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Legends (2005)

by Robert Littell

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3631069,800 (3.74)14
Martin Odum is a CIA field agent turned private detective, struggling his way through a labyrinth of past identities-"legends" in CIA parlance. Is he really Martin Odum? Or is he Dante Pippen, an IRA explosives maven? Or Lincoln Dittmann, Civil War expert? These men like different foods, speak different languages, have different skills. Is he suffering from multiple personality disorder, brainwashing, or simply exhaustion? Can Odum trust the CIA psychiatrist? Or Stella Kastner, a young Russian woman who engages him to find her brother-in-law so he can give her sister a divorce? As Odum redeploys his dormant tradecraft skills to solve Stella's case, he travels the globe battling mortal danger and psychological disorientation.… (more)
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English (9)  French (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
The story of aCIA agent who has worked on the Middle East during the Cold War. He had several false identities called legends. He now presents one of his legends as a private eye and is asked to g find the missing husband of a young woman living in Israel. She needs a divorce so she would too free to marry again. The narrative jumps between many legends in the protagonist’s background. In the end the CIA is manipulating the downfall of the Soviet Union. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Aug 20, 2023 |
I liked the main conspiracy theory, found some of the historical background really interesting but didn't care for the main character ( )
  RuudVonVenterooy | Feb 18, 2021 |
Reminds me of the TV show based upon it: all the right ingredients, just poorly put together.
  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Martin Odum is a former CIA field officer now working as a small-time private detective in Brooklyn. The covers, or legends, he lived in various parts of the world and in situations of extreme stress have become akin to distinct personalities that he has been unable to unload.

There’s Lincoln Pittman, an expert marksman and civil war scholar; Dante Pippen, an ex-IRA bomber; and Jozef Kafkor, a Pole. The CIA created the legends, Odum brought them to life, and they haven’t died.

When Odum is approached by the daughter of a former KGB officer to track down her sister’s missing Russian husband with a shady history, many of the ghosts of Odum’s, Dittman’s, Pittman,’s and Kafkor’s past lives converge as he travels to Israel and further in his search.

Littell is one of the most inventive writers of espionage novels working now. He’s also very adept at interweaving strands of a complicated plot into a well-paced and suspenseful story. ( )
  Hagelstein | Feb 22, 2015 |
Well, now I've done it.

I've just finished the book that will forever spoil the spy-novel genre for me.

Why?

This is simply the best spy novel I've read - and I've read some good ones - John le Carre's books, the late Robert Ludlum, Ian Flemming . . . I had begun to become jaded with spy-lit, mainly because it has all been done before.

Until Littell unleashes Martin Odum on us, along with Odum's "associates": "Legends," the identities he has used undercover - Lincoln Dittmann, Dante Pippin and . . . ah, but no spoiler here.

Odum is a "retired" CIA agent who starts working as a detective. He is hired to find the husband of a Jewish woman in Israel so she can get a get (a formal divorce decree) - otherwise, she will not be able to remarry. The search for the footloose husband, however, turns into something completely different for Odum, who finds himself being drawn back into an assignment involving . . . but, ah, no spoilers here.

This story is intelligently written; the suspense is almost continual; the plot is incredibly plausible. My appetite is now whetted for one more spy novel: The Company, which is supposed to be the best novel Littell has written.

You can't go wrong with this book. ( )
  jpporter | Nov 17, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Für meine Musen Marie-Dominique und Victoria
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Martin Odum is a CIA field agent turned private detective, struggling his way through a labyrinth of past identities-"legends" in CIA parlance. Is he really Martin Odum? Or is he Dante Pippen, an IRA explosives maven? Or Lincoln Dittmann, Civil War expert? These men like different foods, speak different languages, have different skills. Is he suffering from multiple personality disorder, brainwashing, or simply exhaustion? Can Odum trust the CIA psychiatrist? Or Stella Kastner, a young Russian woman who engages him to find her brother-in-law so he can give her sister a divorce? As Odum redeploys his dormant tradecraft skills to solve Stella's case, he travels the globe battling mortal danger and psychological disorientation.

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