While flipping movie channels ten days back, I stumbled upon a movie titled “Red Sparrow”. It had already run for 30 minutes so we missed the beginning, but it was a gripping movie. It was shown again a few days later and we managed to record it and watch the full movie. The whole Russian spy turning into a CIA mole was a throw back to the cold war era and when the credits rolled, we noticed it was based on a book by the same name written by Jason Mathews, an ex-CIA agent himself.
I looked for the Red Sparrow book and found that there was a sequel, Palace of Treason and bought that instead. Am glad I did. This book is just as gripping and fast paced if you ignore the soft porn. The plot is gripping enough without the detailed description of every sexcapade of Dominika Egorova and Nate Nash. Adding that poor Ms. Hannah Archer, only to bump her off midway was again unnecessary and again, Nate Nash and Hannah getting together is rather strange considering Nate and Dominika are in love. Totally unnecessary.
I wonder if there is a real “Sparrow” school in Russia and whether President Putin is the way he is portrayed in this novel. The villains in this book are Alexei Zyuganov, a psychopathic torturer-bureaucrat, and his protégée, Eva Buchina. How they kill is chilling and almost barbaric. Dominika’s ability to read auras and her ability to ensnare Zyuganov’s deputy Yevgeny is interesting coming from an American author. Auras and other esoteric stuff is generally missing in the spy novels of the past. I also noticed mention of Sanskrit and surprisingly many of the Russian words sound like Sanskrit and also their meanings are similar !! The ties between India and Russia seem to be really old. Adding an American double agent to the plot who manages to find out about Dominika is sheer genius as it makes the reader nervous.
Overall, its a good read ..not a must read. Its a lot easier to watch the movie. I don’t intend to buy the next book in the trilogy.