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The Silent Oligarch (Ben Webster #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  403 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
“A happy partner to the work of Deighton, Archer, and le Carré... carried on craftily understated prose that approaches cold poetry… a first-class novel." (Booklist, starred review)

Racing between London and Moscow, Kazakstan and the Caymans, The Silent Oligarch reveals a sinister unexplored world where the wealthy buy the justice they want—and the silence they need. Here
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Penguin Press (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 859)
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Jaden Terrell
Jul 09, 2012 Jaden Terrell rated it really liked it
I would say THE SILENT OLIGARCH is an excellent first novel, except that it doesn't have the feel of a first novel. It's much better than that. Author Chris Morgan Jones spent eleven years working for the world's leading business intelligence agency, and his in-depth knowledge of corporate espionage gives credibility and weight to the book. THE SILENT OLIGARCH has a complex plot and a large cast, both of which are necessary to the portrayal of the shadowy webs of intrigue that take place around ...more
Ian Young
An Agent of Deceit is an intelligent and convincing thriller set in the world of international finance. The story is told alternatively from the perspective of two lead characters.

Lock is a Dutch lawyer, brought up in the UK, who is employed by a shadowy Russian businessman. Over the course of a decade or so finds himself irrevocably tied to an increasingly complex network of companies whose chief purpose appears to be to disguise the passage of large sums of money originating somewhere in Russ
Kathleen McFall
May 27, 2012 Kathleen McFall rated it really liked it
A Distinctive Debut

Of late, I've noted a nascent theme embedded in some new fiction writing, especially the thriller/suspense variety: a scathing critique of capitalism, in particular, its human impact. It's not a surprise, I suppose, to see a vanguard of contemporary American fiction seeking to make sense of the most pressing intellectual topic in society today - the literary manifestations of the Tea Party and Occupy movements.

This new work is in some cases fantastical with authors honed into
Andy Plonka
Jan 24, 2012 Andy Plonka rated it it was amazing
I'm not a big fan of spy novels and international intrigue. and this book has both. The first two thirds were slow going for me as the author set up the various parts of the plot. The last third of the book flew by as the characters met their various fates and I found myself understanding and enjoying what I had decided was not my kind of book. This one was published in Great Britain as Act of Deceit so if you enjoyed the British book this is the same thing, different title.
Keith Currie
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 ...more
Michael Griswold
Jul 30, 2013 Michael Griswold rated it did not like it
I hate not liking books. My Amazon history will tell people that. And I really hated not liking The Silent Oligarch because it had virtually everything a good political thriller would need: a shadowy bureaucrat nestled deep inside the Kremlin, a dummy corporation that makes the connected very wealthy a lawyer meant to be the perfect fall guy, and a tireless journalist still smarting from the murder of his friend, years earlier. All of the motivations seem plausable, and parts of the book do suck ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Orchid rated it really liked it
First Sentence:
"High in the air Webster watches the unbroken desert flow past, a deep copper red in the dawn, the sand ridged like waves rolling down toward the south."

What me to want to read The Silent Oligarch was the premise of a good old-fashion mystery/thriller. Did it make the cut, in that respect yes it did.
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
Gerald Sinstadt
Jul 13, 2011 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
John Le Carré casts a long shadow. If not the originator of espionage novels, he has taken the genre to a challenging new level. Books by other authors regularly emerge invoking the Le Carré name as recommendation. 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
May 25, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel written by Mr. Jones, following an 11-year career working "at the world's largest business intelligence agency." He has drawn heavily on his experiences advising Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds, and African mining companies.

The story quickly moves between London, Moscow, Kazakhstan and the Cayman Islands. It explores a sinister unexplored world where the wealthy buy the justice they want and the silence they need. The mai
Michael Drysdale
This financial/espionage thriller is about a shady Greek businessman’s attempt to destroy a Russian oligarch, Malin. This is done by employing British investigator Ben Webster who decides to investigate the oligarch’s front man, Dutch lawyer Richard Lock. 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 inte
Aug 02, 2012 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: firstread
This is a different type of spy/industrial espionage book. It’s so much more plausible than the others I have read and the characters are created as realistic people, they are not simply one sided and mysterious.

The book drags a little in some parts, as if it could have been a bit shorter and not quite so detailed, but at the same time I think that’s part of what makes it so realistic. And despite that I still felt myself wanting more detail, not about the land scape which was constantly talked
Michelle (tinyturtle88)
I felt this book to be a 2 1/2 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 enthusia ...more
Liz Lipperman
Feb 14, 2012 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 ...more
Keith Currie
Apr 08, 2016 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 ...more
Sid Nuncius
Dec 23, 2015 Sid Nuncius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Looking for a book that is interesting, compelling and enjoyable? This first novel fits the bill. A tautly told tale of a shady financial world, Russian corruption, and action-filled intrigue, this book will please the discriminating reader of international malfeasance and the struggle to prove and prosecute it. Woven into the plot are pictures of the damage to personal life caused by losing oneself in work, no matter how admirable the motives. In contrast, the emptiness and loneliness of an ill ...more
Mal Warwick
Feb 05, 2012 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
A Refreshingly Original Thriller About International Intrigue with Minimal Violence

If you imagine today’s Russia to be in the grips of gun-toting mafiyas bound by their own Slavic brand of omerta and competing with Mexican drug cartels to rack up impressive body counts, you’ll be set straight by this thoroughly credible tale of high-level skullduggery based in Moscow and played out in London, Berlin, and the Riviera. In The Silent Oligarch, Chris Morgan Jones’ debut in the world of present-day e
Zohar -
Mar 02, 2012 Zohar - rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
The Silent Oligarch by Chris Morgan Jones is a fictional book about those in the shadows which hold the strings of power.

English lawyer Richard Lock owns a company, but the Russian oligarch Konstatin Malin owns Lock. 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 the first time in his life Lock is being pushed to the edge in a very dangerous game
Paperback Dolls
Previously posted at Paperback

My dad says that since the end of the Cold War, two things will never be the same again: James Bond movies and espionage/suspense books. This has often been the truth – I mean lets face it, it’s hard to find a good villain in this day and age and without the east/west division Berlin has just become a rather boring place for drop-boxes.

Which is why I was very excited and intrigued when I received the opportunity to review The Silent Oligarch by Christopher
Jan 16, 2012 Agnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advanced reading copy of this book through GoodReads. Good thing, because this novel is a bit outside of the typical genre that I normally read and I may have passed it over otherwise. It was a great read! I was a bit worried that a thriller about global business would be less than thrilling, but I think that the author did a great job setting the scene and laying out the intricacies of the business transactions and money laundering in a way that didn’t bore me and that quite frank ...more
Dec 26, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
A thriller of a first time book by Chris Morgan Jones. A British investigator of huge companies and their misdeeds turns writer to explore the world we live in. We are a worldwide economy and there are companies everywhere in the world who need to see the light of day.Ben Webster is an investigating reporter for a company much like the one that Jones worked for. Now we live in an era of corporate malfeasance and exposing some of these crooks has become a full time job for some people.
Mar 13, 2012 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. Richard L
Mar 28, 2012 Doug added it
A story about wealth, Russia, money laundering,life & murder,and trying to determine who is at the top of the food chain. Richard Lock and English lawyer has put together shell corporations to facilitate and hide money flow coming from funds stole in Russia. Konstantin Mailin a Russian bureaucrat seemingly controls a vast empire of stolen funds.

Lock feels threatened when a several agencies start to investigate the paper empire and his life starts to fall apart. Then Benjamin Webester, an in
Jan 29, 2012 Harvey rated it really liked it

Compelling debut.

Journalist-turned-industrial spy Ben Webster is still haunted by the murder of his friend Inessa, a troublemaking investigative reporter back in Russia's bad old days. Does his obsession with revenge cause more harm ten years later?

Richard Lock is a businessman. He makes (lots of) money as frontman for a Russian oil tycoon. Will his quest to (finally) do the right thing succeed, or is he just too naive?

Many so-called "thrillers" go overboard on superhero stunts and gimmicks. Th
Jun 17, 2013 Peter rated it liked it
Financial Thrillers are becoming more and more common but this is the first one I have encountered that deals with off-shore banking and soviet corruption. The story is fairly straight forward: a Greek tycoon believes he has been ripped off by an international finance company controlled by a man he believes to be a Russian mobster. He hires a firm of economic spies to bring the mobster and his beard down. At the heart of this story are the beard, an Irish lawyer who acts as the front for a compl ...more
Lori Paximadis
Feb 08, 2012 Lori Paximadis rated it liked it
7/10. (Yet again wishing for a scale of 10.)

This was entertaining, and the premise was interesting, not the usual fare. I had a hard time getting into the characters' heads, though, and there was a lot of telling, not showing, in the relationships between the characters. The story dragged in spots, but I'm glad that it wasn't all blood and gore and violence, either. The ending felt a little... unsatisfying. Without giving anything away: There is a bit of a twist, but it's not hard to see it comi
John Lison
Jun 01, 2015 John Lison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, weak ending

Had me sitting on the edge of my chair until the end. Sort of dropped off into a pit of wishy washy moralizing. Come to think of it, the moralizing protagonist comes across as wholly incredible. He was out of his depth , a naive bumbler , from the beginning.
Good fun read. Great for passing the time on several long airplane flights I was waking at the time. Scary to think that there might be some people in the world who actually live and behave this way. I'm prepared to believe it (but to a worryingly uncertain degree).
Feb 29, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very enjoyable mystery/spy novel, and one of the things I appreciated most was it's complete lack of salacious content, rare in this genre in modern times. Also appreciated and enjoyed was the humanity of Webster and Lock. There were aspects of their character, both positive and negative, that I could identify with and reflect on in the context of my own life even though I have never experienced the world of a spy or money launderer! A good novel should always encourage self ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Gaby rated it liked it
Set in exotic and upscale locations - think Monaco, Geneva, Moscow, London, and so forth - The Silent Oligarch is an unusual legal and financial thriller. Richard Lock, an ordinary corporate lawyer becomes the front man for Malin, one of the most powerful and wealthiest Russian oligarchs. This has meant quite a lot of perks until things turn bad fast. When Lock finds himself hunted by lawyers, journalists, and courts in connection with a white collar crime investigation, he knows that he's also ...more
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Very authentic 1 2 Aug 25, 2012 03:27PM  
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