This book is different. It is an attempt to reconstruct the life of a real Russian traitor from the 80s from his birth to his execution. Enormous efforts have gone into this. More efforts, I think than ever went into examining the lives of the "Cambridge traitors," a group of British communists who created a lot of devastation to the intelligence community in the 40is and 50ies. Burgess, Maclean and Philby defected to the USSR. Although these spies remained in the news for the next fifty years (even more so because there were two more who were not discovered), there is no comparable study of them.One of the authors, probably Kostin, is fond of playing chess: a lot of reasoning in the book is similar to chess playing: is this hypothesis correct? What about this one? Or maybe a third one? That unnerved some readers, it amused me. But when the authors do not want to emphasize point, they just make it disappear: discussion suddenly is absent or is brushed in half a page. It amused me too. The interplay between what the authors say,what they know, what they guess and what they don't want you to know makes the book really interesting.As a comparison: what I hated in Philby self-righteousness is that he never considered or cared that his treason did cost lives. What about Vetrov's treason? Did it cost Russian lives? The answer to this is brushed under the rug, the authors suggesting that the spies in Western countries are never killed, they are just expelled. It is a slightly naive view of the west.The greatest DST (French counter-espionage) success is shown as it probably was: a piece of luck in the middle of an incredibly poorly handled situation by amateurs. It amused me too: it certainly makes the book worth reading. The reason that makes traitors successful is usually the sloppiness of their own agency. Why would any KGB agent be allowed to take papers home? Not just sloppiness, the tendency to underestimate the adversary. There are many examples of that, in France and in the US. The British did that in WW 2 with the Cicero Affair in Turkey (this became a good but not accurate movie with James Mason (5 Fingers.)In the end, Vetrov appears to me very close to any real traitor I ever heard of: he was not a very interesting man. Burgess - the American traitors Aldrich Ames (dvd NIGHTLINE), John Walker(dvd Family of Spies) and FBI special agent Robert Philip Hanssen (dvd Breach) or Vetrov (this book): they are all the same: self-centered jerks who think that they are superior to all of us. No distinguished psychoanalytical analysis changed my opinion about it.Vetrov has one amusing characteristic though, when he is in jail for an unrelated crime of murder, he compares himself to Christ. I found this very telling, because I happen to remember that Oscar Wilde did the exact same thing.As for the translation, I loved it: it must have been hard enough to navigate between the Russian mind and the French style.