Books on Film: RED SPARROW by Jason Matthews

In March of next year, Jennifer Lawrence will star in Red Sparrow, the movie based on Jason Matthew‘s first Dominika Egorova series. The movie is directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation to the star, but also worked with her on Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay I II), and the screenplay is by Justin Haythe. Joel Edgerton and Mary-Louise Parker also star.

Here’s the book’s synopsis:

State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fateful double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the US military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.

Red Sparrow is published by Scribner (North America) and Simon & Schuster (UK). At the time of writing, it is also on sale for Kindle in the US and UK. The second novel in the series, The Palace of Treason (US/UK), is also available. The third novel, The Kremlin’s Candidate, is due out in February 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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New Books (February)

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Featuring: David Annandale, Jo Baker, Mishell Baker, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Bonesteel, Pierce Brown, Christopher Charles, Jessica Chiarella, Dan Cluchey, Max Allan Collins, John Connolly, Don DeLillo, S.B. Divya, Rachel Dunne, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Hadley Freeman, S.L. Grey, Lauren Groff, A.J. Hartley, Noah Hawley, Katie Heaney, Patrick Hemstreet, Mitchell Hogan, Lee Kelly, Shane Kuhn, Joe R. Lansdale, John Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, David Levien, Brian McClellan, Claire North, Willow Palecek, K.J. Parker, Bryony Pearce, Victor Pelevin, Molly Prentiss, Andy Remic, William Shatner, Mickey Spillane, Jo Spurrier, Allen Steele, Stuart Stevens, Alex Stewart, Jack Sutherland, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Teddy Wayne

* Continue reading

New Books (May-June)

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Featuring: Judy Blume, Nick Brown, Jack Campbell, Lincoln Child, Ernest Cline, Nathan Garrison, Mat Johnson, Stephen King, Jessica Knoll, Douglas Lain, Mark Lawrence, Aidan Levy, Jason Matthews, Naomi Novik, Matthew Palmer, Ron Perlman, Alexandra Petri, Loren Rhoads, Christopher Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Corey Taylor Continue reading

The Atlantic Weekly, Stephen King & “Voice”

AtlanticWeekly-20130728In the current issue of The Atlantic Weekly (July 28th), there is a very good, short piece by Stephen King about opening lines. In the article, part of The Atlantic’sBy Heart” series, King also offers the following opinion on voice. Many bloggers discuss or focus on voice in their reviews (some obsessively so), and I thought this might be of interest to them, as well as readers, of course…

“… for me, a good opening sentence really begins with voice. You hear people talk about ‘voice’ a lot, when I think they really just mean style. Voice is more than that. People come to books looking for something. But they don’t come for the story, or even for the characters. They certainly don’t come for the genre. I think readers come for the voice.

“A novel’s voice is something like a singer’s; think of singers like Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan, who have no musical training but are instantly recognizable. When people pick up a Rolling Stones record, it’s because they want access to that distinctive quality. They know that voice, they love that voice, and something in them connects profoundly with it. Well, it’s the same way with books. Anyone who’s read a lot of John Sanford, for example, knows that wry, sarcastic amusing voice that’s his and his alone. Or Elmore Leonard – my God, his writing is like a fingerprint. You’d recognize him anywhere. An appealing voice achieves an intimate connection, a bond much stronger than the kind of forged, intellectually, through crafted writing.

“With really good books, a powerful sense of voice is established in the first line.”

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, a new follow-up to The Shining, will be published in September 2013 by Hodder (UK) and Scribner (US).

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US / UK Covers

Also, here is a rather nice photo of Stephen King, which I found connected with this interview with the author over on Parade:

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Joe Fassler (the journalist behind the “By Heart” series), inspired by Stephen King’s piece, conducted a survey of some other authors’ favourite first lines, here. Other authors to feature in the “By Heart” series, who have also featured on Civilian Reader, are Susan Choi (CR interview), and Benjamin Percy (interview, Red Moon review).

Upcoming: “The Age of Ice” by J.M. Sidorova (Scribner)

Sidorova-TheAgeOfIceUKThis looks like an interesting novel. It has already been described as “boldly original and genrebending”, and it will apparently take readers “from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris”. Colour me very much intrigued…

The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor — all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command — for her entertainment — these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold.

The Age of Ice is published by Scribner in the UK, and will be out near the end of July 2013.