A sexy Russian spy trained in the fine art of seduction and recruited as an American double agent helps set up a double-cross that could pit Russia against Iran in this blockbuster by former CIA operative Matthews.
Capt. Dominika Egorova, an agent of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, is spying for the U.S. A synesthete who can tell what’s in a person’s heart and mind by his or her aura, Dominika graduated from Sparrow School, where she learned how to seduce secrets from powerful people. Now she’s being drawn into President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, and Marty Gable, a deputy CIA station chief, and Nate Nash, Dominika’s handler and lover, are looking to exploit that connection. At the same time, Nate’s also working with a new mole, disillusioned Lt. Gen. Mikhail Solovyov. When Nate reconnects with Dominika in Vienna to elicit important intelligence from Persian nuclear scientist Dr. Parvis Jamshidi and attempt to throw a kink in Iran’s bomb-building efforts, Dominika’s loathsome boss, Alexei Zyuganov, decides to have her killed. Soon, another mole comes into play, this time in the U.S. government, and both Dominika and the general find their lives on the line. Matthews' vast experience working in the shadowy world of espionage and spycraft lends an authenticity to his story that few can equal. And it doesn’t hurt that he can write. There’s plenty of action and many taut moments, but readers shouldn’t open a Matthews book expecting James Bond. While Ian Fleming’s work had a bit of a campy feel to it, Matthews doesn’t take that approach; his spies are grittier and more human, more like those of John le Carré, and his knowledge of the inner workings of that world adds authenticity that other current writers simply can't approach.
Although Matthews’ technique of using food as a running theme (complete with recipes) doesn’t always work, this is another must-read for fans of the spy genre.