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Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews
Thriller

Palace of Treason

by Jason Matthews

Excellent choice

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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.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action

    Action-packed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International

    International

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_2ndSeries

    Second in series

Why I love it

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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