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Publisher's Summary

When investigative journalist Shiv Malik was betrayed by a source he considered a friend, he spent almost fifteen years tracking down the truth about what happened. The Messenger is an extraordinary audio tale of friendship, lies, betrayal, terrorism, the destruction of a marriage, and the insidiousness of fake news long before it went viral. In the wake of the 7/7 London bombings, Shiv Malik began working for the BBC to discover how young South Asian men like him had turned into suicide bombers. That's when he met notorious Islamist spokesman Hassan Butt, who told Shiv that he'd repented and left al-Qaeda. Hassan wanted Shiv to write his biography, and Shiv thought he'd found the biggest story of his life—a story that would help to change the world for the better. Little did he know that Hassan Butt would almost destroy his life. Over the next three years, Shiv and Hassan became friends, until one day there was a knock on the door from police investigators and everything fell apart. In eight revealing episodes, featuring Shiv's own audio recordings of his conversations with Hassan, Shiv searches for where he can place his trust: in the reams of evidence, in the cops, in a terrorist who swears he's changed, or in a friend who has no one else to turn to? Produced by Topic Studios.
©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC

What listeners say about The Messenger

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Very interesting plot and narrative is also strong

A gripping series which hooks you on to the plot. narrated beautifully by the author.

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messenger of a may be spy or terrorist

It was an ok story. A kind of dialogue between Shiv and Butt. It's painful that a young life is destroyed just for a story

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good read

It was interesting, loved the plot. Would have loved to hear more on the subjects life transformation (if at all) and if the terrorist network was impacted by the actions of author. recommended to read

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Absolutely Brilliant!

The Messenger podcast is absolutely brilliant. Even more gripping than the book, if that is even possible. Reads like a top-notch spy/crime thriller, but of course, it's a true story, not fiction. Well done, Shiv Malik!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-20

A gripping listen

I loved this podcast, to the point I ended up listening to every episode in only two sittings. It was informative and interesting, telling a highly personal and reflective tale of journalism within a UK and global political context that has impacted on is all. I'd highly recommend to everyone.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Joanna Frawley
  • 22-11-20

A little bit too 'poor me'

I did enjoy this but felt like too much of the podcast was the author trying to get sympathy about how badly he'd been treated, as opposed to taking more responsibility and focusing on the story behind what had been truth and what had been a lie, which was what I was really interested in. At points I was tempted to stop listening because the constant 'poor me' narrative became too overwhelming.
The section about the police asking to see how recordings I found particularly grating - when should journalists protecting their sources take precedence over national security and stopping terrorism? And it seemed to me the press treated the police, who were just doing their jobs, very badly. It felt like the author was more bothered about trying to protect his precious book than a terrorist being stopped and lives saved. (even if it did turn out not to be true). After that section I really stopped sympathising with the author and was happy to rattle through the final episodes without properly focusing.
An interesting listen definitely but too biased for me.

12 people found this helpful

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  • innes
  • 07-11-20

Binged this one

Gripping story of a journalist beguiled by his source. Incredible honesty and self knowledge from author Shiv Malik about his ups and downs as he tried for 10 years to get to the truth. Lots here that I didn't get from reading the book.

Full disclosure: I'm one of the people interviewed in this serial. (Cameo role only - but I won't hold that against them.)

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-20

Good production values but a weak story

It took a long time to tell this very thin story. It’s not exactly an unusual story either. I was left at the end going “really? Is that it?”. Production values are excellent, which kept me thinking “no there must be more to it than this if they’ve spent so much money on it.” Nope.

6 people found this helpful

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  • mrs samantha l craig
  • 07-11-20

Gripped from start to end.

excellent, highly recommend. Compelling story and well narrated by the writer who gives an incredibly honest, meaningful and soul bearing account of his journey into this investigation of twists and turns. Couldn't break away once I had started. Good job its Saturday.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Scott69
  • 13-04-21

Fantastic listen

This is addictive listening and really well read. I could not wait to listen to each chapter and very poinent footnote about all messengers in today's society

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  • Mme Elaine Denys
  • 12-04-21

What a story, what a storyteller!

Incredible from 1st word to last. Thank you for this amazing rendition of a bizarre tale.

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  • Marspain
  • 20-03-21

Really good

Very interesting twists and turns in this story and I will get the book now!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Addlestone
  • 19-03-21

fascinating, infuriating and gripping

gripping podcast that I binge listened to (it's 2.28 am and I've got to be up at 6am) but Shiv deserves this. a beautifully crafted tale of intrigue, manipulation, narcissism and attention seeking. the toll it appears to have taken was too great a price for the character portrayed to us, who's nothing more than a loser in every regard. wishing you and your loved ones all the best shiv. highly recommended listening. off to buy the book now 👌🏻

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  • Kirsty
  • 17-03-21

Gripping

A compelling and cathartic tale, beautifully narrated by the author Shiv Malik. Very highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Reads With Wolves
  • 25-11-20

Raw and very real

While we still don’t know exactly what is real and what is not real about Hassan’s story, Shiv’s observations and experiences did much to illuminate the human condition. Should he have been more diligent? Yes. (He wanted to believe too much.) But this book is incredible precisely because it is *not the redemption story he set out to tell. None of us go away feeling better about ourselves. We go away looking more deeply at ourselves.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-21

Good story due to poor journalism.

Good story but just highlights that "journalists" are only out to sell a story. Shiv tries to redeem himself but the last chapter shows he has the same narcissistic tendencies as Hassan. He could have pulled on "the loose thread but the story would unravel" so carried on to try and get a book out, sell a "story" and then deal with the "oh, must have missed that" afterwards (Last chapter). Both of them like the attention and both of then want their names on everyone's lips. Only difference is Shiv blames Hassan and doesn't accept his part in the whole circus because it wasn't the outcome he wanted.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-12-20

Interesting

Quite interesting & informative .
Felt quite sorry for the author as he was duped by a professional liar.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-04-21

absolutely compelling

loved this. fascinating story told with honesty and self reflection about how a journalist bought into a fantasist's world, only to destroy his own. loved the narration and interviews too

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-03-21

amazing

loved it, amazing, captivating, brilliant thank you for sharing your story. absolutely have to get this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-03-21

The Messenger

Intriguing story...well done for persevering with the book & podcast. Will recommend to my friends.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-21

Wow

Well this story will truly make you think about anything you get told may not be the truth really well put together Shiv Malik what a fantastic pod cast easily my favourite thankyou

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-21

Riveting

totally additive, listened to whole serious in one hit, just had to hear it all before I carried on with life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-02-21

A valuable message needs to be heard

Loved it, a worthwhile podcast to listen to about radicalisation and a human's need to be accepted. Shiv's summation of his journey has given an invaluable insight into the human psyche.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-21

wow

Loved it ,amazing overall
very well done, even the back ground music was great , I could relate to both characters