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Literature / Palace of Treason

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Palace of Treason is the 2015 sequel to Jason Matthews's 2013 novel Red Sparrow.

Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow. She despises the men she serves, the oligarchs, and crooks, and thugs of Putin's Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington's most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

As she expertly dodges exposure, Dominika deals with a murderously psychotic boss; survives an Iranian assassination attempt; escapes a counterintelligence ambush; rescues an arrested agent and exfiltrates him out of Russia; and has a chilling midnight conversation in her nightgown with President Putin. Complicating these risks is the fact that Dominika is in love with her CIA handler, Nate Nash, and their lust is as dangerous as committing espionage in Moscow. And when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika's name on a restricted list of sources, it is a virtual death sentence...

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A sequel, titled The Kremlin's Candidate, will be released in 2018, which will conclude the Sparrow Trilogy.


  • Bookends/Where It All Began: The novel starts with Dominika in Paris recruiting an Iranian nuclear analyst. It ends with her killing Zyuganov there.
  • Darker and Edgier/Serial Escalation: The stakes are much, much higher this time around for Dominika as a double agent now under direct scrutiny from Putin, as well as from her new boss Zyuganov. Dominika comes close to getting killed more than once throughout the story, and isn't able to spend time with Nate as often.
  • False Flag Operation: When Dominika re-establishes contact with Nate while she's handling an Iranian asset involved with Russia helping Iran go nuclear, Nate pretends to be a Moscow nuclear analyst to confirm what the Iranian knows. Under orders from the CIA, he records the interview secretly, but later decides to let Dominika know that he did so they could coordinate a way to sabotage the transaction between Iran and Russia.
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  • For Want of a Nail: The Americans make a plan to sabotage the Iranians' nuclear facility by replacing certain minor components secretly.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Dominika catching Putin's eye and getting more involved in his affairs, she and Nate don't spend as much time together as they used to in the previous novel.
  • Title Drop: During a meeting with Nate, Forsyth, Gable and Benford, Dominika describes her government in Russian as Dvorets v Izmene, which Nate translates to "Palace of Treason" for the benefit of his colleagues.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Both Nate and Dominika sleep with other people during the course of the story. Considering the awkward state of their relationship in the first place, it hardly makes things any less complicated for them; though Dominika does turn slightly jealous when she learns that the woman Nate slept with is her CIA contact in Moscow.


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