The Terminal Spy

  • by Alan S. Cowell
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An award-winning journalist exposes the troubling truth behind the world's first act of nuclear terrorism.On November 1, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko sipped tea in London's Millennium Hotel. Hours later, the Russian former intelligence officer, who was sharply critical of Russian president Vladimir Putin, fell ill, and within days was rushed to the hospital. Fatally poisoned by a rare radioactive isotope slipped into his drink, Litvinenko issued a dramatic deathbed statement accusing Putin himself of engineering his murder.Alan S. Cowell, then London Bureau Chief of the New York Times, who covered the story from its inception, has written the definitive story of this assassination and of the profound international implications of this first act of nuclear terrorism. Who was Alexander Litvinenko? What had happened in Russia since the end of the cold war to make his life there untenable and in severe jeopardy, even in England, the country that had granted him asylum? And how did he really die?The life of Alexander Litvinenko provides a riveting narrative in its own right, culminating in an event that rang alarm bells among Western governments at the ease with which radioactive materials were deployed in a major Western capital to commit a unique crime. But it also evokes a wide range of other issues: Russia's lurch to authoritarianism, the return of the KGB to the Kremlin, the perils of a new cold war driven by Russia's oil riches, and Vladimir Putin's thirst for power.


What the Critics Say

"[A] wholly engrossing and thought-provoking story of espionage and homicide." (Los Angeles Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Slow but gets there in the end.

The initial part of the book is detailed and slow going but the story picks up when it gets to the hunt for the Polonium around London and into Europe. While it covers Russian politics and intrigue in great depth we are never really sure, even at the end, who, if anyone, authorized the poisoning but with such a full exposition of the background and facts the listener is well equipped to come to their own conclusion and realize why we may never know the full details of the story.

The chapters regarding Polonium should be required reading for anyone involved in public safety.
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- Stuart Woodward

Polonium 210

I did enjoy the story, but the narrative seemed to all over the place. The instance of Litvinenko's death is foreshadowed more than a dozen times. This made the book seem really repetitive. Also the narrator's instance of calling Polonium 210 "two, one , oh" really got annoying. I have never heard it called that.
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- Jason Buneo

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-16-2008
  • Publisher: Books on Tape