The Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow Trilogy 1)


The Red Sparrow was published on 16 January 2014 by Simon and Schuster UK and is available to buy here


A Russian honey trap agent targets a young CIA operative to uncover a senior-ranking mole at the heart of the Russian Intelligence service.

Dominika Egorov, former prima ballerina, is sucked into the heart of Putin’s Russia, the country she loved, and spat out as the twists and turns of betrayal and counter-betrayal unravel.

American Nate Nash, idealistic and ambitious, handles the double agent, codenamed MARBLE, considered one of CIA’s biggest assets. He needs to keep his identity secret for as long as the mole can keep supplying golden information.

Will Dominika be able to unmask MARBLE, or will the mission see her faith destroyed in the country she has always passionately defended?

My thoughts

I hardly know where to start with the Red Sparrow Trilogy. I am still in shock. I am totally in awe. This week, I have read all three books and have fallen in love with Dominika and Nate. This is such a powerful and gripping spy trilogy. Soon everyone will recognise the name. The first book has been made into a movie, which will be out in the cinemas in 2018. We get to see the world of espionage, the danger and the excitement, all with a modern day twist. It oozes with authenticity, due to the author’s background in the CIA. In the first book, Red Sparrow, the scene is set, the protagonists introduced and the twisted action begins.

I must admit that I hadn’t reflected much on the Cold War. Like most people, I assumed it was over. Jason Matthews reminds us that there is a new Cold War going on. The terms may have subtly changed, but Russia and its figurehead in Putin are still in business playing the game. It is still all about power play and recruiting assets to uncover what the other side is doing. Technology has made this even more intense. As the books progress, we see the nature of Russia with its extremes in poverty and rich, corrupt government officials together with high profile villains. I am pretty sure these books will be banned in Russia, with their anti Putin stance. At times, this felt like a piece of American propaganda, without the nuances. The author could have worked a little harder to blur the black and white dichotomy. After all, both sides will do anything to get to their goals.

Red Sparrow introduces Dominika and Nate, the CIA asset and her handler. Dominika has the most intriguing background, moving from ballerina to Sparrow to US asset. She is a gutsy brave woman, whose vibrancy and intelligence leap off the page. Dominika was a talented ballerina, who lost her career due to injury. She also has the most peculiar gift of being able to read moods and people by colour. She has synesthesia. She is left without an income and is forced to train as a Sparrow, by her uncle. Sparrows are trained in sexual espionage, to seduce and entrap male and female victims. They ensure assets cannot wriggle out of agreements to spy.

Nate, also known as Nathaniel Nash, works for the CIA. He is down to earth and solid. We first meet him in Russia, where his ability to speak fluent Russian and keep calm in a crisis is put to the test. In Russia, things go terribly wrong for Nash and MARBLE, his VIP asset. Nate ends up working in Helsinki with a stain on his perfect record. This puts Nate in the path of the Sparrow, Dominika. The Russians want to compromise Nate. Dominika and Nate meet, with Dominika trying to weave a Sparrow sexual spell over Nash. Things do not go to plan. The pair find they like each other. Sparks fly. They cannot help themselves. They break the rules. They have sex. They fall in love. And Nate recruits Dominika for the US, code name DIVA.

The rest of the book sees DIVA settle into her role, as the perfect modern spy. We follow the hunt for the mole in Washington and the escalating drama with Marble, the CIA asset in Russia. Double agents are everywhere. There is a fabulous climate of distrust and edgy uncertainty. We see the camaraderie in the CIA camp with Nate, Gable and Forsyth, which is rather sweet. There are plenty of thrilling and heart stopping moments, where we fear for Dominika and Nate. The pace is terrific and the action spot on. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t even mind the food recipes at the end of each chapter. They made me feel hungry.

Fans of spy thriller should not miss this trilogy. The Red Sparrow is simply the best, combining intrigue with romance! Go and feast yourselves on one superb read.






About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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3 Responses to The Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow Trilogy 1)

  1. Pingback: The Palace of Treason – Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow 2) | #northern #crime

  2. Pingback: The Kremlin’s Candidate – Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow Trilogy 3) | #northern #crime

  3. Awesome review! This one sounds intriguing and I like books that make you re-evaluate real life occurrences.

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