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Publisher's Summary

It's Moscow, 1936 and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning.

In a deconsecrated Church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD - the most feared organisation in Russia - becomes involved.

As more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevails, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life....

©2010 William Ryan (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

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  • Mr Rupert Seymour
  • 10-21-14

Loyalty vs Greed vs Corruption

What did you like most about The Holy Thief?

To shred a good story into pieces would be an abuse so there was no one bit but an enthralling wholeness to it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Holy Thief?

The final interrogation

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have listened to most of Sean Barratt's readings and along with Geoff Harding's works they are all utterly splendid. He has a voices for characters that resonate with authority and that give a sense gravitas to moments of tension.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh or cry ... oh please this was a story set in Stalin's Russia where people disappeared, where petty officials could denounce you, where a 1984 atmosphere and a midnight knock could make you and your family disappear. No laughs, no crying but a need to pay attention and form pictures of the greyness of it all.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Grumpy Scot
  • 05-03-15

intelligent and moving

knowing nothing about the Russian secret police of the 1930's, I nevertheless found the story intriguing and accessible.

The characters were well developed and I cared about them. I recommend this book and the excellent audible reader.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • 01-29-15

Brilliant

What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

I think this has to be the absolute best narration ever by far by anyone. Sean Barret has surpassed even himself on this one.

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. Well written. Great story. Very atmospheric. Good characterisation. No waffle or padding. Superb narration. What more could you ask for in this genre.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • 07-13-15

Hard to follow.

Sean Barrett's narration excellent as always, but I found the story hard to follow and had trouble differentiating the different characters - I tend to listen to audio books whilst carrying out various mundane tasks, but would have needed to concentrate fully to hold the plot.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tommy
  • 07-18-15

Highly enjoyable

Believable characters, sound plot, well paced, excellent historical background all contributed to a compulsive read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Timi
  • 05-04-17

Great historical crime fiction

The Holy Thief is a very enjoyable historical crime fiction set in the 1930s Russia. It's interesting to read about the sensitive political times, how every word and action had to be considered carefully in order to avoid (sometimes fatal) punishment. Investigating heinous murders under these circumstances would prove to be tricky for Captain Korolev, a member of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Militia. With a fear for his loved ones in the back of his mind, he sets off to find the people responsible for torturing and killing foreign citizens in Moscow. He tests the limits of his actions but does so with tact and even hints of humour.
I like Korolev's character and the detailed description of life, corruption, atmosphere and surroundings of Moscow in 1936.
I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Sean Barrett is a brilliant narrator and perfect for this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Palmer
  • 02-27-17

Very good, historically concise

A great plot in well researched reconstruction of the Stalinist police state during the Yagoda and Yehzov eras. Buffs of pre war Soviet History will love it. Especially captures the warped morality of the socialist collective. Fans of Sebag Montifiore and Edvard Radinsky will enjoy it and recognise the subtlety William Ryan brings to the Tableau. Definitely the best 'sovploitation' thriller writer out there at the moment. IMHO

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 04-05-15

Bit confusing in places!

Very interesting political background of 1936 Soviet Union and the main character is sympathetic but I got lost at times with the use of Russian patronymic names. I might have done better with reading it off the page but I always enjoy Sean Barrett's narration, which was as superb as ever.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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