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Archangel [Kindle Edition]

Robert Harris
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A number one bestseller from the award-winning master of the literary and historical thriller genre: Robert Harris. A gripping, thrilling explosion into Russia’s mysterious history...

When historian Fluke Kelso learns of the existence of a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin he is determined to track it down, whatever the consequences. From the violent political intrigue and decadence of modern Moscow he heads north - to the vast forests surrounding the White Sea port of Archangel, and a terrifying encounter with Russia's unburied past.

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Amazon Review

Before political journalist Robert Harris turned to fiction and resurrected Hitler for his best selling novel Fatherland, he also wrote a hugely entertaining account of the farce surrounding the publication of the hoax Hitler diaries. Archangel, with the obvious exception of substituting Hitler for that other 20th-century ogre Josef Stalin, can be seen as something of a combination of these previous projects. The novel opens in present-day Russia where a louche Oxford academic, Christopher "Fluke" Kelso, is attending a conference on the newly available Stalin archives. Kelso quickly becomes embroiled in a quest for some of Uncle Joe's still secret papers--and also a quest to make his own academic reputation--but soon uncovers more than he bargains for. The ghosts of the old authoritarian past exert a peculiar and all too powerful tug on Yeltsin's fragile capitalist democracy and as Kelso is drawn ever nearer to the secret that lies in the remote White Sea port of Archangel so the tragedies of the past become hideously more plausible in the present. Harris is historically sound, politically astute and his acute insight into the apparatus of state repression and minds of despots is unnerving. But most of all he tells a terrific yarn and Archangel sees him on top form. This is his best yet.--Nick Wroe


Praise for ENIGMA "Elegant, atmospheric . . . a tense and thoughtful thriller." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "Literate and savvy . . . It's always a pleasure to encounter a historical thriller this subtle and detailed. . . . [ ] brims with wartime intrigue and paranoia." --"The Washington Post Book World" FATHERLAND "A stunning debut." --"Boston Globe" "An elegant thriller, a thoughtful, frightening story of complicity." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "An absorbing, expertly written novel." --"The New York Times" "From the Hardcover edition."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 992 KB
  • Print Length: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (21 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043D2D64
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Robert Harris is the author Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost - all of which were worldwide bestsellers. His work has been translated into thirty-three languages. He was born in Nottingham in 1957 and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He worked as a reporter on the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before becoming Political Editor of the Observer in 1987, and then a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He lives near Hungerford in Berkshire with his wife and their four children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent page-turner 11 Jan. 2006
I don't generally read bestseller popular fiction but have been very impressed with this book and his other, first novel, Fatherland. It's not just that he tells a cracking tale but he has some interesting ideas and the quality of his writing is good, not too pulpy.
Harris paints a compelling portrait of modern Russia, particularly Moscow but at the same time introduces some fascinating theories and ideas about the political direction Russia is taking and the burden of the past it drags behind it. The result is that you are simultaneously gripped by an exciting piece of fiction but also slightly horrified at how true to life much of this could be.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another historical hit for Harris 3 Jun. 2005
By Heather
I really enjoyed Archangel. Having previously studied Communist Russia, I recognised many of the political figures featured in the book, but am now looking forward to reading even more about the subject.
That said, you don't need any knowledge of the subject to enjoy this book (though concentrating on the many Russian names is vital!). As with Harris' other excellent thriller Fatherland, I found myself instantly empathising with the characters of Archangel, namely 'maverick' academic Fluke Kelso (in Moscow to attend a conference about the newly opened Soviet archives), and desperately willed him on in his quest to find out whether Stalin's secret notebook does indeed exist.
However, Harris cleverly shows the many sides to the effects of Kelso's investigations, and also draws a sympathetic picture of the long-suffering Russian police chief Suvorin, who too suspects there are many secrets buried in Russia's history but knows unearthing them may have a much greater impact than that of a 'scoop'.
As the plot moved on I was compelled to rush through the always evocative descriptions of 'New Russia' to get to its conclusion. Archangel is exciting, fast-paced, eerie as well as sad. A fantastic book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, gripping storyline 4 Mar. 2007
I really enjoyed Archangel, Fluke Kelso proves a believeable flawed main protagonist. Nice not to have a swashbuckling, gun toting bodybuilder at the centre of the story.

The main plot is handled extremely well, and really makes the reader buy into the plausibility of what unfolds.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller with meticulous historical detail 22 Feb. 2006
Fluke Kelso is in Moscow to attend a conference on the recently opened Soviet archives. He is a Oxford historian and Mr Harris's novel tells the story of four days in Kelso's life which starts one night when a former NKVD officer visits him in his hotel room. He claims to have been the bodyguard of Lavrenty Beria who was at the time the chief of the secret police just before Stalin's death. According to him, he witnessed Stalin's death when he had his fatal stroke and he also saw Beria steal his papers among which was a black notebook.
The following day, Kelso decides to verify the man's story at the Lenin Library. At this point he doesn't know that his enquiry is the beginning of a breathless chase from Moscow to the port of Archangel located on the White Sea in order to unveil Stalin's last secret which has been hidden for nearly fifty years.
Good suspense, plenty of action and an interesting historical background are qualities in this novel which place Robert Harris at the same level as writers like John Buchan, John LeCarré and Len Deighton.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly monemental achievement. 12 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
I've been reading thrillers for more than thirty years and not since 'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold' have I come across an adventure story as good as this. Archangel doesn't just catch the moment but transcends into art. If you think that's just hyberbole - read the book yourself. I've travelled a lot recently in Russia and Harris captures the mood there perfectly and by focusing so clearly on Stalin he raises one of the most difficult and important questions of the century - how do we judge evil? I disagree utterly with the reviewers who say the book somehow loses pace as it goes on - I think the reverse. The denoument at the end is as shattering as the famous reveal at the end of 'The Spy who Came in From the Cold'. More than that its prescient. No one who reads this book will ever watch on the TV screens the news from Russia in quite the same way again. Proof that the thriller is art - read it for yourself and see.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great alternative version of history 24 July 2003
By Darren Simons TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Archangel tells the story of a historian called Fluke Kelso who is told of the existence of a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin, and then in true Indiana Jones style becomes determined to find the evidence. Led into the frozen forests of Russia, the narrative provides Kelso with something more shocking than even he imagined. Having read the other reviews, I wouldn’t agree that the end of the book was all that weak but certainly agree it’s a well-paced and has a fair few twists to keep the reader enthralled.
Robert Harris has also written Enigma (recently made into a blockbuster film) and Fatherland (a fantastic alternative history about a murder investigation in post-war Germany, where the war was won by Germany). All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book – an original idea written really well. Probably not the best book Harris has written in my view (hint: read Fatherland), but definitely worth reading.
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