Vicious Circle

  • by Robert Littell
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An Israeli government minister is assassinated in the home of his mistress. Days later, a Mossad officer leads his final raid, killing a Hamas leader in his bed and barely escaping with his life. The action moves into the near future, when world leaders, united under the leadership of a visionary female president of the United States, broker a major compromise between Israel and the Palestinian authority. Their hope is to snuff out the violent flashpoint that fuels global terrorism. It seems to work until a well-known fundamentalist rabbi is taken hostage by a legendary Palestinian terrorist. Ferociously suspenseful, Vicious Circle brilliantly dissects an entire culture of violence and the corrupted consciences that embody it.

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What the Critics Say

"Littell's is one of the most talented, most original voices in American fiction today, period." (The Washington Post)
"Littell's latest brainy thriller probes very near the heart of the time-worn conflict over a land made and kept holy through regular libations of martyrs' blood....Must reading for fans of high-end thrillers." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Just can't get into it. (stopping at 5 hours)

I've listened to 5 out of the 12 hours, and I think I'm about to give up on this one. So far, I have not been interested almost at all.

The only reason I listened this long was that I really liked the author's other book, "The Company." And "Vicious Circle" got very good reviews by readers on Amazon.

Maybe this one gets better, but so far it's more of a Middle Eastern debate than a story. It's certainly not a “fun” spy novel, with a fast-moving plot.

That said, it's not badly written. It's certainly intelligent. But I'm just not engaged.

By the way, a lesser part of the book is written as so-called excerpts from a first-person taped interview of a U.S. official. I found it odd, because we only hear one side of this interview. The speaker pauses, and says things like, “That’s a good question…” But we never hear the questioner. So I kept wondering, how can this be a taped interview and we only hear one side of it? I just wasn’t sure what the author’s conceit was. I found these passages so awkward that I often cringed.
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- Steve

Thoughtful

I too was puzzled by the previous reviews which characterized this work as anti-Jewish. I can see how such conclusions could be reached, but only by those who might be seeking such conclusions. For example, the speech given by the adviser to the President at the Harvard Jewish group I thought could have been tempered. But still, it seemed to me to be more of an indictment against uninformed intellectuals than the Jewish people.

Also, it was a bit strange that the premise of the book pitted a Jewish extremist group against a Palestinian (Islamic)extremist group. While there are some Jewish, terroristic, extremist groups they are minute in comparison to the extremism on the Palestinian side.

For these reasons, I can see how could some could see it as anti-Jewish. But overall, I did not come to that conclusion. What I enjoy about Littell is the extended philosophical dialogue between characters. And Scott Brick does an excellent job in narrating this. If you listen to these dialogues, it should be clear that the tone of the book is not anti-Jewish.

But, perhaps, the flaw is that it seems to place the blame equally on both sides. The fact is that when the Israelis cease their operations in Palestinian controlled territories, the attacks from Palestinians continue. This undermines the very title of the book, "Vicious Circle" which intimates that it is a tit for tat which perpetuates the violence. This could also be a reason some see it as anti-Jewish.

But, I think, there is enough "tit for tat" in the conflict to support the premise of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue and action throughout. It was a very good listen.

I loved, "The Company," and was not dissatisfied after listening to "Vicious Circle." "The Company" still remains my favorite, but I do recommend this work to all who enjoy intrigue with thoughtful dialogue.
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- Derek

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-31-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.