Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Eye of the Red Tsar" by Sam Eastland -- an engaging 4 star historical thriller

I enjoyed this book very much. I would have given it 5 stars but for one plot point that I could not believe (later on that – but no spoilers). But even with that, I would definitely read the next book in what I assume will become a series of Inspector Pekkala books (the next book comes out in 2011).

The main character is Pekkala. At the beginning of the book he is a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp assigned to mark trees for cutting; he has been there for nine years since the Tsar’s abdication. A young political officer (Kirov) comes to request his assistance in an investigation because Pekkala is a special prisoner: he was the Tsar’s legendary special investigator. Pekkala, along with Kirov and Pekkala’s estranged older brother Anton, is charged with investigating the murder of Tsar Nicholas and his family. He has a strong moral code without being a wimpy or goody-goody character and that makes him a very interesting character.

If you have a particular interest in or have studied the deaths of the Romanovs (I have not), you may have to give the author a fair amount of artistic license because the point of the book is Pekkala’s character and his investigation, not to be a novelization of historical facts. One thing marred my complete enjoyment of the book. Pekkala makes a mistake (I won’t say what or where in the book because it would spoil it) that is completely at odds with everything that has been written about him in the rest of the book. Nevertheless, it is a very enjoyable historical thriller. It will be interesting to see what investigations Pekkala does in future books.

I got this book from Amazon Vine for purposes of writing a review.

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