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Publisher's Summary

The Miernik Dossier is the dazzling first novel, newly reissued, by master spy novelist Charles McCarry. In this riveting, imaginative tale, five international agents embark on a car trip in a Cadillac, traveling from Switzerland to the Sudan. Among them are Paul Christopher, an American operative; Kalash el Khatar, the seven-foot-tall Muslim prince; Ilona Bentley, the beautiful half-English, half-Hungarian girlfriend of the British national, Nigel Collins; and Tadeusz Miernik, the shy and bumbling Polish scientist who might be the leader of a terror force that could set the Cold War aflame.

Related as a collection of dossier notes written by the five characters, the novel reveals a complicated web in which each spins his or own deception: each is a spider, and each is a spy.

©1973 Charles McCarry (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Miernik Dossier

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

McCarry arrives at Audible

At last! And I hope it is the first of the many books by this literate espionage novelist we will be able to hear. In this, his first novel, McCarry chose a difficult technique - multiple points of view on the same subject - and carried it off beautifully.

The use of a fine cast of multiple readers makes the audio performance of this book even more powerful than the print version I first read many years ago.

Set in the Cold War, the story is, in turn, antic and poignant as the attention of half a dozen security agencies focuses on Thaddeus Miernik. Is he a hapless stooge or a clever spymaster, an unlovely martyr to misfortune or a crafty mastermind?

A CIA agent who worked undercover in his youth, McCarry brings the ring of authenticity to his novels - and the missteps, mistakes and misunderstandings that shape covert work form the heart of his tales.

There is plenty of action in this unlikely journey of friends and spies across the African desert, but the mysteries take shape in the mind games that play out in the interaction of the characters and the off-screen forces that influence, examine and direct their actions.

This book introduces McCarry's virtuous and cerebral American spy Paul Christopher and launches a series of intriguing novels that will span decades - both in the writing of them and the context of events that play out through the cycle of this remarkable author's work.

McCarry has been compared favorably to the best of Greene and LeCarre, and his talent shows even in this first novel.

Listen to it, enjoy it, and join me in waiting anxiously for the Audible versions of McCarry's "The Better Angels," "The Tears of Autumn," and the latest - "The Old Boys."

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The American John leCarre

Charles McCarry is the great American spy novelist. There are few guns and the violence is rare enough to be visceral. The protagonist, Paul Christopher, walks in the gray between doubt and faith. The story is a drive along the fault line of Cold War antagonism, but it is made across a continent by a motley crew in a Cadillac, and has the feel of an Ealing Studios production.

Still. It holds, not as an artifact but as the first steps of an American master.

The performance is pitch perfect: strong, smart, weary and passionate.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A thrilling journal

Would you listen to The Miernik Dossier again? Why?

Yes, this is sort of a book that the end doesn’t matter, it’s the journey (no pun intended) that counts.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Definitely Miernik, his add demeanor had kind of…. a je ne sais quoi about him.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I loved this 4 narrators combination, it felt like a radio performance of years gone by.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, definitely yes.

Any additional comments?

It is the first time I have listened to book in a journal style comprised of reports & debriefings. I was expecting it to be a very long 10 hours.To my surprise, I couldn’t put it down, at times I sat in the car long after my arrival to hear a few more minutes of this fascinating account of those add friends in their strange journey. McCarry weaves this espionage plot in an ingenious way; he has this “picturesque” way to describe the players and events. The narrators, 4 in total, did an excellent job “acting” the parts of each of the characters and reading the dossier in a dry non involved manner.
I would strongly recommend listening to this book

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Just Weird

I love spy novels, but this is like listening to a bunch of bureaucrats explain a series of events in a congressional hearing. It's confusing and boring.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Captures the paranoia

Well written and very well read. It captures both the naivite and the paranoia of the era quite well. Is he or isn't he a spy/enemy agent? Story told through "official" documents and debriefings is an excellent vehicle for a taut plot. Different from the usual cold-war spy thriller and well worth the listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

All Star Cast of Voice Talent

The book draws you In and it burns very slow.

The only thing that could be a turn-off is that I am astonished at how Tax Payer dollars are spent by CIA if this book is true to life. A slimy and quite worthless communist basically and can push everybody's buttons and make everyone go to extremes to catch him in the act. Read the book and see. Maybe it is better to have no CIA and just shoot the enemies and let god sort them out later. You'll see.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This book was something else. . .

I'd guess any secret agent would have to be paranoid if they read it. I've heard numerous other books using the parallel story format, but all these characters were really interesting and the narrators added a lot to the fun. Unfortunately it's harder to skip past all the unnecessary musical interludes listening on an iphone vs. the really user-friendly little ipods. I still love my little ipods and continue to use them every chance I get.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creative story structure

I appreciated the unique structure of the story, told from a series of intel dossier reports. The story itself was good (not great), but the approach and good performance by the voice actors made it a pleasure to listen to.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Confusing

Too many characters to keep up with .
I had to start over 3 times to keep the characters straight

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An American LeCarre

This book reminds me of nothing so much as my first experience with John le Carre. Excellently drawn characters, believable dialogue, compelling plot lines, and an extraordinary capture of the atmosphere of time and place that are true to the geopolitical situation of the time. The author gradually reveals the many levels of practical and moral ambiguity of the situation on the ground, and for the main characters through their choices and actions. The literary device of telling the story as through a reading of a case file rather than the more traditional narrative structure works very well in this novel. Finally, I found the narration greatly increased my enjoyment of the novel. I cannot complement the voice actors highly enough.