The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder

The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder

by Alan S. Cowell
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The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder by Alan S. Cowell

“A story that is at once real-life thriller and an immensely sinister cautionary tale about the new Russia.” –Star Tribune

On November 1, 2006, Alexander Litvinenko sipped tea in London’s Millennium Hotel. Hours later the Russian émigré and 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.

“Absorbing.” –New York Times

“Cowell plays out the Byzantine possibilities behind this killing with heroic clarity.” –Los Angeles Times
“Doggedly reported and dramatically written . . . Cowell tells the story with literary panache but doesn’t let his stylish prose eclipse the substance of a sordid tale. The sections about espionage and the assassination are worthy of Tom Clancy, but the author’s political analysis is equally riveting . . . A well-told true-crime tale mixed with expert political/historical analysis.”
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767928168
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/20/2009
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,048,229
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alan S. Cowell was the London bureau chief of the New York Times when the events narrated in this book reached their climax. Previously, Cowell served as a correspondent for Reuters and the New York Times in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He has been based in twelve capitals and reported the news from around ninety countries and territories. Cowell is married and has three children. He is now based in Paris. 

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The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly boring book, all the more surprising because it purports to be about a "true story of Espionage, Betrayal, and Murder." The author goes into minute detail about Russians in London with an insufferably dry style that gives the reader cause to toss his Ambien prescription. Whereas I had looked forward to a tale of intrigue, the author kept going off on tangents that seemed to have no bearing on the reason he wrote the book. A readable version of the exciting events surrounding the murder of Alexander Litveninko is hopefully forthcoming from someone who can write with some interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DuctorCE More than 1 year ago
The Terminal Spy is an intrigue with a Russian theme where the unspeakable do horrid things to the unpronounceable. I tend to confuse my .skayas, with my .oviches, and by the time I have sorted those out I have lost the plot. Mr Cowell anticipated my, and perhaps others dilemma, and opens his book with Dramatis Personae. This introduces us to 40 principle characters. I respectfully suggest that the reader studies these three and a bit pages as it will greatly enhance comprehension of the remaining 430. Cowell's work is at once an important and rewarding example of detailed investigative reporting. Important because it reveals how a foreign (I was tempted to say hostile), country carried out a successful nuclear attack on London, Britain's capital city. Rewarding because it reads like a fiction spy thriller. It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Alan Cowell is an experienced and accomplished journalist and citizen of the world. He is 'at-home' in London Paris or New York, and has vast experience of the Middle East and Africa. The Terminal Spy is a dissection, in the minutest detail of the evidence pertaining to the calculated murder in broad daylight of Alexander Litvinenko at London on November 1st 2006. It is the manner of this murder and why, that makes this volume a page turner par excellence. No one has been brought before the courts for this crime, but by the end of the book there can be no doubt of the identity of the culprit and his accomplices. The book is very well written. It is never dull - which is quite an achievement when one considers the exposure espionage and intelligence gets these days. There are no loose-ends or innuendoes which in a book like this can be infuriating. The Terminal Spy is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable read, and I thoroughly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago