Kremlin's Candidate Summary & Study Guide

Jason Matthews
This Study Guide consists of approximately 90 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Kremlin's Candidate.
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Kremlin's Candidate Summary & Study Guide Description

Kremlin's Candidate Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews.

The following version of the novel was used to create this study guide: Matthews, Jason. The Kremlin’s Candidate. Scribner, Feb. 13, 2018. Kindle.

In The Kremlin’s Candidate by Jason Matthews, Matthews paints a picture of the grim reality of spy work as one agent is sacrificed to save another’s life. This novel is the third installment in the Red Sparrow trilogy. Even as double agent Dominika Egorova was climbing the ladder in the SVR and entering the ranks of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s trusted confidantes, there was trouble in the American CIA for which she was a double agent. Putin and Anton Gorelikov, director of the Sekretariat, have concocted a plan to murder the director of the CIA and embed their own double agent in that spot. Dominika and the others raced against the clock to determine the identity of the Russian run mole before he could turn Dominika in as a traitor to her country.

The novel begins with a flashback to the time when Dominika had first earned the rank of operations officer in the SVR. She was called upon, for what she hoped was the last time, to use her skills as a sparrow, a state-trained courtesan, to recruit Audrey Rowland, then a lieutenant junior grade in the US Navy, to work for Russia as a double agent.

The narrator moves forward twelve years during which time Dominika earned the title of colonel and was serving as the chief of the SVR’s counterintelligence agency. She was working on a case in which a North Korean, Ri Sou-yong, had come wanting to share secrets with the Russians about the Korean nuclear program. He told Dominika he did not want to work with the CIA because there were too many problems in that department with too much information leaking out.

Ri’s observation hinted at problems in the CIA, problems that the Russians hoped to make worse. The government and leaders in the CIA were at odds about the purpose of the department but the CIA director, Alexander Larson, had kept the department focused on its job of espionage and stealing secrets, even though some government leaders believed those purposes were barbaric. Russian leaders Putin and Gorelikov arranged for Larson to be killed in what appeared to be a boating accident but was really an assassination. They hoped to replace Larson with their own candidate and double agent, Audrey.

Simon Benford, head of the CIA’s counter surveillance department, learned from Dominika that a Russian double agent was among the three candidates for the director’s position. In an unusual move, the acting director of the CIA ordered that all the nominees receive full information about all the projects being worked on by the different departments of the agency. Benford balked at the order because he knew that by telling the nominees about Dominika, their star spy in Russia, he would be basically ordering her to death. At the same time Benford was setting up what is known by spies as a “barium enema,” (143) Dominika was trying to discover the name of the spy who was among the nominees for CIA director.

When Dominika realized that Audrey, the woman she had seduced so many years prior, was the mole, she had few options to get the information to the Americans in time. In her quest to save herself, Dominika initiated an exfil request, intending to send the name of the double agent back in the unmanned submersible vehicle that would be sent to rescue her. Hoping to talk to Dominika in person, Nathaniel “Nate” Nash, a CIA officer and Dominika’s lover, went to Russia under the guise of a Polish art restorer. Nate was unaware that Benford had identified him as a spy in his barium enema. Benford gave each candidate a different encrypted name referring to Nate. The name given to Audrey was CHALICE. When Dominika reported the name CHALICE to Benford, he knew Audrey was the mole. Unfortunately, Nate was arrested as a spy by the Russians.

When Dominika learned Nate had been arrested, she tried to save his life, but could not do much and retain her cover as a double agent. As Nate was being interrogated and tortured, Putin made Dominika and two of his closest advisors watch, believing that one of them was working for the Americans. Nate knew Dominika could not handle watching much being given much abuse so he taunted his interrogator, encouraging the man’s anger to the point he killed Nate. In the last scene, Dominika mourned Nate’s death but continued to work for the CIA, knowing he had sacrificed himself so she could continue to tear apart Putin’s corrupt government from the inside.

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