'It's a tough, suspenseful premise for a debut, contrasting claustrophobic atmosphere with personal optimism in a way that can only intensify as the series continues' --Financial Times
'Ryan's first detective novel confidently re-creates a paranoid society where mutual suspicion is the norm... The Holy Thief is an absorbing and assured debut' --Sunday Times
'A subtle, superb mystery, a wonderful central character and with a sense of place and period to rival even the greatest of the Russian masters. More please!' --Kate Mosse
'Without doubt, The Holy Thief is one of the best historical mysteries I've read in the last ten years. William Ryan brilliantly captures the eerie paranoia of Stalinist Moscow, which serves as an endlessly fascinating background for his compelling tale. This is a non-stop page-turner and a remarkable debut'
--Paul Sussman, author of The Last Secret Of The Temple and The Hidden Oasis
'A first novel written with all the narrative assurance of someone who'd been perfecting his art for years. A thriller set amid the paranoia of 1930s Moscow, it was persuasive in all its local and historical details, told its tense story with style and aplomb and had an engagingly troubled hero' --Books of the year, Irish Independent
'Remarkable thriller . . . In his solitude and resolve, Ryan's Korolev evokes Martin Cruz Smith's fierce Arkady Renko, while the period detail and gore call to mind Tom Rob Smith' --Library Journal
'Ryan's novel has an authority that belies his first-novel status... Ryan demonstrates considerable skill in evoking this benighted period, along with a deftness at ringing the changes on familiar crime plotting moves. The auguries for a series, of which The Holy Thief is the first book, are very promising indeed --Barry Forshaw, Daily Express
'Set in 1936, Ryan's impressive debut introduces Capt. Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia's Criminal Investigation Division, who looks into the murder of a young woman found butchered in a church... Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear of being reported as disloyal, besides dramatizing the difficulty of being an honest cop in a repressive police state. Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him' --Publishers Weekly
'This debut is a powerful tale set in 1930s Russia ... it's atmospheric, beautifully written and meticulously researched' --Irish Examiner
'Fans of Phillip Kerr, Tom Rob Smith, and Olen Steinhauer have a treat in store with this strong period thriller from British debut author Ryan . . .A series to watch very closely' --Irish Examiner
'Ryan's stately style belies the page-turning quality of the novel' --Irish Times
Praise for "The Holy Thief"
"Without a doubt, "The Holy Thief" is one of the best historical mysteries I've read in the last ten years."
"One of the year's most exciting [debuts] . . . While the search for Russian icons will bring to mind Martin Cruz Smith's brilliant "Gorky Park", Ryan puts a fresh, original spin on the briskly paced "The Holy Thief"."
--Oline H. Cogdill, "Sun-Sentinel"
"Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear. . . . Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him."
--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)