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Archangel [Paperback]

Robert Harris
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009
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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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099527936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099527930
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The best thriller for years" (Sunday Telegraph)

"His best yet: a fast paced thriller, pulsing with suspense, that surpasses even the expertly handled tensions and twists of Fatherland" (Sunday Times)

"Robert Harris confirms his position as Britain's pre-eminent literary thriller writer with Archangel" (The Times)

"A really gripping narrative, full of suspense and unexpected turns, which will keep you hooked until the climax on its final page... I have never read a thriller based in Russia which has such an authentic feel" (Evening Standard)

"Archangel is Harris's strongest book yet, confirming him as the leading current exponent of the intelligent literary thriller" (The Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller with meticulous historical detail 22 Feb 2006
By HORAK
Format:Paperback
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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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent page-turner 11 Jan 2006
Format:Paperback
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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another historical hit for Harris 3 Jun 2005
By Heather
Format:Paperback
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid Harris novel 25 July 2006
By Paz
Format:Paperback
Set in modern day Russia, this gripping novel tells of the dangerous hunt for a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin.

Mixing historical fact with a truly believable tale, the plot quickly develops into an enthralling read. With an excellent medley of characters, suspense and intrigue this novel is a classic Harris thriller.
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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
Format:Paperback
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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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 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly monemental achievement. 12 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
What a boring book
Published 5 days ago by Bill
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read
Held my attention though I thought the secret of the 'notebook' was signalled too soon and took away some of the book's tension.As a result the ending was decidedly flat.
Published 7 days ago by Richie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, riveting book
Excellent, riveting book. Well written and brilliant story line if felt I learned some about Stalin and that period of history. Keep me on edge of seat/bed !!
Published 12 days ago by Luxy
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
Good interesting thriller
Published 18 days ago by Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars Archangel
Very gripping and intense with a very interesting take on Russian cold war legacy... a must read for alternate history lovers
Published 1 month ago by TomW
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Quit heavy reading and lacks credabiliity
Published 1 month ago by Colin Malcolm Botfield
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very good
Not up to his usual standard
Published 1 month ago by John S
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great author for suspense
Published 1 month ago by ejj
5.0 out of 5 stars high quality work and this is also a great book.
Anything by Robert Harris is readable , high quality work and this is also a great book.
Published 1 month ago by MGRansom
4.0 out of 5 stars Russia
You could believe it could have happened. A little chilling, and not just the area it was set in. The Russian characters have a ring about them
Published 3 months ago by ISOK
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