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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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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.

9 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.)

6 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.

5 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.

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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.

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  • Yoga Republic
  • 16-01-21

Great listen.

Not normally my style, but an honest and in some strange way charmingly naive story, giving a great insight into cultures, misused trust, and the making of extremism. Worth your time.

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  • S.Birkinshaw
  • 14-01-21

The messenger DELIVERS

As an audio book the storyteller is all important this is very well read and knowing it to be a true story keeps your interest all the way through the dramatic music running through at times makes all the difference give it a go well worth your time!

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  • Mr C J Dalzell
  • 10-01-21

Sore topic, worth the listen

Really glad this story is getting told - at the end of the day this is much less about terrorism than it is about the naivety of youthful ambition, the burdens of cultural dissonance, mental (un)health and the ability face yourself and own your mistakes - or not. We can all learn from this and I think Shiv managed to tease out this lesson for all of us in the final episode - though at great personal cost. There will always be Messengers, all we can do is understand their MO to better guard ourselves.

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  • Anthony Beaney
  • 04-01-21

Very interesting!!

Great story!! I couldn't turn it off and ended up blasting all the way through it in one sitting. I could listen to this sh*t all day. really feel for the Journalist!! something fishy definitely went down!

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  • E. Gopalakrishnan
  • 29-12-20

When a story rings one's life...

The creators do a stellar job at capturing a decade of Shiv's adventure intertwined with a terrorist who was keen on giving up terrorism. Sometimes we get carried away with the truth we want to believe in, that we start believing things that are too good to be true. This story teaches us that we humans are a gullible lot. We see what we want to see, we hear what we want to hear. We rarely take a second to question our beliefs, until something extraordinary happens, that could potentially put everything around us at risk, because we were going through the same mindset as the "boiling frog". Absolutely moving story and shockingly something that truly happened. So it just makes one wonder, how we could expect, the average citizen to discern misinformation from the real information, if someone like Shiv, and his team of ambitious journalists could get into this trap. Kudos to the people who opened up during the interviews, the emotional moments are really moving and I hope everyone is doing well. Everything from the sound recording to the music, I absolutely loved it. the narration was fantastic, and kept me listening. I resisted downloading the entire set of episodes primarily to force me to listen to one episode every night before sleep. but quickly this turned out to be torture. I learned that this wasn't one of those things you listened to or read in the hope of falling asleep. It woke me up, with curiosity and made me go for finding out more about the characters involved.

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.

4 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.

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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.

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  • Steve Callagher
  • 25-11-20

insightful

shiv has done really well with this book. check it out you won't be disappointed

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  • B J Gunn
  • 21-11-20

The Real Keyser Soze

The gripping true story of Trust and Betrayal of Shiv Malik by Hassan Butt an Al-Muhajiroun member, Al-Qaeda operative, reformed Jihadist, MI5 informant or non of the above and Reporter Shiv Malik who was taken for the ride of his life or a ride? Nothing is what it seems. Absolutely loved it, it should be a feature film.