This riveting suspense debut introduces both a stellar new voice and a remarkable detective, an outsider who must use his extraordinary talents to solve the one case that may redeem him.
Shortly after midnight on July 17, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. Their bodies were hidden away, the location a secret of the Soviet state.
A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the outskirts of humanity. Pekkala was once the most trusted secret agent of the Romanovs, the right-hand man of the Tsar himself. Now he is Prisoner 4745-P, living a harsh existence in which even the strongest vanish into the merciless Soviet winter.
But the state needs Pekkala one last time. The man who knew the Romanovs best is given a final mission: catch their killers, locate the royal child rumored to be alive, and give Stalin the international coup he craves. Find the bodies, Pekkala is told, and you will find your freedom. Find the survivor of that bloody night and you will change history.
In a land of uneasy alliances and deadly treachery, pursuing clues that have eluded everyone, Pekkala is thrust into the past where he once reigned. There he will meet the man who betrayed him and the woman he loved and lost in the fires of rebellion—and uncover a secret so shocking that it will shake to its core the land he loves.
With stunning period detail and crackling suspense, Eye of the Red Tsar introduces a complex and compelling investigator in a fiercely intelligent thriller perfect for readers of Gorky Park, Child 44, and City of Thieves.
©2010 Sam Eastland (P)2010 Random House
“A triumph! With a canny eye for detail, Eastland re-creates the tragedy of the Romanov dynasty in this intelligent and relentless thriller.” (David Hewson)
Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.
The book was outstanding and I immediately wanted to know what else he had written...and this is also a perfect example of how an excellent narrator makes a great book even better. I have heard Paul Michael before and now have really noted this name. This wasn't an easy book to narrate and he did an incredible job.
Through a series of flashbacks, Sam Eastland layers on the suspense in this historical thriller. It's a first-rate yarn read by a first-rate narrator, Paul Michael.
The author has a researcher's keen eye for historical detail and he uses that detail to paint background pictures of two worlds -- life in the orbit of the Czar before the revolution and the less-than-idealistic reality of the already stumbling Soviet state.
Each time I thought I had the plot figured out, there was another twist that propelled the book forward.
Well worth the investment of time. With luck, we'll hear from the Emerald Eye again.
This is one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. It was both historically accurate and a good story. The reader also did a great job. All in all this is a credit worth listen!
The pacing of the story was wonderful. Just the right balance between description and action. The narrator is excellent.
I really enjoyed the listen. The writer is solid in his use of language, image and dialogue, but the reveal in the third act strains credulity past the breaking point and there is a more plausible, explanation for Anton's actions than was used. Plotting is strictly third year screenwriting level, but the world of the book makes up for these shortcomings and the protagonist is memorable.
I really started out enjoying this. The narration is wonderful, the historical setting is terrific - but the story and the plot are so unbelievable, and the ending so unsatisfying - that I can not recommend this. (And I've seldom written a negative review.)
In fact, the ending was so bad I now have the "well, that is 8 hours (or however long the book is) that I'll never get back!"
Overall I enjoyed this story. The characters are believable, and the main character - Piccoula - is likeable. The story kept me in suspense and Piccoula's investigative skills were great to follow. I enjoyed the backdrop of communist Russia. The only thing that I found difficult was how this book took and actual event - the murder of the Romanov's - and twisted in the fictionalized events. I kept wanting to refer to what I had read in historical accounts, which varied in many ways. If I had no knowledge of the Romanov story prior to reading, I would have rated Eye of the Red Tsar a 5. If you are a history buff, you may not find it quite as enjoyable.
A reviewer's got to do what a reviewer's got to do
I had high expectations for this book and am really disappointed. Both the story plot and the writing style are trivial and bland ; the description of the historical setting (early 20th century in the early Soviet Union) is not credible (no more than the reproduction of Venice in a Las Vegas hotel...). Phony , weak and a bit boring ....
I am writing this review after listening to all 3 in the series.
I would recommend taking them in order. I am surprised this book and the sequels did not get more hype. It is one of the best historical fiction stories around. In the spirit of Bernard Cornwell, who masterfully weaves actual history and historical events around a good fictional story of characters, Sam Eastland hits a home run.
I can't wait for the 4th book, which is out in the U.K. I wrote the author and he responded, which is always nice. There is no news on a U.S. release as of yet.
I will wait impatiently. Paul Michael does a great job with the series.
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