The Company by Robert Littell

Last year, I caught an episode of a TV Miniseries, and it looked interesting. I never did see the whole thing, but it did cause me to check out the book it was based on. It has since sat on my Kindle, until just before Christmas, when I started to read it. After that, I couldn’t put it down.

First published in 2002, “The Company: A Novel of the CIA” is a work of fiction, but set against a lot of historical truth. It tells the story of the CIA from 1950, through to the mid-90’s. Some of the characters (including major ones) were real, and their activities well documented. Others are fictional or heavily disguised, and are perhaps fictional amalgamations of real people.

Thus the novel covers, at a quite personal level, events such as the Hungarian uprising and the Bay of Pigs, not to mention the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the political events that followed.

I love a good spy novel, and this is certainly that. Although a long book (900+ pages) it was a pageturner, and despite being plotted against a known history, it had plenty of surprises.

A word of warning – I was tempted, on a few occasions, to check out a fact or an event on Wikipedia. Reading on a Kindle makes it easy to do so. If you can avoid doing so until you have finished reading the novel, I would; as parts of the novel are close enough to the truth for history to provide spoilers.

I’ll definitely be checking out Littell’s other works.

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