The third and final installment of Matthews’ (Palace of Treason, 2015, etc.) Red Sparrow series delivers a wallop on all fronts, from adrenaline-charged action to dark political intrigue to gripping emotional stakes.
Former sparrow Dominika Egorova is back. Trained to sexually entrap promising targets to spy on behalf of Russia, Dominika has risen to the rank of colonel in the counterintelligence section of the SVR, the external Russian foreign intelligence service. But back in 2005, before she evolved into a rising star in the Soviet spy agency—and a double agent, feeding information to the CIA—Dominika sexually compromised a U.S. Navy lieutenant named Audrey Rowland, never anticipating that their encounter would one day spark a lethal chain of events. Hating her role as SVR seductress, Dominika embraced her new secret identity as DIVA, one of the CIA’s premiere foreign assets. As Audrey, entrenched in her position as a Russian mole, courts a North Korean scientist willing to hand over secrets about the country’s arsenal, she passes the U.S.’s most sensitive weapons technology to Moscow. The Kremlin, eager to take advantage of Audrey’s position, hatches a risky plot to assassinate the CIA director and replace him with now-Vice Adm. Audrey Rowland. The American traitor operates under the code name MAGNIT, her identity as tightly guarded as that of her counterpart. Dominika and her lover, CIA operative Nate Nash, must put their relationship on the back burner to uncover MAGNIT’s identity or risk DIVA’s exposure. The novel is rich in spycraft that treats readers like insiders, with witty, memorable dialogue and emotional consequences that go far beyond most books in this genre—and Matthews stuffs his always hungry characters with onions, garlic, and personalities that make the last of this trilogy both satisfying and bittersweet.
Readers will finish the book, but their memories of Matthews' brilliant and fearless heroine will linger well past the final page.