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Red To Black (Anna Resnikov #1)

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  625 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
A spy thriller, a love story and a chilling look at a resurgent superpower...

At the dawn of the new millennium, Finn, an MI6 spy, and Anna, a colonel of the KGB, have been sent to spy on each other. Instead they find a love that becomes to only truth they can trust. A source deep within the Kremlin tells Finn of a plan, hatched in the depths of the Cold War, to dismantle t
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by Headline
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Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
LeCarre in love! This is one of those books you hate to put down. It combines a riveting spy tale with a love story, offers a chilling portrait of how today’s Russia came to be and should scare the bejesus out of everyone. She is KGB, from a family of KGB. He is MI6, from a family of hippies. She is assigned to keep tabs on him. He spends a lot of time in Russia picking up information from an asset code-named Mikhail. Can two spies ever be really honest with each other? In his quest to learn the ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Finn is a veteran MI6 operative stationed in Moscow. In the guise of an amiable trade secretary, he has penetrated deep into the dangerous labyrinth that is Russia under Vladimir Putin to discover some of its darkest secrets, thanks to a high-level source deep within the Kremlin.

The youngest female colonel in the KGB, Anna is the ambitious daughter of one of the former Soviet Union's elite espionage families. Charged with helping to make Russia strong agai
Kara Jorges
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
If you’ve been craving a moody, Russian tragedy cloaked as a thriller, I recommend this book. However, anyone craving any actual action or a cohesive story is in for a disappointment. The book has plenty of intriguing factors, but its protagonist is the least interesting character within and she does little but ruminate and reminisce about whatever everyone else is doing.

It was the end of the cold war when Anna, an attractive KGB agent often used as a honey trap, meets Finn, an MI6 agent station
Theresa Leone Davidson
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
An interesting although somewhat less than suspenseful story of a woman who works for the Russian intelligence service and a man who works for MI6 in England. They become involved in the so called 'new' Russia led by Vladimir Putin, which is really the subject of this book, and its connection to the old Cold War Russia. A very scary book when you realize the premise is that nothing has really changed for the better in Russia, and that the author, who is a journalist using a pseudonym to write th ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superior spy thriller that is strong reminiscent of John Le Carre. It's let down by the unfortunate decision to make the point of view character a female Russian FSB colonel. No matter how well Dryden writes her - and he does a respectable job - she was never going to be convincing enough to tell the story.

What makes the book very well worth reading is its chilling take on Putin and his KGB connections. The plot is set up to make that point and does so in alarming and plausible style.
Michael Martz
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alex Dryden's 'Red to Black' is a detailed account of the origin of his Anna Resnikov series, narrated by the then KGB officer as she begins the relationship with a male British spy that sets it all in motion. Can enemy spies fall in love? That seems to be the question over the first 2/3 of the book, and when finally answered things move quickly.

The plot is fairly complex. Finn, the British spy, has been in place in Moscow for an extended period. The Russians successfully use a beautiful KGB ag
Linda C
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
Not such a great read, although there are some things I admire about the book.

I love John Le Carre's books & expected this to be somewhat like The Russia House which has a similar love story at its center, although moved forward in time. & maybe that was the root of my problem with this book - I wanted it to be as good as Le Carre & it just wasn't. It also wasn't enough of its own thing to be very enjoyable.

Set in Putin's Russia, this could have been an excellent novel filled with in
Aug 21, 2010 rated it liked it
"This basically is a warning of a Russian threat to world economy disguised in a novel. It's not what I would call an espionage thriller. The meat is factually presented and while there are elements of romance and espionage in the story, it's more readable as non-fiction aimed at those who are seeking a deeper understanding of today's Russia." From an Amazon review that I agree with. Scary thinking that Putin and former KGB have large amounts of capitol to finance whatever they want to control a ...more
It was okay but far from good. The writing was unimaginative with large swathes of expository dialogue, the love story unconvincing, characters underdeveloped and choice of narrator unfortunate. There may be a good story here but it's not told particularly well.
Christine Zibas
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The background of this book is more scary than the storyline. For anyone who thinks the Cold War is over, this thriller will do a significant job of dispelling that notion. For insight into Vladimir Putin and the new Russia, don't miss this captivating novel.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book is hard to understand at times, but the gist is that there are two spies Finn (MI-6) and Anna (SVR) that have entered into a relationship in the service of their countries, but end up in love (sigh).

That not the real story, though. The real story is hardly fiction. It tells of Putin and his cronies robbing Russia of its future in the post-USSR post-Yeltsin days. It shows that patriotism that the Russian leaders desire of others really doesn't apply to them. The circle of men around Put
Nicole Lamberson
Aug 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. The library listed it as books to read if you enjoy The Americans, which I really do, and I listened to the audio book while at work. I wasn't sure at first if I didn't like the person reading it or if it was the book itself. As time went on, I discovered it was both but the content more than anything. It's poorly written and doesn't make a lot of sense. It also includes gems such as "He grinned, frowning," and "He jumped for joy. If he had four legs, all of them woul ...more
Chuck Heikkinen
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
A beautiful Soviet spy, Anna, meets a devil-may-care Irish/UK spy, Finn. The novel unfolds between past and present, and is mainly written in first-person from Anna's perspective as she searches for Finn. There is sexual tension throughout. Most interesting to me was the inclusion of Vladimir Putin and his rise to power, along with his not-so-democratic plans for the future. Great spycraft!
Mark Hanson
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Overdrive New Books
Two spies, spying on each other, falling in love, and both basically defecting from espionage life. Not quite a happy ending, but fairly realistic. Some physical relationships, little language, but moves a good pace and never really felt slow.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Many confusing characters.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do like this when I am still starting on the book but while reading in the middle up to the end, I question myself why I am still reading this. There are more books like this that are more better.
Miraj (Papyrus) Khaled
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading this in 2017; and you wonder if you're reading a fictional novel, or a historical account!!!
Neil Crocker
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
An implausible, kind of boring, spy love story with a bad ending.
Tim Corke
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely stunning - a fictional story but scarily resonant in today's turbulent world.
Ailie Vuper
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: facebook-reviews
Red To Black starts smoothly with the narrative of Anna, a once rising star in the SVR, the new name of the dreaded KGB. She is narrating the story while she is in exile, off the radar. She starts with her meeting Finn, the British Second Secretary of the Trade and Investment based out of Moscow. She moves gradually to the development of a relationship between them, her own life as born into an elite political family of Russia, her special relationship with her grandmother - Nana. During the cou ...more
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, fiction
Red to Black by Alex Dryden is a story about what has happened in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. The story centers around two characters, Finn and Anna. Finn was with MI6 and Anna with the KGB, and the two have developed a romantic relationship.

The story opens with Anna sitting in a basement reading journals, trying to find Finn. The entire book is told from her point of view, which gets a little bit odd at points. For instance, there are moments where the story is only about Finn at
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: spy, romance
Anna - Russian spy, a colonel... Finn - a British spy... Finn has been in Russia a long time - he has a high level contact (aka Mikhail), and the Russian KGB wants to know who - Anna is assigned to find out... it is 2000, and a change in the Russian regime - with Putin, a KGB man as president... The story is told by Anna, who after Finn's disappearance, is reading through his journals...

And from the beginning, there is little subtefuge between them - they are as honest as 2 spies might be with o
Dec 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Laced with errors in tense, misplaced modifiers, and bogged down in minutiae, Red to Black is the slowest read I've endured in a long time. It is marketed as a thriller, a spy story, a love story, and according to Emma Thompson "unputdownable". Stephen Fry says it is "brilliant and unforgettable" "compulsively readable" "nothing short of miraculous". My experience of this novel was so completely different that I am left to wonder if these reviews are invented like the stories in the book made up ...more
After The Sentinels, I just didn't have the patience to actually get through this one. I didn't even get 100 pages in before I gave up on it. Despite the larger font and even larger margins, it was like sludging through molasses and when you get to a point where you're dreading to pick up and read anymore of a book, it's time to stop reading it.

It was nearly pure exposition up until my stopping point, and nonlinear at that. The stories the MC kept telling were jumping all over the time line and
Michael Drakich
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ron Leighton
A lot of excellent detail that sadly didn't add up to a good story.

I picked up this novel at my local bookstore without having read anything about it before. With all that was happening in the Ukraine at the time, I thought this might be an enjoyable book.

There is no doubt that the author did his homework when drafting this novel. There is a depth of knowledge regarding European politics, places and people that shines through the writing. The romantic sub-plot between the two main characters was
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a spy story. It begins in 1999 and walks us through some of the background of Putin's rise to power and how he's consolidated it.

The heroine, Anna, is a colonel in Russia's foreign intelligence. The hero, Finn, is an M16 operative. They meet and begin an affair with Anna's superiors' approval. She's supposed to dig into what Finn's after.

Finn's own superiors have lost confidence in him. Eventually, they forbid him to continue chasing down information about The Plan. No matter that men ha
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I decided it's not worth thinking about as much, though Dryden's prose is essentially accurate as far as I can discern, though it doesn't describe any sources, which sets off warning bells to me. Maybe my low opinion is jaded by the amount of Marxist-Leninist literature I have read that does have ties to other resources (three-quarters of which I haven't detailed on Goodreads from sheer laziness) which doesn't have secret agent overtones.

I don't want to declare that a female KGB agent is unlikel
Mar 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I have been craving an old style thriller, so it was great to stumble across Red to Black by Alex Dryden. I grew up reading John Le Carre's Cold War thrillers, so it was a little nostalgic, but of course the political landcape has changed. Putin is in charge now and the Communist "red" is being replaced by the capitalist "black". Finn is a British spy and Anna is a KGB Colonel. Anna lures Finn in a "honey trap" but the relationship actually works for them despite the complications of their lives ...more
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Alex Dryden is a writer and journalist with many years of experience in security matters. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Dryden watched the statues of Lenin fall across the former Soviet Union. Since then he has charted the false dawn of democracy in Russia as the country has transformed into the world's most powerful secret state
More about Alex Dryden

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“his face to the pavement but his eyes looking” 0 likes
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