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Extended Audio Sample The Prodigal Spy Audiobook, by Joseph Kanon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.66 out of 53.66 out of 53.66 out of 53.66 out of 53.66 out of 5 3.66 (38 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph Kanon Narrator: Boyd Gaines Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553751185
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In a time of accusations, treachery, and lies, some secrets were heartbreaking …

Others were deadly.

Once, Nick Kotlar tried to save his father. From the angry questions. From the accusations. From a piece of evidence that only Nick knew about and that he destroyed—for his father. But in the Red Scare of 1950, Walter Kotlar could not be saved. Branded a spy, he fled the country, leaving behind a wife, a young son—and a key witness lying dead below her DC hotel room.

Now, twenty years later, Nick will get a second chance. Because a beautiful journalist has brought a message from his long-lost father, and Nick will follow her into Soviet-occupied Prague for a painful reunion. Confronting a father he barely remembers and a secret that could change everything, Nick knows he must return to the place where it all began: to unravel a lie, to penetrate a deadly conspiracy, and to expose the one person who knew the truth—and watched a family be destroyed.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 2/14/2014

    " This started well, with me believing that I'd finally found something meaty to get my reading teeth into. It seemed an interesting enough story, but the pace was so slow that I began to question the whole thing - why did this loving, caring, intelligent father just up and leave his adored wife and kid to go and live in Russia? Once I started to question the motivations of the characters I needed the plot to pick up and Get On With It, but Kanon was too involved in his characters to deliver on this. Which would have been fine if you could have really believed the plot. I think what I'm trying to say is that the book didn't hang together, and therefore I couldnt get into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 2/9/2014

    " Fun, zippy read. A good classic Cold War spy novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doug Baird | 2/2/2014

    " Pretty good, although it was not hard to figure out who the bad guy was by about half way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Orona | 1/27/2014

    " It was a staunch reminder of what some went through during the early cold war days with Russia. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/14/2014

    " OMG so boring!! I couldn't even finish this book. If you need something to help you fall asleep at night, I'd definitely recommend that you pick this one up. I couldn't get through 2 pages of this at a time without my mind wandering or drifting off to sleep. I eventually put it down because life if too short to read boring books!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Treanor | 1/11/2014

    " An okay Cold War spy novel. Was a bit iffy to begin with, and I don't know why Kanon always feels the need to include a love story (at least in his first two books) - it's like he's pre-Hollywood-izing his books for the screen. This one even included a very explicit sex scene, which was weird. But the book recovers and even gets pretty good in Cold War Czechoslovakia. Starts slow, finishes strong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 1/6/2014

    " Very good, almost as good as the first Kanon I read (Istanbul Passage), and better than Charles Cumming's A Spy by Nature. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lou | 1/4/2014

    " Here's a kind of vague look at what it must have been like for politicians/foreign service people during the McCarthy era communist witch hunts. OK plot but slow reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly Driver | 12/26/2013

    " Pretty good. I enjoyed the history in and all the political spy stuff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 12/15/2013

    " Sometimes I get in the mood for a really good spy novel. This one totally delivered. I don't want to say any more to spoil it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 12/12/2013

    " A really good thriller. Complex, dynamic characters, striking settings, and a multi-layered plot that stayed with me after I finished it. I'm going to read this author's other book, Los Alamos - if it's as good as this one, I'll be watching for any future works he publishes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan Grignon | 12/11/2013

    " I loved the premise and the ending but the book seemed to drag on at times. Still... it's worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 12/6/2013

    " Kanon is good at what he does--interesting historical spy novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sesh | 9/22/2013

    " A bit of a plotty book, but written with a lot of feeling. And the writing is very spare, minimum words for maximum effect, which I like. Also, no cliches, no throwaway phrases. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marge Snoeren | 5/12/2013

    " A fairly good adventure story while reading it, but very forgetable. Take in on an airplane. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lexie Miller | 5/2/2013

    " By far not Kanon's greatest book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lois Gould | 4/1/2013

    " See also The Good German and Los Alamos. Good historical novels!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Reese | 12/17/2012

    " Very good novel with some interesting background on Prague in the 60's and politics surrounding the HUAC in general. Only one sex scene. I loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annette Dashofy | 12/7/2012

    " This book was required reading in a writing course I took and I understand why. Superb writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher Culp | 11/29/2012

    " Interesting premise with characters to care about. The strongest parts are the ones in Prague. A very enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Boris | 9/24/2012

    " I first read his latest, Istanbul Passage -- a very good mystery in Istanbul just after the end of WWII. This is about the McCarthy Era, and later. Beautiful writing. Gripping plot. I didn't figure out who dunnit until 80% in! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maura | 6/5/2012

    " Interesting spy novel, although it had a bit of a dated feel to it, since it was set in the late 1960's. It has a brooding, dark mood to it that goes well with the paranoia of the Cold War and Iron Curtain countries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 3/31/2012

    " 1st time 2003. Was good re-read (re-listen) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane Wilcox | 6/23/2011

    " A really good espionage story set in the times of both the HUAC and the Viet Nam war. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 4/23/2011

    " Interesting period snippets of America during the Cold War & Vietnam as seen through one family's dilemmas. Compelling protagonist, a bit bumbling, but ever-evolving in his awareness of the world around him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gerald | 3/25/2011

    " I wanted to like this more than I did. I am a fan of the genre, and of Kanon's. But the plot seemed too contrived, episodic in places, and the young hero was too resourceful to be believable. The theme didn't expand. The ending bummed me out, and I felt no wiser for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 12/22/2010

    " Pretty good. I enjoyed the history in and all the political spy stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 8/26/2010

    " It was a staunch reminder of what some went through during the early cold war days with Russia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 6/10/2010

    " Sometimes I get in the mood for a really good spy novel. This one totally delivered. I don't want to say any more to spoil it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 12/21/2009

    " Kanon is good at what he does--interesting historical spy novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sesh | 10/11/2009

    " A bit of a plotty book, but written with a lot of feeling. And the writing is very spare, minimum words for maximum effect, which I like. Also, no cliches, no throwaway phrases. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 9/25/2009

    " Fun, zippy read. A good classic Cold War spy novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maura | 7/17/2009

    " Interesting spy novel, although it had a bit of a dated feel to it, since it was set in the late 1960's. It has a brooding, dark mood to it that goes well with the paranoia of the Cold War and Iron Curtain countries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Loisgould | 3/25/2009

    " See also The Good German and Los Alamos. Good historical novels!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 8/13/2008

    " Very good novel with some interesting background on Prague in the 60's and politics surrounding the HUAC in general. Only one sex scene. I loved it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lexie | 7/22/2008

    " By far not Kanon's greatest book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 7/21/2008

    " 1st time 2003. Was good re-read (re-listen) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 2/29/2008

    " A really good thriller. Complex, dynamic characters, striking settings, and a multi-layered plot that stayed with me after I finished it. I'm going to read this author's other book, Los Alamos - if it's as good as this one, I'll be watching for any future works he publishes. "

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About the Author

Joseph Kanon is the author of several novels, including Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi, and Stardust. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a book publishing executive. He lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Boyd Gaines’ many film credits include Second Best, I’m Not Rappaport, Heartbreak Ridge, Fame, and Porky’s. He’s won two Tony Awards for performances in the The Heidi Chronicles and the musical She Loves Me. On television he’s appeared in A Woman Called Jackie, A Son’s Promise, and in the popular series One Day at a Time.