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The Debriefing by Robert Littell

The Debriefing

by Robert Littell

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This is a great little Spy vs. Spy caper with several quirky characters thrown in for some comic relief (often with a dark edge). American penetration-agent-in-waiting Stone is chosen to debrief Soviet courier Oleg Kulakov who has defected with a briefcase of diplomatic bag correspondence incl. military secrets and private inter-embassy mail. Kulakov's story is perfect. Perhaps too perfect? After losing almost all of his family to one circumstance or another Kulakov has defected when given the opportunity of a courier delivery to Cairo. Stone goes into Soviet Russia with deep cover to try and get to the source of all of Kulakov's misfortunes. He'll get there, but at what cost?
Colourful characters abound, such as Stone's girlfiriend Thro, who has a knack for predicting different ways the world will end, and Morning Stalin, an ex-Stalin impersonator, now retired, who was the dictator's morning replacement at social functions when the old tyrant himself couldn't be bothered to get up or make an appearance.
I'll confess that I missed out on Littell's books in the first go-around as I was too caught up with Le Carre & Deighton at the time. I 've discovered Littell late after reading his son's The Kindly Ones and then his own latest The Stalin Epigram (about the poet Mandelstam, who also makes a brief appearance in The Debriefing) and I'm having a lot of fun going back to find Littell Sr.'s earlier books. ( )
  alanteder | Apr 13, 2010 |
Is Kulakov genuine? Yes, but . . . excellent defector intrigue in the LeCarre mode, but American ( )
  tzelman | Feb 18, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143114409, Paperback)

Now back in print?a taut spy thriller from The New York Times bestselling author of The Company

With the publication of his New York Times bestseller The Company, Robert Littell re-established his position among the highest ranks of writers of literary espionage novels. In The Debriefing, long out of print until now, Littell offers another novel of exquisite suspense.

Stone is the head of an elite arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?and a master of the psychologically sophisticated art of debriefing. When Oleg Kulakov defects from Russia, handcuffed to a sealed diplomatic pouch, it?s Stone?s job to find out if he?s genuine. As Stone uncovers Kulakov?s darkest secrets, he penetrates Russia itself to learn the chilling truth . . . a truth that tears his own world apart.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

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"The Debriefing is a terrifying excursion into the ambiguous world of deceit, illusion, and treachery that is espionage." "Stone (first name unknown) is the head of an elite arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - and a master of the sophisticated art of debriefing. When Oleg Kulakov defects from Russia, handcuffed to a sealed diplomatic pouch, it's Stone's job to find out if he's genuine. He must uncover every detail of Kulakov's life, "until we know more about you than God does." And as Stone uncovers Kulakov's every secret, probing the darkest reaches of Kulakov's heart, he penetrates Russia itself to learn the chilling truth... a truth that tears his own world apart."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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