Cold Victory

Blackstone Audio. Jan. 2024. 10:34 hrs. ISBN 9798212906746. $24.95. F
Marlantes (Matterhorn; Deep River) delves into the intricacies of post–World War II alliances in this tense historical novel with the feel of a political thriller. Americans Arnie and Louise Koski arrive in Finland at the end of 1946 for their first diplomatic posting, unsure of what awaits them. As both the United States and the Soviet Union wrangle for political and ideological control of the war-torn country, the Koskis begin a tentative friendship with their Russian counterparts, Mikhail Bobrov and Natalya Bobrova. A friendly bet and a naive idea plunge all four into unexpected danger. Narrator Bronson Pinchot juggles accents and intonations masterfully as he represents the quartet of main characters and the wider international scope of the early Cold War. The dialogue and action have Pinchot indicating the use of three or even four languages within a single scene. Pinchot also excels at contrasting Louise’s innocence and frequent thoughtlessness with Natalya’s wary tight control of herself. Listeners will be on the edge of their seat as the web of paranoia and brinksmanship pulls tighter around them.
VERDICT Recommended for those who love the tense action of Matthew Quirk’s The Night Agent and Stella Rimington’s The Devil’s Bargain.
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