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Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Palace of Treason

by Jason Matthews

Quick take

The closest thing written recently to the best work of John LeCarre. And for good reason — the author is a retired CIA guy.

Why I love it

Leigh Haber
O, The Oprah Magazine

As I look back, I realize that it's possible my obsession with espionage novels began in childhood, when I first discovered Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew. At the time, I don't think most girls dreamed of having lives of adventure — cowboys, astronauts, river boat captains — those were not female fantasies. But using intelligence and curiosity to solve mysteries, hiding inside dumbwaiters and recording stealth observations in a journal, piling into a convertible with pals to go and investigate a spate of burglaries — now THAT was interesting.

Cut to 2015, and it seems I did put that career goal of becoming a double agent on hold. But I still get a vicarious thrill from reading spy fiction, especially when the star is a woman. Enter Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service, who's now secretly working for the other side (i.e., our side). She's the heroine of Jason Matthews' Palace of Treason, a book I inhaled in an afternoon. It's the closest thing written recently to the best work of John LeCarre. And for good reason — the author is a retired CIA guy. I guess they didn't make him sign one of those "do not disclose" forms.

I don't go in for most "genre" books, but I am always on the hunt for a suspenseful, well-written mystery/thriller, especially when geopolitics is involved. This book is fast-paced but grounded in what's really going on in the world. And I love the fact that protagonist Dominika is smart, fearless, athletic — she's heroic!

I didn't read the author's previous book Red Sparrow, but that's next up for me. When I find a writer I can count on, I hang on for dear life. So I hope you'll check out this fabulous new novel. I'm hoping there will be one every year from here on out.

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Member thoughts

All (53)
All (53)
Love (23)
Like (21)
Dislike (9)
64 ratings
  • 36% Love
  • 33% Like
  • 14% Dislike
  • Searcy, AR

    Matthews offers incredibly rich insight into the dark,dangerous world of counterintelligence spycraft in this exhilarating novel that had me wanting to check my six as I fitfully raced thru its pages.

  • Apple Valley, CA

    Red Sparrow was a hard book to follow, and Palace of Treason actually surpassed it. You feel that these characters and events actually happened. The human behavior was up to part.

  • Marina del Rey, CA

    Crazy that situations like this exist! Told in a way that keeps readers on their feet throughout the novel. And the ending was a perfect fit

  • Woodinville, WA

    This book was so intense the whole way through! Loved reading about the life of spies.

  • Tulsa, OK

    Loved it and can’t wait to read the third book!

  • Dearborn, MI

    Amazing, could not put it down!

  • Takoma Park, MD

  • Leander, TX

  • West Chicago , IL

  • Red Bluff, CA

  • Marshfield, MA

  • South Gate, CA

  • Cincinnati, OH

  • Dallas, TX

  • Weir, MS

  • St Louis Park, MN

  • Lilburn, GA

  • Aurora, CO

  • Everson, WA

  • Royal Oak, MI

    The characters are fleshed out and believable, and the plot startlingly contemporary. While some of the spy genre tropes are certainly present, I look forward to seeing how this series ends.

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