these companions—The Revolutionist is “a sweeping and well-researched chronicle of a dream gone wrong” (Library Journal).
With the publication of his New York Times bestseller The Company, Robert Littell reestablished his position as one of the top writers of intelligent, ironic, and always entertaining espionage thrillers. After many years The Debriefing is finally available again as Overlook brings back Littell’s classics . . .
From the secret meeting rooms of Washington to the interrogation chambers of the KGB, The Debriefing is a novel of exquisite suspense and dazzlingly tense drama. Stone is the Head of an elite arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—and a master of the sophisticated art of debriefing. When Oleg Kulakov defects from Russia, handcuffed to a sealed diplomatic pouch, it’s Stone’s job to find out if he’s genuine. He uncovers Kulakov’s every secret, probes the darkest reaches of Kulakov’s heart, and penetrates Russia itself to learn the chilling truth—a truth that tears his own world apart.
“Elegant . . . works like a clock with three sticks of dynamite attached to it.” —The New York Times
“The Debriefing is beautifully plotted . . .with a clever, ironic twist at the end. . . . Littell’s craftsmanship shines through.” —Chicago Tribune
In March 1953, four women meet in Room 408 of Moscow’s deluxe Hotel Metropol. They have gathered to reminisce about Vladimir Mayakovsky, the poet who in death had become a national idol of Soviet Russia. In life, however, he was a much more complicated figure.
The ladies, each of whom could claim to have been a muse to the poet, loved or loathed Mayakovsky in the course of his life, and as they piece together their conflicting memories of him, a portrait of the artist as a young idealist emerges. From his early years as a leader of the Futurist movement to his work as a propagandist for the Revolution and on to the censorship battles that turned him against the state (and, more ominously, the state against him), their recollections reveal Mayakovsky as a passionate, complex, sexually obsessed creature trapped in the epicenter of history, struggling to hold onto his ideals in the face of a revolution betrayed.
Written by Robert Littell, whom The Washington Post called “one of the most talented, most original voices in American fiction today, period,” The Mayakovsky Tapes is an ambitious, impressive novel that brings to life the tumultuous Stalinist era and the predicament of the artists ensnared in it.
A.J. LeWinter is an American scientist, for years an insignificant cog in America’s complex defense machinery. While at an academic conference in Tokyo, LeWinter contacts the KGB station chief and says he wants to defect. He tantalizes the Russians with U.S. military secrets he claims to possess, but is his defection genuine? Neither the Russians nor the Americans are sure, and LeWinter is swept up in a terrifying political chess match of deceit and treachery. Deft and dazzlingly plotted, this is the book that introduced Robert Littell—the opening shot of a brilliant career.
“Concise, smart and funny, this novel turns Cold War spy clichés on their head…This book still packs a punch and seems prescient to boot. Those who only know Littell’s more recent works should enjoy this fast, fun trip into the past.” —Publishers Weekly
“Although the Cold War has passed, Littell’s novel remains instructive for a world where large agencies run rampant over individual liberties in the name of patriotism and homeland security.” —Foreword Reviews
Under the leadership of a visionary woman president of the United States, the global community brokers a major compromise between Israel and the Palestinian authority in the hopes of snuffing out the violent flash-point that fuels the flames of global terrorism. But then, Isaac Apfulbaum, a well-known fundamentalist rabbi, is taken hostage by Dr. al-Saath, a legendary Palestinian terrorist, who demands the release of several Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his captive.
As Israel coaxes Elihu—a former Mossad officer—out of retirement to hunt down the terrorist who motivated his final mission, al-Saath and Apfulbaum find themselves building an extraordinary relationship between hostage taker and hostage: parallels between these two battle-hardened partisans become the bonds that could lead to reconciliation. But the Mossad strike team is closing in . . .
Ferociously suspenseful and brilliantly topical, Vicious Circle is a thriller that, like The Company before it, breaks down an entire culture of violence into the corrupted consciences that embody it.
“Muscularly plotted suspense.” —The Washington Post
“A tale to hold its own with . . . John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl . . . and Robert Stone’s Damascus Gate.” —Booklist (starred review)
“[A] suspenseful and serious thriller.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Connoisseurs of the literary spy thriller rank Robert Littell up there with John le Carré, Graham Greene, and Alan Furst in the first tier of the genre’s pantheon. Set against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Prague, The October Circle is one of Littell’s most riveting early works.
“Littell is our best exponent of the real Realpolitikal thriller—this one taking place in Sofia in 1968, in a thin, gray ‘present ridiculous’ after the Russians impose their so-called peaceful counterrevolution on Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia . . . Littell has a graphic command of the ‘present ridiculous’ while lending here and there, through assorted characters, an inventive sense of the absurd—but then can we quite demarcate the absurd from the heroic? He’s also a fine ironist, with lines like ‘A Communist is someone who, when he smells roses, looks around for a coffin’ branded on the pages of his intensive, involving novel. Littell writes not only above the genre but beyond it—with smoke rings of conjecture and a striking show of courage.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Exotic setting, constantly surprising . . . and a clockwork plot.” —Newsweek
“Exciting . . . This author can tell a story!” —Chicago Daily News
Would Stalin and his merciless state security apparatus get wind of this brazenly insulting poem? Would the poet's body and spirit be crushed under the weight of the state if they did?
Narrated in turn by Mandelstam himself, his devoted wife, his great friends the poets Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova, along with vivid fictional characters, The Stalin Epigram is the page-turning tale of courage and the human spirit told in deftly poetic prose by a perceptive, talented writer. With the benefit of extraordinary research and an almost mystical empathy, bestselling author Robert Littell has drawn a fictional portrait of the beleaguered poet struggling to survive the running riot of Stalinist Russia in the 1930s. This memorable novel culminates in a wholly unexpected encounter that illuminates the agonizing choices Russian intellectuals faced during the Stalinist terror and explains what drew Robert Littell to the poignant subject in the first place.