William Ryan, "The Holy Thief"
Publisher: Minotaur Books | ISBN: 0312586450 | edition 2010 | PDF | 393 pages | 1,16 mb
William Ryan has written an exciting, fast-paced yet thoughtful novel set during the early Stalin years. His lead character is the enormously likeable Alexei Korolev, a big, powerful, honest detective in the Moscow Militia who has an underlying faith in God which he keeps well-hidden. He also possesses a hopeful outlook on the new policies and political future of Stalin's Russia, yet isn't blindly trusting of the authorities tasked to bring about those changes. Thus, the character of Korolev is perfectly balanced, wholly Russian in his sentiments, yet not gullible in his beliefs. Ryan's simple descriptions of Moscow in 1936 are filled with the hunger, deprivation, and fear present in those days, but his protagonist puts such a matter-of-fact spin on these difficulties that they seem less depressing. However, dark and sinister events are afoot and Korolev is put smack dab in the middle of them.