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)
This excellent story is absolutely a novel of suspense as the title states. A complex blend of history (based on historic events), intrigue, and mysterious thriller wrapped up into one page turner of a book. Set around the time of the Russian Revolution and its violent aftermath --the story is peopled with a cast of memorable characters that grab the listener and captivate. The narration by Paul Michael was perfect. Parts of the book were a bit grisly --but not so much that I had to stop listening. I really look forward to the next book in the series. I have to admit that when I came to "The End" I had to give the recording a round of applause. It was that good!
Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D. 'The Ph.D. of Productivity'(tm)
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.
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.
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!
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!"
The pacing of the story was wonderful. Just the right balance between description and action. The narrator is excellent.
I decided to read this when I was in a wishy-washy mood and was surprised to find myself enjoying the story. This is meant to be the first installment of a post-Russian-revolution detective series featuring Pekkala, a man who used to work directly for the Romanovs, but because of obvious, now kind of has to work for Stalin et al.
Re: plot - I totally love the Romanov mystery, which is why I bought this book in the first place. The possibility of survivors makes for good storytelling. With the book taking place years after the revolution, I liked that this was a cold case story, with a little modern forensics mixed in. But, since I only bought it for the Romanov story, and have little interest in Communist-era detective stories on whole, I doubt I'll pick up the next installment.
Re: narrator - Paul Michael (it's the same guy who did the last two Dan Brown books) does good euro accents, and I enjoy his style of narrating, so it's entirely possible part of me liked this because I kept expecting Robert Langdon to pop into a scene. In all honesty, I may have liked the book more for this reason. (Insert shoulder shrug)
Overall, a good choice if you're not looking for anything too heavy, or too long. :-)
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