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Extended Audio Sample All the Old Knives: A Novel, by Olen Steinhauer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Olen Steinhauer Narrator: Ari Fliakos, Juliana Francis-Kelly, Juliana Farncis Kelly Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA’s Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: had their agent been compromised?

Two of the CIA’s case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she’d had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time—to relive the past or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight’s dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

All the Old Knives is New York Times bestseller Olen Steinhauer’s most intimate, most cerebral, and most shocking novel to date.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sneaky little gem…Steinhauer sustains the difficult balancing act of melding a heart-racing espionage plot with a credible dinner table conversation.”

    New York Times

  • “A splendid tour de force…without neglecting the turmoil of the geopolitical landscape, the novel focuses more intensely on the equally treacherous landscapes of the human heart.”

    Washington Post

  • “It’s not news that Olen Steinhauer is among the best contemporary espionage writers, and All the Old Knives confirms it. If you’re a fan of intelligent spy novels that don’t need much bang-bang, details about ordnance, or people who save the world singlehandedly, this one’s for you.”

    Seattle Times

  • All the Old Knives has a disarmingly quiet start, but good spy novels are like good spies: they draw you in, earn your trust, and then grab hold with both hands…By the last one hundred pages Steinhauer’s hook is firmly embedded and it’s hard not to race to the finish. And the ending? I can sum it up in one word—brilliant.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Most of All the Old Knives revolves around Pelham and Favreau’s dinner, and the fact that the book moves so swiftly and alluringly is a testament to Steinhauer’s skills as an entertainer. He stretches considerable tension across an entire book, rather than a handful of swift scenes, and it’s gratifying to watch him do something so daringly retro and contrary to what we’ve come to expect in a thriller.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “Terrific standalone thriller…There’s great narrative energy in the thrust and counterthrust of the dinner conversation, as well as in the re-creation of the Viennese events; Steinhauer is a very fine writer and an excellent observer of human nature, shrewd about the pleasures and perils of spying.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The stakes are high and the tension unrelenting in Steinhauer’s top-notch standalone spy novel, perfect for fans of Homeland.”

    BookPage, Top Pick

  • “This genre-bending spy novel takes Hitchcockian suspense to new heights…Readers drawn to the story of a loving couple trapped in a terrible embrace will be thrilled to follow Henry and Celia’s tortured pas de deux.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Masterfully plotted and suspenseful…It’s an understatement to say that nothing is as it seems, but even readers well-versed in espionage fiction will be pleasantly surprised by Steinhauer’s plot twists and double backs.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A compelling spy story that…delivers intrigue, suspense, and a heart-stopping finale. In his acknowledgments, Steinhauer tells us he wrote it in one month. You’ll devour it in one night.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Narrators Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly serve up a meaty meal of sexual tension and regret as they portray former lovers and CIA agents…Fliakos uses a dry, world-weary delivery while Kelly adopts a snide tone that reflects her new life outside the world of espionage. The poignant regressions delivered with aplomb by Fliakos and Kelly allow the story to unfold from the points of view of the characters and reflect their intelligence and expertise, as well as the stress of the protecting American interests in the necessary job of spycraft.”


  • A BookPage Top Pick for March 2015 in Mystery
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2015
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
  • A 2016 Winner for theALA Listen List for Outstanding Audiobook Narration
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