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The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War Audiobook, by Ben Macintyre Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ben Macintyre Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2018 ISBN: 9780525643814
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ



If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets. 

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] captivating espionage tale... In a feat of real authorial dexterity, Macintyre accurately portrays the long-game banality of spycraft—the lead time and persistence in planning—with such clarity and propulsive verve that the book often feels like a thriller. The book has a startling relevancy to the news of the day... Macintyre has produced a timely and insightful page-turner. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “[A] swift-moving tale of true espionage in the most desperate years of the Cold War... The closing pages of Macintyre’s fluent yarn find Gordievsky attempting to escape captivity and flee to the West in a scenario worthy of John le Carré... Oddly timely, given the return of Russian spying to the front pages, and a first-rate study of the mechanics and psychology of espionage. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Even a reader not enamored of spy stories will have trouble putting this one down… [The story] unfolds with a pace and drama that recall the novels of John le Carré. Foreign Affairs 
  • “Oleg Gordievsky was the most significant British agent of the cold war… The result is a dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage. The Guardian
  • The subtitle of Macintyre’s latest real-life spy thriller calls it ‘The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War.’ Like pretty much everything in this fine book, the description is accurate… Macintyre is fastidious about tradecraft details… [he] has become the preeminent popular chronicler of British intelligence history because he understands the essence of the business. Washington Post
  • Readers seeking a page-turning spy story, look no further…a Cold War espionage story for the ages… another can’t miss account of intrigue and intelligence.

    Boston Globe
     
  • “Masterful…It doesn’t hurt that narrator John Lee’s voice recalls Sean Connery in the classic James Bond movies as he introduces Oleg Gordievsky, a high-ranking officer in the KGB who landed a job in London in the 1980s so he could pass intelligence to Britain. You’ll want to make time to listen to the final section in one sitting, as Lee will have you biting your nails during the account of Gordievsky’s harrowing escape from the Soviet Union.”

    AudioFile

  • A Washington Post Pick of 3 Great Audiobooks
  • Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize in Nonfiction
  • New York Times bestseller
  • A Boston Globe Pick for Fall
  • A Huffington Post Pick of Most Anticipated Books
  • Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Nonfiction

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About the Author

Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for the Times of London and a New York Times bestselling author whose books include A Spy among Friends, Double Cross, Operation Mincemeat, Agent Zigzag, and Rogue Heroes, among others. He has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.

About the Narrator

John Lee is the winner of numerous Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration. His has twice won acclaim as AudioFile’s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and coproduced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.