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Polar Star Paperback – 1 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (1 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330449257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330449250
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Arkady Renko, the hero of Gorky Park, returns for a second thrilling mystery

From the Back Cover

Fishing in the Bering Sea, a trawler's catch includes the body of a blonde girl. Her name is Zina, and she is a member of the crew of the Soviet factory ship Polar Star. Arkady Renko, formerly Senior Investigator in the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, but now a second-class seaman, is appointed by Polar Star's captain to investigate the girl's death. Renko's dogged search for the truth will put his own life in danger.

"Cruz Smith is a real writer with a keen eye, a hearing ear, and an original cast of mind."
THE TIMES

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on 5 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book marks the return of Arkady Renko, Cruz Smith's hero of the original novel Gorky Park. No longer a Moscow investigator, Renko has been in hiding in the depths of Russia for the last two years or so and has finally found himself at the bottom of the worst place in the world that you might possibly be.
Where the first novel seemed to meander a bit after a fantastic first half, this novel seems to work better almost as a self-contained unit, although undeniably part of a sequence. The book combines some excellent literary references (in my view, and everyone should check out Anna Akhmatova's poem THE GUEST) and some nice black humour ("There is no unemployment in Russia.")
An excellent "Murder Mystery" novel which has been nicely researched and written.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr D R Walker on 20 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
What can I say that other more talented reviewers have not? All I can say is that this book is, perhaps, one of Martin Cruz Smith's finest works. Personally I read it before I got hold of a copy of Gorky Park but the plot is presented in such a way that the reader does not feel any loss. I found the descriptions of the ship, the fishing methods and seascape complimented the plot fantasically. But what I really enjoyed was the depth of research that the author has put into the text, not only on matters of seamanship but also what it must have been like to be Russian under the Soviet system. A fantasic read, like all his books, Polar Star is certainly one of his most visually stunning.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J.R.Hartley VINE VOICE on 30 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Gorky Park was righly acclaimed as a great novel, but its sequel, Polar Star, which sees the ongoing trials and tribulations of Arkady Renko is even greater. While the first book had a theme of escape and breaking free while running away from the dark forces lurking around every corner, Polar Star has an almost unbearable claustrophobia about it where Renko must not only resurrect his detective skills but he must fight to stay alive aboard the eponymous vessel.

I found this book more approachable than Gorky Park and as there has never been a film made of it I never ceased to be taken by surprise as the body stack up and Renko is drawn ever deeper into the dark secrets of the ship. As such, I found it a more rewarding read.

This book has got to be a must-read for anyone who has read Gorky Park, but it would be just as easily accessible by someone starting their first Renko novel. You might miss some of Renko's background story, but you'll soon grow to like him. His sardonic take on the Soviet dream makes him seem very human and provides a welcome light relief from the grisly murders.

Compared to some more recent novels the murders and subsequent pathology might seem rather tame (but hey, we're all pathologists these days) but that's part of the charm and it makes you realise that the real strength of this book is the depth of the characters. A first rate chiller thriller.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Phil on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
The Arkady Renko books are the mainstay of Martin Cruz Smith. Although I eagerly await each book, the quality can be somewhat erratic. The last one I read -'Stalin's ghost', was the poorest,and the reviews for his latest 'Three Stations' suggests that the deterioration continues. The books have become a little formulaic - A heroic protaganist full of despair and integrity,a corrupt and dystopian social setting, a collection of venal and murderous interlopers.
However that should not detract from the fact that 'Polar Star', the second in the series, is one of the greatest popular thrillers ever written.
It is not necessary to read any others in the collection, this novel can stand on it's own.
Without giving away too much of the plot,- Following his fall from grace Renko now works on the production line of a huge arctic factory ship. Ostensiby on the run, his government pursuers cannot be bothered to follow him into such a hostile environment and he has lost himself in crowds of despondent transients who make up the workforce. He has boarded a huge fish-processing factory ship - the 'Polar star' on a six month work journey in the hostile polar seas. An immense rust-bucket stinking of fish, perpetually freezing, he spends 14 hour shifts standing up in entrails , exhausted, gutting fish. His companions are deemed the lowest of the low, servile criminals, misfits, black-marketeers. But even here is tenderness, companionship and the capacity for love amongst suffering that has become almost stereotypically identified with the Russian psyche. His superiors are cynical,cruel and corrupt neo-Stalinists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glen1975 on 11 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Gorky Park, I learned that there were sequels to this book, Polar Star and Red Square. I thought the sequels would be a hard act to follow. I was wrong. Arkady has to take flight from sinister forces which are out to exterminate him following his investigations in the first book. He finds asylum and sustenance on a Soviet Factory Ship working with the US in US waters in the spirit of Glasnost. there is a suspected murder of a young woman on board; given his record, he is asked to investigate ostensibly that the young woman had died due to misadventure, otherwise it would not look very good to the Americans. Arkady thinks and does otherwise, the powers that be did not reckon on his forensic abilities and skills. That's where the problems start. I do not want to say anymore with regard to the plot.

The book is resplendent with the claustrophobic atmosphere of the ship. You can smell the salt, fish, sweat, cabbage, Russian tobacco smoke with the turn of each page.

His observations of the Russians and Soviet people is magnificent, they are sitting in front of you with friendliness, diffidence, hostility - you can see straight in to their eyes and feel an air of menace.

Martin Cruz Smith knows the Soviet Union, its politics and people so well that you are up against them just like Arkady. Having said that, one can not help feeling that he loves his subject matter. Makes you wonder what the Russians think of him.

Great read!
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