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Child 44 Audiobook

Child 44

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Publisher's Summary

MGB officer Leo is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia.

Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime. But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife.

Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life. And still the killings of children continue.

©2008 Tom Rob Smith; (P)2008 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (30 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
 (10)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (18 )
5 star
 (6)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
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Story
4.0 (18 )
5 star
 (6)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    BSquared67 Adelaide, Australia 05-13-09
    BSquared67 Adelaide, Australia 05-13-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    164
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Excellent, evocative book"

    In his debut novel Smith has painted a bleak picture of Stalin's Russia where blind faith in the State, or pretence of it, is the norm. Across the disparate parts of this story people's actions and decisions are fuelled by paranoia, desperation and vengeance. Many people abuse whatever power they have and many others live in constant fear of that abuse. The few acts motivated by love, friendship or hope are memorable for their rarity. In some ways this is a familiar picture of Russia during this era but I thought Smith did a better job than many writers in demonstrating the subtle differences in people's behaviour and exploring the reasons behind that behaviour rather than portraying everyone in as stereotypical good and evil as is often the case.

    Few of the characters are likable however understandable their actions may be. But they're very credible in the context of the world Smith has depicted. The writing is breathtaking in the way it depicts scenes so vividly that you're transported to the places where action takes place and can feel the emotions of those involved. My main criticism of an otherwise terrific book is that in the last third the plot moved from credible to 'Hollywood' with the number of in-the-nick-of-time escapes and coincidences used to get to the ending.

    It's an evocative portrayal of a time and place that's been demonised many times in literature and movies but rarely explored in such a thoughtful and thought-provoking way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Curtin, Australia 03-28-14
    Don Curtin, Australia 03-28-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It just didn't engage me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story felt like it relied on a lot of old soviet cliches, the crime story took 7 hours to get going and was a bit fanciful.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Rob Smith again?

    I doubt it.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steven Pacey?

    He didn't add or subtract from the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Child 44?

    it was very long for a thin story line. A few decent twists but nothing particularly interesting or not telegraphed.


    Any additional comments?

    I finished the book but only pushed on to finish it so I could get back to the Harry Bosch series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Brian
    Preston, United Kingdom
    9/29/10
    Overall
    "Mans Inhumanity to Man"

    The book is one of the best I have purchased from audible.It portrays the life in Russia under Stalin and the fear of reprisals.
    Leo's world is turned upside down from being an avid supporter of the state system he then experience's the Horrors of being an enemy of the state.
    Does one have sympathy for Leo's fate or do you try to think you are suffering the same fate of many other People he has sent of to the Gulags.
    The brutality and fear portrayed in the book are tools of the state to ensure obedience.
    20 million people entered the gulag system under Stalin.
    Man is wolf to man

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Laura M
    NewbridgeIreland
    2/13/11
    Overall
    "Superb"

    I found this book tough at the start to get into. Some of the content is not easy to listen to - pretty brutal conditions in Stalinist Russia. However, it became absorbing after the first hour and ultimately unputdownable. An excellent story.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Gavin
    Dunbar, United Kingdom
    1/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of those books that is close to perfect"

    One of the best books I have come across in a while. A brilliant mix of history and fiction. It start with a bleak and disturbing view of Stalin’s Russia and some of the vile means they controlled the people. Then as the book moves on you find yourself drawn in to a very powerful crime drama with huge characters and brilliant plot. Without wanting to reveal anything about the story the way the narrative keeps reverting back to previous sections is totally enthralling.
    As other people have mentioned some of the story line is hard to hear and it made me angry that people can be so cruel and callous to others but it is presented in a historic rather than sensational way.
    If I had a criticism it would be that the end fails to live up to the rest of the book but in fairness this is partly because I did not want there to be an end and I wanted to stay in the narrative.
    Excellent book wonderfully read. Thank you.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    10/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Trust but check. Check on those we trust."


    Investigating the truth while living a lie, a lie so terrible so pernicious everyone feared the truth, especially when it spoke of a problem a blemish in a communist utopia where millions died for lesser crimes or no crimes at all just the suspicion, the probability of a thought crime, the crime of association.

    “—Isn’t this how it starts? You have a cause you believe in, a cause worth dying for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing innocent people for.”
    ― Tom Rob Smith, Child 44

    This is a world where a totalitarian despot controls people's thoughts the very reality they inhabit, the plot develops in the very real terror state created by Stalin and the communist party, where millions were incarcerated and put to death. Not light reading or easy for the squeamish to stomach, but an excellent exposition of a man trying to be more than a servant of the state, a man trying to hold onto his humanity and modicum of decency.

    “There's nothing more stubborn than a fact. That is why you hate them so much. They offend you.”
    ― Tom Rob Smith, Child 44

    Excellent in every way, be prepared to enter a world not just a book.



    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Louisa
    Freshwater Bay, United Kingdom
    2/21/10
    Overall
    "Exciting if you don't mind the violent bits"

    There is a lot of implied violence and torture in this book which is nevertheless, quite exciting. It is also pretty relentlessly bleak. Nevertheless, by the end I decided I wanted to listen to the next book so it can?t have been all that bleak! The reading is first rate which really enhances the experience ? and once I got into the story I managed to rise above the gloom and I quite quickly wanted to find out what happened. If you enjoy drama and don?t mind the violent bits it?s a very good listen.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Jon Lymp.
    1/19/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant . I have always by Russian history after the ar"

    Along with the wonderful narration of Steven pacey I thought
    The author accomplished with great success the hard ship
    And terror of living in Stalins Russia . Living in a world
    When the state is everything And nobody can be trusted.
    A very unusual mystery come love story takes place. I listened
    To the book in 2 goes very unusual for me
    I would love to see more books like this from the author
    Human survival and love against all the odds...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andy
    5/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dark crimes in darkest Stalinist Russia. Absorbing"
    Where does Child 44 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right near the top. Dark times in Orwellian Russia that delivered desperate situations by the bucket load that tested your nerves as the characters used every conceivable act to survive. Fabulous


    What other book might you compare Child 44 to, and why?

    1984


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The scene on the prisoner train and the conclusion....


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I never do. A break in proceedings adds to the tension and enjoyment.


    Any additional comments?

    If the film is half as good as the audio book, you won't be disappointed. Also, the Narrator was superb. His vocalisation of the Russian accent brought the characters - of all ages and gender - even more to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Bangor, United Kingdom
    4/20/09
    Overall
    "Crafted so well."

    Enjoyed this novel from the first thirty minutes. Well crafted and narrated. What an obvious and wonderfully twisted end too!

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Joanna
    Peterborough, Cambs, United Kingdom
    1/27/09
    Overall
    "Brilliant and compelling"

    If you only read one crime book this year, make it this one. Compelling, fascinating, thrilling, this is a terrifying insight into life in Communist Russia. Credible characters and a believable story make this unputdownable. I can't wait for the sequel - hurry up Tom!

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Jill
    Roermond, Netherlands
    10/14/09
    Overall
    "Great characters, great story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it difficult to stop listening! On the one hand it is a crime thriller as Leo struggles to track down a child-killer, hampered by the fact that in the Communist Soviet Union crime cannot exist as it is a perfect society. On another level we follow his struggles with the ideology of the State as he begins to question the system which he has supported and worked for all his life. Very atmospheric and expertly narrated - definitely worth a listen.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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