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Extended Audio Sample Black Ops Audiobook, by W. E. B. Griffin Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,697 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: W. E. B. Griffin Narrator: Dick Hill Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Presidential Agent Novels Release Date: December 2008 ISBN: 9781440679360
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The Russian bear is stirring—and it’s hungry—in the #1 New York Times bestselling series’ thrilling fifth novel.

The first disturbing reports reached Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo in the form of backchannel messages concerning covert US intelligence assets working for a variety of agencies suddenly gone missing and then, suddenly, inexplicably, found dying. Or dead. One in Budapest, Hungary. One in Kiev, Ukraine. One in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, mere klicks from the Iran border. And then one in Virginia, along the Potomac River, practically in the shadow of CIA headquarters.

Castillo finds the information both infuriating and fascinating, particularly after a recent experience with two CIA traitors whose own deaths were swift and suspicious. Despite there being some similarities, though, he thinks there’s something different with these new cases, something he can’t quite put his finger on. At first, it’s an idle thought, but Castillo expects it’s only a matter of time before the commander in chief assigns him and his group of troubleshooters in the innocuously named Office of Organizational Analysis to look into the deaths while all those intel agencies fight among themselves trying to put the pieces together. 

Meanwhile, Castillo has problems of his own—fallout from recent missions involving a clandestine rescue of a DEA agent from South American drug runners, and the confiscation of some fifty million dollars from thieves in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. He’s made more than a few enemies, he know—both foreign and domestic. And then comes another back-channel message, this one delivered personally by his lethal friend, the Russian mobster arms dealer. All that has happened so far, he says, is just a warm-up for what’s about to come out of the Kremlin. 

Could sabers be rattling for a new Cold War? Or worse? Presidential Agent C. G. Castillo is about to find out. Filled with Griffin’s trademark rich characters and cutting-edge drama, this is another exceptional novel in an exceptional series.

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jerome | 2/18/2014

    " Please do not consider this an action story. 99% of action is in the opening scenes, which does initiate the tale with some dynamic, and then goes south fast. The vast majority of pages are either description of what happened in the past to some one or some situation. So by the end you have a book full of background and enough story to barely fill 10 - 20 pages AT BEST. It's more like a male soap opera and it is certainly not an action story. The history mentioned by another reviewer is Castillo's new squeeze recanting some story about the descendants through the centuries and their humble role today. It was actually barely a page and a half, including the filler dialogue that dominates this hardcover specimen. 100% Honest statement: At the half way point, I stopped reading the book in sessions, and saved it at bedside for when middle-of-the night insomnia struck, and for this the book was effective. So I may just buy another of this ilk as it is proving it's reliability as a non-pharma sedative. Even where Castillo appears to think with his unit (take it both ways) is blandly described. The ending is perfunctory at best. There is zero suspense in this book. Persons being liquidated are revealed in the past tense by parties twice removed - Yawn.....zzz.. Why is creativity becoming scarcer in such so-called action books? Geeeez! Errors: a Marine is classed as a 'clerk typist', an MOS that hasn't existed for 20 years. Five minutes google time would have provided the correct job title. There are some flaws in the manuscript that I'm surprised weren't caught in the editing. One is where Jean-Paul Lorimor (of The Hostage) is referred to as "Mastrerson" Another is when Ambassador Lorimor is confused with his daughter's father-in-law, Mr. Masterson (see page 246 in ther hardcover). It's more than juast a typo. Charlie is talking about how OOA is paying for the security of Masterson at the ranch in Uruguay, even though Masterson could afford to pay for it out his own pocket. Mr. Masterson is rich, but Amd. Lorimor is living in Uruguay and he isn't wealthy. Another flaw comes when General McNabb refers to his aid Major Foster as "Major Preston". Also when McNabb meeets Charley and his team for dinner, McNabb greets Cpl Bradley USMC as if the two have never met, when in fact they have not only met but traveled together for the funeral of Specialist Seymour Krantz in The Hunters. An even worse example is that the book is set in 2005, and a characater is described as having been a Marine DM on the march up in the Iraq war. He then described as being too young to vote. The Corps does allow enlistment at 17, but three months boot, ITR, and DM school would have taken at least six months pre war. Assuming the character turned 17 the day he left for boot camp, he still would have been 19 in 2005. Mr. Griffin, You should be ashamed to produce a book that has 400+ pages of people simply drinking and cooking steaks. Certainly appears that most of the 5 star reviews are out of either blind loyalty or an unwillingness to suspend disbelief that perhaps a formerly respectable reading cycle has come to an ugly conclusion at not exactly the top of the author's game. To the future five star reviewers: "I got scammed by this hardbound debacle and so should you!" Hey, but if he can wring a few more checks out of this tired old tripe, happy retirement pal! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rita M | 2/18/2014

    " I think I am beginning to tire of this series. While I enjoyed the character of Castillo, I found this one less intriguing. I was not in the least interested in the love interchange between Charlie and the defector. The endearments took away from my image of Charlie. I like a bit more action and less romance! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristof Czeczko | 2/17/2014

    " Very good, the story of Charley continues. I really like Griffin's style of writing: very precise, easy to follow and interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Olean Public Library | 2/5/2014

    " Griffin, as usual, excels in his character development. The book is well written and flows quickly. And yet at the end, you can't help but feel somehow unfulfilled. This installment seems to conclude the series, but instead of growing to potential the main character remains tragically flawed and becomes two dimensional. Somewhat disappointing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 2/1/2014

    " to many characters to keep up with in a short time for my ADD mind to keep up with. I am sure that it was more of an issue with me rather than the author. I have read some of Griffin's work before, no problem or issues. This one just did not do it for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KarenC | 1/26/2014

    " Slow going and unsatisfactory end; loss of focus on the mission. Griffin has generally presented a good premise and story line. This one seemed all over the map with Russian defectors and investigation of a "fish farm" operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becoming more important than pursuing the conspiracy of who was responsible for the murders that occurred in the first book of the series.Overall I thought the book could have used better editing to move the story along more quickly. Included too much unnecessary detail and repetition from conference room setup to weapons descriptions. And it seemed to lack real action aimed at resolving the problems, devoting tons of pages and descriptions to discussion, planning, and logistics of moving people around.If you prefer books with real action stick with Vince Flynn or Brad Thor, or go back to the old Tom Clancy novels. Not sure if I'll continue when #6 comes out later this year; it won't be a priority. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Peggy | 1/24/2014

    " This was probably the best story line of all these books I have read, but again, the sex and language make it pretty dicey. The story involves a Russian chemical factory being built in the Congo and the efforts to find it and take it out. I think this will be the last book I read by this author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M | 1/23/2014

    " I think this is one of his best works. I learned quite a few vocabulary words, and phrases, such as "long in the tooth" , he uses a rich vocabulary and includes phrases I have not heard since high school. Any black operations book is always intriguing because it involves espionage. In this case a Russian beauty and her brother who want to defect. Since we had some Russian spies in NJ this past summer running around the neighborhood, this novel doesn't seem very far from the current reality. I always like when authors include Argentina in their spy stories, because that sure seems like a great hiding place, for some interesting persons involved in the black market for one. Fun. Educational. Intriguing. I like authors who actually can evoke an emotion without cussing. I think they call that "talent." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dick | 1/17/2014

    " The last in the Presidential Agent series? Castillo is at it again but even further outside the system. The President sees it. He'll have to "retire" but not before he finishes this last mission. Another very good read in the tradition of the others in the series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meakin | 1/10/2014

    " End of the series and that's a shame "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Peterson | 1/7/2014

    " not as much excitement, and too much romance "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaya Doyle | 12/27/2013

    " What I love about W.E.B. Griffin books is the crafty combination of weapons, strategy, humor, romance and very current political tones "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J | 12/23/2013

    " A bit drawn at end, i.e. phone it in "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 12/20/2013

    " I have a relative who works for the Director of National Intelligence so reading this series (book 5) has been an interesting foray into what is real and what is pure fantasy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 TJ | 12/14/2013

    " Good read. Little too much focusing on sex, but that's the way Griffin is. Fun read and good story. Another good book by Griffin. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Troy | 12/14/2013

    " This was a great book it's one of those books you intend to put down after just one more chapter and can't.First time that I have read any books from this Author kind of like Tom clancy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judith | 12/13/2013

    " I've read several of Griffin's books in the past & enjoyed them. This one was just too boring, so I didn't bother trying to finish it because there are too many good books around! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sandi | 10/18/2013

    " UGH! Not for me. Too many characters, all of them "expert" at what they did. I thought it was boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evelyn Ryan | 8/26/2013

    " First, he needs to write faster. Or I have to read slower. I get lost in reading any of his books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karola Wright | 8/22/2013

    " Griffen gets me every time. there is just enough detail about history and a little bit of sex that it is a perfect read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine Lacasse | 8/11/2013

    " Of course being no. 5 in the series you sort of miss some of the characters previous experience, but other than that, it was entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 alex | 3/9/2013

    " Not as good as Griffin's earlier books from this series, and the romance really doesn't ring true. But he wraps the plot up in an interesting and fairly realistic way, which was gratifying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Grady | 10/28/2012

    " Another solid entry into the Presidential Agent series, introducing two major new characters. Perhaps my favorite of the series so far. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dave | 10/25/2012

    " Griffin's books tend to be written in excruciating detail. This installment of the Presidential Agent series has a much more satisfying story-line. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 7/24/2012

    " I find reading this author increases my geographical knowledge and understanding of the world and increases my German too "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail Strickland | 5/4/2012

    " Not up to Griffin's usual standards. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 3/23/2012

    " This book is hard to put down... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 3/3/2012

    " Love me some WEB GRIFFIN!Do I have too much testosterone?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J.W. Thompson | 9/1/2011

    " Needs to write faster---I have read every one. read this one years ago "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jake | 5/6/2011

    " The first Charlie Castillo book I read instead of listened to. It was good. Charlie saves the day and then gets screwed by Montvale and the CIA. It's ok because he's rich and gets the chance to keep doing what he's doing when a bunch of rich guys in a "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 3/11/2011

    " not as much excitement, and too much romance
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 11/2/2010

    " Of course being no. 5 in the series you sort of miss some of the characters previous experience, but other than that, it was entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 3/26/2010

    " Very good reading,like Castillo the way he handles other officers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lou | 3/9/2010

    " Fast read typical of genre. the "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 3/5/2010

    " W.E.B Griffin writes well and I thoroughly enjoy his books but this one did not measure up to his usual standards. The best selling saga which gained him his initial fame; the 9 volume "Brotherhood of War" Series I have read twice. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Peggy | 1/27/2010

    " This was probably the best story line of all these books I have read, but again, the sex and language make it pretty dicey. The story involves a Russian chemical factory being built in the Congo and the efforts to find it and take it out. I think this will be the last book I read by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/21/2010

    " This book is hard to put down... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/20/2010

    " final Presidential agent.
    wonderful series.
    loved the characters.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J | 1/17/2010

    " A bit drawn at end, i.e. phone it in "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J.W. | 12/30/2009

    " Needs to write faster---I have read every one. read this one years ago "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 10/31/2009

    " This book and series was fantastic...I could not put this book down...the entire time I was waiting to turn the page and see what happened next.

    I am hoping there is a #6 in the series..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaya | 10/14/2009

    " What I love about W.E.B. Griffin books is the crafty combination of weapons, strategy, humor, romance and very current political tones "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald | 10/12/2009

    " Love this series of books with one of my favorite characters... Charley Castillo. "

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About the Author

W. E. B. Griffin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at War, and Honor Bound series. He has been invested into the orders of St. George of the US Armor Association and St. Andrew of the US Army Aviation Association, and he is a life member of the US Special Operations Association.

About the Narrator

Dick Hill, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, is one of the most awarded narrators in the business, having earned several Audie Awards and dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards. In addition to narrating, he has both acted in and written for the theater.