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The Company: A Novel of the CIAby Robert Littell
Synopses & Reviews
The blockbuster spy epic of the decade from "the American John le Carré" (The New York Times).
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. A brilliant, stunningly conceived epic thriller, The Company confirms Littell's place among the genre's elite.
"Hugely entertaining....[A] serious look at how our nation exercises power....
"If le Carré is the Joyce of spy novelists, Littell is the Dickens....Littell finds evidence for both positions in an utterly captivating novel that is as disturbing as it is awash in every kind of ambiguity." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[G]enuinely wrenching. Littell skillfully casts these conflicts against epic moments...that are as surging as similar set pieces in Dr. Zhivago and Gone With the Wind....Accurate? Only CIA operatives know. Fascinating? Surprising? Suspenseful? Yes, yes, yes." Kirkus Reviews
"Reads like a breeze...guaranteed to suck you right back into the Alice-in-Wonderland world of spy vs. spy." Newsweek
"[An] impressive doorstopper of a book....It's gung-ho, hard-drinking, table-turning fun, even if a little old-fashioned...[that] brings back vividly a time when [the Russians] seemed a real threat." Publishers Weekly
"Compulsive reading from start to finish." Boston Globe
"As it happens, this longest spy novel ever written turns out to be one of the best." Chicago Tribune
"This fairy tale carries the reader through 45 years and three generations, and, true to the genre, ends with brave, noble heroes saving the day. The Brothers Grimm couldn't have done it better." New York Daily News
"Gathering its power slowly, the novel accelerates as events become more and more familiar and current. This is a work of fiction, yet its scholarship and analysis are outstanding. Littell avoids the didactic in favor of wit, irony, and ambiguity." Library Journal
"Charged with excitement, intrigue and high-voltage action, Littell has created one whale of a story." Clive Cussler, author of Raise the Titanic!
"An epic tale...peopled by heroes and villains who seem almost mythological in retrospect....Keeps you riveted to the page." Nelson Demille, author of The General's Daughter
"If Robert Littell didn't invent the spy novel, he should have." Tom Clancy, author of The Hunt for Red October
"Has everything you could want in a spy story...intrigue, action and suspense." Denver Post
The bestselling magnum opus of acclaimed espionage novelist Littell is a mesmerizing, dazzlingly plotted epic that tells the life and death struggle of two generations of CIA operatives during a long Cold War.
With a sharp eye for the pathos and absurdity of the Cold War, Robert Littell crafted his first novel, the now legendary spy thriller The Defection of A.J. Lewinter. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times called it "a perfect little gem, the best Cold War thriller I've read in years," and the praise kept coming with critics hailing Littell as "the American John le Carré" (New York Times) and raving that his books were "as good as thriller writing gets" (The Washington Post).
For his fourteenth novel, Robert Littell creates an engrossing, multigenerational, wickedly nostalgic yet utterly candid saga, bringing to life through a host of characters — historical and imagined — the over 40 years of the CIA — "the Company" to insiders. At the heart of the novel is a stunningly conceived mole hunt involving such rivals and allies as the MI6, KGB, and Mossad.
Racing across a canvas that spans the legendary Berlin Base in the 1950s — the front line of the simmering Cold War — to the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Bay of Pigs, the Afghan war, the Gorbachev putsch, and other major theatres of operation for the CIA, The Company tells a thrilling story of agents imprisoned in double lives, fighting an enemy that was amoral, elusive, formidable.
Littell tells it like it was: CIA agents, fighting not only the good fight, but sometimes the bad one as well. Littell also brilliantly lays bare the warring within the Company to add another dimension to the spy vs. spy game: the battles between the counterintelligence agents in Washington, like the utterly obsessive real-life mole hunter James Angleton, and the covert action boys in the field, like The Company's Harvey Torriti — the Sorcerer — a brilliant and brash rule breaker and dirty tricks expert who fights fire with fire, and his Apprentice, Jack McAuliffe, recruited fresh out of Yale, who learns tradecraft and the hard truths of life in the field.
As this dazzling anatomy of the CIA unfolds, nothing less than the world's future in the second half of the twentieth century is at stake. At once a celebration of a long Cold War well fought, an elegy for the end of an era, and a reckoning for a profession in which moral ambiguity created a wilderness of mirrors, The Company is the Cold War's devastating truth, its entertaining tale, its last word.
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. A brilliant, stunningly conceived epic thriller, The Company confirms Littell's place among the genre's elite.
View The Company TV tie-in page feature here.
About the Author
Connoisseurs of the literary spy thriller have elevated Robert Littell to the genre's highest ranks — along with John le Carré, Len Deighton, and Graham Greene. Littell's novels include The Defection of A.J. Lewinter, The Sisters, The Debriefing, The Amateur (which was made into a feature film), The Once and Future Spy, An Agent in Place, and Walking Back the Cat. His works have been published in 12 languages.
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