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Best-selling novelist Robert Littell employs all his considerable skills in telling the story of Kim Philby through the eyes of more than 20 true-life characters. As each layer is revealed, the question arises: Who really was this man?
When Kim Philby fled to Moscow in 1963, he became the most infamous double agent in history. A member of Britain's intelligence service since World War II, he had risen to become their chief officer in Washington, D.C. after the war. The exposure of other members of the group of double agents known as the Cambridge Five led to the revelation that he had been working for Russia for even longer than he had been part of MI6. Yet he escaped, and spent the last 25 years of his life in Moscow.
In Young Philby, Robert Littell tells the story of the spy's early years. In the words of his friends, lovers, and Soviet handlers, we see the development of a fascinating, flawed man who kept people guessing about his ideals and allegiances until the very end.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By connie on 11-14-12
Maybe get this one in print
--especially if Lee is not among your favourite narrators It's got the ingredients of a good Littell history-spy puzzle, related in interviews and stories by Philby's acquaintances, colleagues and lovers, but I did not enjoy the listen.
I can usually lose myself in Littell's mixture of history and espionage, but I found the narration pulling me out of the story and accentuating the sometimes clumsily related historical background.
Littlell's dark humour becomes silly with the -- to my ears anyway -- goofy accents and poorly voiced women.
I like John Lee in small does, in the right listens. This wasn't one of them.
Listen carefully to the sample!
24 of 30 people found this review helpful
By Darwin8u on 06-26-14
"Ahistorical" Espionage Fiction
It has been awhile since I've read Robert Littell. This wasn't one of his best novels (*** 1/2), but it was still fascinating. At its core, 'Young Philby' is an ahistorical, fictionalized telling of the early life and background of Kim Philby, the most famous of the Cambridge Five.
Littell's fictionalized account imagines the possibility that Philby was actually more than just a double agent. I would tell you more, but then I would have to kill you. Anyway, 'Young Philby' was well-written, well-developed, and nuanced enough to make Littell's argument credible.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful