An Agent of Deceit (The Ben Webster Spy Series Book 2)


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Before long Webster finds himself fixated by Malin and by his front man Richard Lock. But how far is he willing to risk the wellbeing of his family? And that of Lock himself? Meanwhile Lock finds himself under pressure to explain to the world how he - a simple lawyer - came to be one of Russia's largest investors. Desperate to seek a haven with the wife he lost years before, Lock realises that he must now take action - but his options are fast running out.

Against a background of Moscow, London and Berlin a journey of impossible decisions begins.

  • An Agent of Deceit!
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See more book details 10 May I loved for once reading a book that did not have a single damsel in distress or one with content that left me skipping pages left and right. Admittedly, the first page of The Silent First Sentence: Admittedly, the first page of The Silent Oligarch did not interest me and left me feeling a little worried over how the rest of the book was going to go. Even so, I kept reading and the story and Mr. Jones' writing really picked up and began to pull me into the story and the lives of the two main characters.

The more I read the more invested in the outcome I became. While the mystery of who was pulling the strings was kind of vague-up until the very end- I had my personal theories, and I must say that I nearly spot on. I would tell you what my theory was and the conclusion, but then the whole entire outcome would be exposed and that is the last things I want to do to ya'll. I'll just say this, it was well written from beginning to end and kind of stressful at times as both characters very nearly met their end at one point or another throughout the book.

I really liked how all the details slowly painted the full picture of corruption in Russia-in the book-and how the big the scope of Malin's empire was. I was also intrigues to see how exactly Lock fit into the whole scheme and what his role was. While the plot and story building were really good, what really makes this book is Lock and Webster and the changes that are wrought in the both of them as their stories progress.

At first I did not care for either Lock or Webster, the two main characters of the book. I thought that Lock was a weak willed character with absolutely no chance of breaking out of the life that he had come to be a part of. I know that probably sounds mean, but it's the truth.

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I did not think that he would ever get the nerve to try and walk a better path, so I pleasantly surprised when he started to evolve and get a backbone. As for why I did not care for Webster in the beginning, well, let's just put it down to he was not very likable at first. But as the story progressed and you saw how what he did affected him and the way he thought I could not help but start to warm up to him.

I loved the fact the he had doubts as to whether what he did was actually helping or hurting those that he got involved with. In short, both characters go from being kind of meh, to ones you want to see survive the ordeal that they currently found themselves in. What I really liked best about The Silent Oligarch would have to be how the tension slowly built through out the book. By the time I hit the half-way point in the book I did not want to sit it aside because I needed to know how things were going to turn out for both Lock and Webster, which meant that I was not much company on New Year's Eve because I wanted to finish the book before the year ended.

While I really did enjoy reading The Silent Oligarch there are two things that very nearly made me throw the book across the room in disgust.

The Silent Oligarch

My first and biggest problem with this book would have to be how the Lord's name was taken in vain. I was really enjoying the story and then the characters started throwing around the Lord's name left in right and not in a reverent manner. This irks me to no end while reading. The other thing I did not like was there was bit more language then I had originally thought there was going to be, though it was not nearly as bad as my first complaint.

These two reasons are why this is not a five pineapple read. Review taken from my blog, The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia. If not the originator of espionage novels, he has taken the genre to a challenging new level. Very few - perhaps Alan Furst and Joseph Kanon - justify the claim. But now here is a new name delivering a first novel of quite stunning achievement.

Chris Morgan Jones postulates a pernicious enmity between two men of unimaginable wealth. One, Konstantin Malin, is a Russian oligarch manipulating dubious deals in oil and gas. Ben Webster is employed by a British investigation firm who are hired to bring down Malin. Webster identifies Lock as his target. Inexorably, the two men are drawn together. The plot works, the detail is convincing, the tension scrupulously controlled, the conclusion implicit throughout but ultimately still surprising. What takes the comparison further is the quality of the writing and the sharpness of the observation.

The relationship between Lock and his wife - an estranged couple who are striving to find a way to mend their relationship - is portrayed with almost painful insight. An Agent of Deceit is as much about human frailty as it is about a shadowy world of money and power. No doubt Chris Morgan Jones will live comfortably for a while on the proceeds from a remarkable book; his readers will hope it is the first of many.

Apr 30, Richard rated it it was amazing. This is the first novel written by Mr. Jones, following an year career working "at the world's largest business intelligence agency. It explores a sinister unexplored world where the wealthy buy the justice they want and the silence they need. The mai This is the first novel written by Mr. The main character is Richard Lock, an English lawyer who has spent many years in Moscow at the bidding of the Russian mafia and has been well rewarded financially.

It is his job to hide all the transactions taking place and launder the money in the process. When his world begins to fall apart, and his friends begin to die in strange ways, he believes that he will be next -- and tries to find a way out. The story is seen through the eyes of these two characters.

I thought the book was very well written with a style similar to John Le Carre. The book describes how a maze of offshore companies might be used for money laundering.

I found this interesting if a little text book like. The author really conveys a mood of menace and gives a good description of the moral dilemmas facing Webster and Lock. However I found the pace too slow and the plot lacked excitement. Three and a half stars. For such a busy and intricate plot, the author did a very nice job keeping his writing, crisp and clean so that you could follow and fully understand what was happening. But then I kept expecting there to be more exciting events that would bring peaks to the story line but they never came. He also did a nice job of getting you to connect with the main characters, but not enough to be emotionally invested, which is what keeps me turning the page with enthusiasm.

Overall, it was a book that was nice enough when I was reading it, but a book I had to remember to pick up to continue. Jul 10, Crystal rated it it was amazing Shelves: All in all a great, but different, book.

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Received as a goodread, thank you! Feb 14, Liz Lipperman rated it really liked it. I don't normally read thrillers, preferring lighter mysteries, but the premise of this book intrigued me. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but I also got a great history lesson as a bonus. The author weaved his fast paced plot through Russia, London, Berlin, and the Riviera and carried me right along with him. By the time I hit the halfway mark, I began to wonder why it has taken me so long to read this genre.

If The Silent Oligarch is representative of the genre, count me in for more, espec I don't normally read thrillers, preferring lighter mysteries, but the premise of this book intrigued me. If The Silent Oligarch is representative of the genre, count me in for more, especially if they're penned by Mr. Jun 26, Elizabeth Sulzby rated it really liked it. Here is what I wrote about this book on Facebook in lieu of a review: In his first novel, "The Silent Oligarch," Penguin, author Chris Morgan Jones has an investigator character say the following about money laundering from Russia which will make much sense to Rachel Maddow Friends: All money flows through the States, just about.

Let me tell you something. In Manhattan, southern district, on an ugly stretch of wall in th Here is what I wrote about this book on Facebook in lieu of a review: In Manhattan, southern district, on an ugly stretch of wall in the Assistant U. Attorney's office, there's a big poster showing the Milky Way. And underneath, it reads, 'Jurisdiction of the Southern District of Manhattan. Or fiction mirrors life.

See why Rachel knows the southern district of Manhattan is tied to everything? Mar 11, Gordon Gauss rated it really liked it. This is unlike any book I have read. With all the talk of collusion and Russian meddling I thought this would be something to help me understand the way the Russians are involved in business around the world.

I would recommend that you read it in chunks and don't spend too much time away between reads. Easy to get confused on who is dealing with who.

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Jul 28, Chris Hayes rated it liked it. The premise, taking down a seemingly untouchable political figure, feels very current and was excited to read how the "good guys" would accomplish the task.

The story was good but the payoff didn't seem enough or too pessimistic. Interests to read more if the author's book to see how he builds the character of Webster. Really enjoyed this, right up to the end, even though it didn't finish as I'd hoped, still a great story! Probably the best novel I've read in Feb 08, Paperback Dolls rated it really liked it Shelves: Previously posted at Paperback Dolls. In our case — Oil. We are also introduced to three main characters: Konstantin Malin has reached the top position within the Ministry of Natural Resources — a simple government bureaucrat, no?

In fact, thanks to his frontman Richard Lock he has been laundering oil money for years — investing and making money abroad and then bringing it right back into Russia. Thanks to some shady dealings with another shady businessmen — the secrets these two men have been trying to hide might just be about to explode across the front pages of the international media. Which is how we get to Benjamin Webster — in the days just before the end of the Cold War he was a young journalist trying to make a name for himself. An incident involving a young Russian colleague who was asking one too many questions led him to leave Russia behind.

Slowly building up the suspense and the drama to a masterful finish. The POV changes every chapter or so between Webster and Lock so you get the sense that each of them, in a way, takes on that role. No black and white heroes and villains here — and it was in the grey areas that this book excels. The POV changes also served to show the reader the similarities and contrasts between these two complex characters. In one chapter we see Webster with his family, the interactions with his wife and children. For both Webster and Lock the outcome of the Malin case will serve as a turning point and for each one there are moments when they wish they could just turn their back on it all and disappear.

Then there is the Silent Oligarch himself — Malin. As the book moves forward we learn more about his motives and how Lock came to become the man he is today. I should add that there is another character that has a very important role in this book — Russia herself. Jones has a unique style and has written a brilliant tale of suspense — for the post-Cold War reader. Feb 05, Mal Warwick rated it really liked it Shelves: His front man is an English expat lawyer in Moscow, Richard Lack, whose Russian wife and child have left him for the less morally ambiguous clime of London.

Enter Ben Webster, a former journalist posted to Russia now employed at a significantly higher salary by a private, London-based intelligence agency. The truth begins leaking out, and even the FBI becomes interested in the case. Tension builds as both Lack and Webster are tormented by their seeming helplessness in the face of the unfolding events, and the suspense never lets up despite minimal violence.

The jarring conclusion will surprise all but the most insightful of readers. This is a book written for readers, not for Hollywood. With scenes set largely in such colorful places — the Kremlin, the Riviera, and luxurious hotels in Berlin and London — a talented screenwriter might manage to fit this twisted tale into the confines of a filmscript, but the interior dialogue that forms the heart of this novel would very likely be lost. The Silent Oligarch by Chris Morgan Jones is a fictional book about those in the shadows which hold the strings of power. The company is a front to launder money in a complex web which enables Malin to control the Russian oil industry.

When a competitor tries to destroy Malin, Lock finds himself stuck in the middle. For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: Jan 25, Jodi rated it really liked it. For a first book, Chris Morgan Jones writes like a seasoned professional. He weaves a story that draws the reader into the world of money laundering and the iron fists that rule.

Konstantin Malin is a key player with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Russia controlling half of the oil industry. He is a diabolical and ruthless man who controls his underlings like puppets on a string, praising them for a job well done or mercilessly punishing them for not living up to his expectations.

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The Silent Oligarch Ben Webster, 1 3. All are important and exciting to read; it's a trend that's akin to what happened in the sci-fi pulp fiction of earlier eras, the glory days of Phillip K. The POV changes every chapter or so between Webster and Lock so you get the sense that each of them, in a way, takes on that role. But wait, does this nefarious plot go all the way to Putin? I know that probably sounds mean, but it's the truth. Jones' writing really picked up and began to pull me into the story and the lives of the two main characters. Anyone paying attention to the billion dollar ups and downs of the oil and natural gas industry in Russia heard of Sakhalin?

Richard Lock is a money launderer working for Malin selling companies to investors by making promises that are not met. Aristotle Tourna bought a company with promised licenses for oil and gas exploration. When the deal was complete, Tourna found the licenses had been transferred to another company.

Tourna was enraged by this and hires Ikerru, an international corporate intelligence firm to bring down Malin. As Webster pursues leads talking to people connected to Malin and his shady dealings, his contacts begin dying.

Chris Morgan Jones writes from knowledge. He has worked advising Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, banking and mining companies in Africa. Although this is his first novel, he proves a talent for writing that will have the reader turning pages as fast as they can. I highly recommend this read for fans of international intrigue and spy thrillers. Reviewed by Jodi Hanson for Suspense Magazine Apr 08, Keith Currie rated it really liked it. It has become something of a common-place to promote new authors in the thriller espionage genre by considering them as the successor to John Le Carre.

This is the first such comparison in my experience which carries weight. An Agent of Deceit is really quite remarkable. Its focus on the financial machinations of Russian oligarchs is one which most people know very little about, but Chris Morgan Jones is quite convincing in his depiction of this sinister and dangerous world.

The book is very wel It has become something of a common-place to promote new authors in the thriller espionage genre by considering them as the successor to John Le Carre. The book is very well written; its tone deepens and darkens with an ever growing sense of menace; its characterisation and development of plot are realistic and rooted in credibility, yet taut and dramatic.

There is a constant sense of shifting sands, of not being aware of who the mice are and who the cats the plural is deliberate , and there are a number of unexpected twists and turns. The novel is gritty and pessimistic like Le Carre , but sweeps the reader on in a complex but gripping plot.

Who in the end is the agent of deceit? Is it the investigative Ben Webster who blames himself for much of what happens? Is it Richard Lock, the money-laundering front man? Or is it Konstantin Malin himself, the enigmatic oligarch? The novel is thought-provoking, original and prompts me to hope for more from this able and talented author. I thought this was a very good book. It is well written, carefully researched and very gripping in the end. Chris Morgan Jones writes of what he knows - the world of industrial intelligence, in which he has worked for many years - and it shows very clearly in the narrative.

The story involves the attempt to unmask the criminal activities of a billionaire Russian oil oligarch. It is detailed, intricate and in a way it is slow-paced, but I found it involving and convincing and I never felt bored or I thought this was a very good book. It is detailed, intricate and in a way it is slow-paced, but I found it involving and convincing and I never felt bored or that the story was dragging.

There is a limited amount of action and certainly no fast car chases, but a growing sense of menace and an interesting and illuminating story made this a gripping thriller. I also found the denouement very plausible, which is something of a rarity and a real bonus in a thriller. Jones's characters are generally believable and his prose is excellent: There is some rather heavy-handed stuff about What Is Really Important In Life, but overall I thought this an involving, interesting and enjoyable read. Jan 11, Agnes rated it really liked it Shelves: