Book Red Sparrow

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And that they would never do it again. In a way, Mikhail was relieved. The operations course was coming to an end, the last leg of the tripod of training nearly complete. The exhausted pensioners who trained Dominika had long ago nicknamed her mushka, beauty spot, also the colloquialism for the front sight of a gun, the sight that picks up the target first. Completing their evaluations, they positively assessed her industrious spirit, they remarked on her intellect and wit and on her sometimes inexplicable intuitions on the street. Her loyalty and dedication to the Rodina were unquestioned.more...

Quote #2244357
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Scan the shadows. No street sweeper, no lolling bum. A mistake, despite all the hours of his SDR, of provocative maneuvers, of waiting and watching in the snow and cold, a single mistake would have one inescapable resultthe death of MARBLE. Not, to Nate, so much the loss of a source of intelligence or the beginning of a diplomatic flap, but the death of this man. Nate would not fail. MARBLE walked unhurriedly forward. They had met twice before. MARBLE had been assigned a succession of CIA handlershad educated every one.more...

Quote #2245548
10

Better still, the Russian lunchtime practice of seating strangers together occasionally provided an opportunity to be seated beside a cute university student or an attractive shopgirl. Sometimes they even smiled at him, as if they were together. At least it would look that way from across the room. Delon ordered a glass of wine while he looked at the menu. The young man sitting across from him paid his check, wiped his mouth, and reached for his jacket on the back of his chair. Delon looked up to see a stunning dark-haired woman with ice-blue eyes walk toward his table. He held his breath. The woman actually sat down in the seat just vacated by the young man.more...

Quote #2245547
10

His head was clear and he concentrated on not walking too fast, he would show them to the last how a professional finishes. As he came nearer, the silhouettes turned into faces, familiar faces. It was more important to see his friends than it was to actually be free. Benford. Nathaniel. A spy swap.more...

Quote #2245545
10

But how exactly do you contribute? She took a sip of wine. Lots of ways, said Nate. Give me an example, said Dominika. Well, as an example, I handle the CIAs best asset, a high-level penetration of your frigging monolithic service, to thwart the worldwide evil designs of the Russian Federation and your lupine president for life, he thought. Ive been doing some interesting economic work lately, working on timber exports from Finland, he said.more...

Quote #2245544
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Dominika was wearing a modest one-piece racing suit and a plain white swimming cap. She slipped into the water and slowly made her way across several lanes to the one beside Nates. She began swimming slowly down the lane, letting Nash pass her, then pass her again on the next length. She timed his third overtaking pass to occur at the end of the pool as Nate made a relaxed open turn and started another lap. Dominika began swimming to stay even with Nash, which she found she could do with ease. Neither was swimming very hard. Through her goggles, Dominika could see his body underwater, rolling rhythmically in a smooth freestyle. At the far wall, Dominika and Nate both touched at the same time and started the return lap to the deep end. By this time, Nate noticed another swimmer keeping pace with him. Looking underwater, he saw it was a woman, sleek in a racing suit, stroking smoothly and strongly.more...

Quote #2245543
10

On the Finnish-Russian border three kilometers west of Vyartsilya, Russia, through an uninhabited tract of dense pines and rolling hills, the Soviets after World War II had established an infiltration route past the towers, border wire, and plowed strips. The Finnish side was always lightly patrolled. For decades, cleared KGB border guards periodically were assigned to the area to allow agents to pass through unmolested. The more techniques changed, the more they stayed the same: Routes through the minefields in 1953 were marked by stakes driven into the snow with cloth strips tied to them. Since 2010, the correct route through the field was marked by plastic pylons fitted with infrared strobes visible only with night-vision goggles. A week earlier, Matorin had infiltrated Finland using this route, was picked up by a Directorate S support illegal on country road number 70, and was driven four hundred kilometers south on Rural Route 6 and finally into the city on state highway E75. The Spetsnaz killer had gone directly to Yelenovas apartment, killed her at midnight, and put her body in a rubber military body bag.more...

Quote #2245542
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She was out of Russia, in the West, perhaps she would defect. Gable listened and softly told her to do what she thought was best. Hisaura was deep purple, he had no reason to be so serene, but she was glad. Now it was the next night and late, the beacons on the microwave towers on the ridge of Ymittos the only pinpricks of light on the dark mass of the mountain until the orange streetlights of Zografos and Papagou. Forsyth and Benford sat in chairs while Dominika in a bathrobe lay on the couch so she could keep her leg elevated. She had heard Nate leaving the apartment earlier, but she didnt come out to see him. Nate was gone.more...

Quote #2245540
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Okay, were waiting anyway. But wait till I talk to Nash for a second. Benford slid the van door open, climbed in, and sat beside Nate on the middle bench seat. Nash had found a jacket in the back and had run his fingers through his hair. He looked tired, but presentable. Benford slid the door partly closed and leaned back in the seat. DIVA and Gable have arrived. She is in the car. Last night the Russians tried to rescue her and she killed two men. She has agreed to return to Russia only because of the swap, to free MARBLE.more...

Quote #2245539
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She thought it strange, but could not read Benfords face; his color was fading. Dominika, these details are important. We want to let the Center know that we saw through the deception. Thats why mentioning the eye-surgery false trail is critical. And we want the Center to think youve done good work, we want them to rescue you. Is all that clear? Yes, but I will tell them I killed their assassin, said Dominika. Me. Because he was going to kill us both. Now Nash has fled and it is my uncles grubaya oshibka, his blunder, not mine.more...

Quote #2245538
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