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Sentinel: A Spycatcher Novel Hardcover – August 7, 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“An in Spycatcher, Dunn’s action scenes are vividly drawn. Lovers of derring-do will love this series.” (Booklist on Sentinel)

“Dunn delivers insights into a world most of us will never experience—except between the covers of a book, or maybe someday in a movie as good as the best of the Bond and Bourne sagas.” (Oakland Tribune on Sentinel)

“Great talent, great imagination, and real been-there, done-that authenticity. . . Highly recommended.” (Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of The Affair)

“Dunn, a former M16 officer, fashions a Nietzschean hero who looks poised to give Lee Child’s Jack Reacher a run for his readers. . . . This is [a] twisty, cleverly crafted work.” (Kirkus Reviews on Spycatcher)

“Matthew Dunn is [a] very talented new author. I know of no other spy thriller that so successfully blends the fascinating nuances of the business of espionage and intelligence work with full-throttle suspense storytelling.” (Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of Carte Blanche)

“Terse conversations infused with subtle power plays, brutal encounters among allies with competing agendas, and forays into hostile territory orchestrated for clockwork efficiency but vulnerable to deadly missteps. . . . A stylish and assured debut.” (Washington Post on Spycatcher)

“[Dunn] has created a plot with plenty of action and lots of twists and turns . . . nonstop action and relentless danger.” (Associated Press on Spycatcher)

“Spycatcher makes a strong argument that it takes a real spy to write a truly authentic espionage novel . . . [The story] practically bursts at the seams with boots-on-the-ground insight and realism . . . Dunn is a gifted storyteller.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Spycatcher)

“Like le Carré and Fleming before him, [Dunn] is the real thing, a former member of SIS turned fictional chronicler of the secret world. . . . Meet Will Cochrane, a one-man weapon of mass destruction; 007 is a cocktail-sipping lush compared with Cochrane.” (The Telegraph (UK) on Spycatcher)

“A real spy proves he is a real writer—and a truly deft and inventive one. This is a stunning debut.” (Ted Bell, New York Times bestselling author of Phantom)

From the Back Cover

The United States and Russia are on the brink of war and only Will Cochrane—the master spy introduced in the critically acclaimed Spycatcher—can find and unmask the diabolical double agent responsible for it all in this enthralling espionage thriller, written by a real-life former field officer.

Fourteen days ago, CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, received a cryptic message from an agent operating deep undercover in Russia: "He has betrayed us and wants to go to war." Unable to make contact, the director of operations is forced to turn to one of his most deadly field officers—Will Cochrane. His mission is simple: infiltrate the remote submarine base in eastern Russia's Avacha Bay, locate the MI6 agent operating under the code name Svelte, and decode his message—or die trying.

It's a near-impossible task-even for a man who carries the code name Spartan, a title given to the most effective and deadliest Western intelligence officers. Will successfully locates the base but finds Svelte near death, his last words a final clue: Only Sentinel can stop him.

Meanwhile, political and economic tensions between the United States and Russia are rising by the day, with both sides rounding up known enemy sleeper agents within their borders for interrogation. Now it's up to Will—with the help of the top-secret joint CIA-MI6 Spartan Section—to uncover the true meaning of Svelte's message . . . and discover the identity of the legendary operative known only as Sentinel.


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Product Details

  • Series: Spycatcher (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780062037923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062037923
  • ASIN: 0062037927
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson VINE VOICE on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sentinel, a Spy Catcher novel by Matthew Dunn, doesn't offer anything new that audiences and readers have not seen in movies or in other novels of this genre. Of course, that in itself is not a condemnation since it is very difficult to find something new to offer plot-wise. You have a good guy, a bad guy and the bad guy has some nefarious design and the good guy has to stop him. The problem lies in the fact that Matthew Dunn doesn't say it as well as it's been said before by nearly everybody else I can think of.

You have to bow to his experience: he is former MI6 himself and with more than sufficient training to create a realistic and believable plot. The trouble is that his writing skills aren't up to the task of keeping pace with or doing just to that experience. The whole story seems amateurish, both in descriptions and - especially - in dialogue. The plot is also weak and not quite believable.

The protagonist is Will Cochrane, a special agent known as Spartan, supposedly the deadliest agent the West possesses, is sent into Russia in response to a cryptic message that says only, "He has betrayed us and wants to go to war." In Where Eagles Day Fashion, Cochrane has two bosses, one of whom is named Alistair (as in Alistair MacLean, the author of Where Eagles Dare). This fact-finding mission unleashes a chain of events that escalates with every encounter. This is a good thing in fiction, this sense of escalation and rising stakes, but for one problem.

And here I must issue a spoiler alert. If you don't wish to know anymore, or you like to waste your money on subpar thrillers, stop here. But I will say I told you so up front.

Cochrane comes across as a cross between Jason Bourne (his ruthless training is very similar) and Jack Bauer.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm so far enjoying this series, the adventure of Will Cochrane, code-named Spartan, a highly-trained MI6 agent who operates as a virtual lone wolf.

In this episode Cochrane meets his predecessor, code-named Sentinel, now managing a network of high-level Russian spies. But spies are being killed off one by one. And meanwhile, Russian nationalists are trying to trigger war, which they can then use to consolidate power at home.

Cochrane finds himself up against a Russian commando as formidable and resourceful as he is. Meanwhile, as he works with Sentinel to catch their adversary, he must contemplate the loneliness of the superspy's life he has chosen. The Sentinel has made that choice and is a living example of what might happen if he stays on his current career path.

I'm of two minds about the trend toward introspective spies. At one point in time, this was more about espionage knights questioning whether the West was worth risking one's life for, and whether Communism was really that bad. Writers, and former agents, like John Le Carre and Graham Greene went there. There is also, of course, the typical British spy novel involving a middle-aged protagonist with a divorce and a drinking problem. There's a certain realism to that.

Nowadays, though, it's more about establishing the protagonist as a New Age sensitive guy. This in turn is probably fed by a desire to make them, and their stories, more attractive to female readers, who drive book sales as an overwhelming majority of the book-buying public. (All those book clubs.) Male readers are happy enough with a James Bond type spy: Cool in battle, hot with the ladies, using great gadgets and having no worries. And, OK, if he occasionally is a little more three-dimensional, that's not terrible either.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found SENTINEL: A SPYCATCHER NOVEL to be more of a chore than anything. While the plot, in the context of the book makes sense (sort of!), I found it mostly illogical from a real world standard--as in "who in their right mind would make something so simple be so complicated?" If this is the way real world secret-agents work their devious plots, it's no wonder they never get anything accomplished! At one point, Will, the main character, decides to wire himself and his female russian agent friend for communication WHILE they're driving down the road tailing one of the bad guys! If you knew you were setting out for a multi-person tail of a suspect, wouldn't you KNOW you might want to communicate with each other BEFOREHAND and do that before you left the hotel? EGAD!

Now, in fairness, I can enjoy a story that doesn't make a whole lot of real world sense, but unfortunately, SENTINEL was saddled with way too detailed, way too formal and way too wooden dialogue. I found it so bothersome that I was never able to get involved with the book. It became a chore to force myself to continue reading as I counted how many pages to go. All the action and excitement was sucked right out of the plot by the ridiculously formal and detailed dialogue.

If you were chasing the bad guy in a car, would you say "go faster, don't lose him!" or would you say "accelerate our vehicle to 120MPH and maintain our following distance of the car we are chasing at 125 feet so that we can keep the car we are following within our visual radius!" (NOT an actual quote from the book, but a generalized idea of the type of dialogue you'll find.) If you like the latter, then you'd probably like this book. If not, I'd say look elsewhere for some entertainment.

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