Archive 17

Sam Eastland. Bantam, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-345-52573-4
The pseudonymous Eastland’s excellent third thriller set in the Soviet Union under Stalin (after 2011’s Shadow Pass) makes the most of the remote location of much of the book’s action—Siberia. Countless lives hang on the caprice of Joseph Stalin, including that of Inspector Pekkala, a former czarist guard who served time as a political prisoner before becoming Stalin’s (mostly) trusted investigator. In 1939, the dictator sends Pekkala to his old labor camp, Borodok, to look into the murder of Isaac Ryabov, a former cavalry captain and one of the last surviving colleagues of Colonel Kolchak, a close ally of the Russian imperial family. Pekkala must go undercover to catch whoever slit Ryabov’s throat and stay in the good graces of Stalin, who fears that Ryabov’s demise may pose a threat to his rule. Eastland (British author Paul Watkins) captures the brutality of Borodok and the barren desolation of the surrounding area, while maintaining a consistently high level of suspense. Agent: Jason Cooper, Faber & Faber. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 02/28/2012
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 167 pages - 978-0-345-52575-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-97008-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-97009-1
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