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The Romanov Cross Hardcover – 5 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (5 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807806
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,085,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Fascinating, funny, and frightening...Masello skilfully weaves together the story of the death of the Russian royal family with the possibility of a new worldwide influenza pandemic... Toss in a pack of slavering wolves, the undead, and a chilling ending, and the result is a terrific, can't-put-it-down read'" (Publishers Weekly)

"A delicious sense of creeping dread permeates the first act, greatly enhanced by its setting in the stark but beautiful landscape of northwestern Alaska... Tense, taut and impossible to put down" (Kirkus (starred review)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

From the author of Blood and Ice, a spellbinding new take on one of history's most profound mysteries, and a thrilling race against time. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
This action novel begins in Afghanistan, where a US soldier is court-martialled for ordering a medevac for a child bitten by a deadly snake, and moves to Alaska, where a crab fishing boat hauls up a coffin-sized carved box. Neither case goes well.... Slater is dismissed from the army while Harley's ship strikes a rock near an island and sinks. But Slater is a doctor and can work as an epidemiologist - and Harley's managed secretly to salvage a Russian cross with emeralds from the coffin.

THE ROMANOV CROSS was buried in a graveyard on a now abandoned island, but climate change is melting permafrost and land is loosening and slipping into the sea. The bodies buried there died in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and 50 million people died worldwide. Possibly the flu strain could persist in the frozen bodies and cause disaster if disturbed. St. Peter's Island now lures Harley to sail back out there with friends and search for more coffins and jewels despite a pack of hungry black wolves, while Dr. Slater is assembling a team, including a Russian, to treat the island as a biohazard.

Robert Masello has given us a easily convincing plot as well as characters so real we can almost feel them breathing. Interspersed we see the lives of some wealthy Russians in 1916, where Rasputin talks to Anastasia at a ball, handing the Romanov princess the cross. The past story continues but can be skipped if the reader does not want to get involved in it. Slater receives Inuit hospitality and lessons in handling tribal burial grounds from Nika, an anthropologist in Port Orlov, who is the mayor and tribal elder. She can delay issuing permits to trespass on tribal grounds - or he can let her tag along to supervise.
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By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Global warming is possibly even more dangerous than we thought. With the seas warming and the ice melting, the frost-sealed cemeteries of the old Inuit settlements of the Arctic are under threat. When a storm blows a coffin into the nets of a crab boat off the coast of St Peter's Island, Captain Harley Vane pries it open and exposes more than just an exquisite jewelled cross around the neck of the well-preserved corpse of a young man. Within minutes the boat is at the bottom of the sea. Harley alone survives but when he returns to the Alaska mainland he is determined to return to the island, certain that there will be more riches buried with the dead. For now, he ignores his nightmare memories from the island, of wolves running and lanterns on the shore.

Meanwhile, army epidemiologist Frank Slater is facing his own troubles. Court martialed for putting the life of a local child above military bureaucracy, he is offered an escape from disgrace - the investigation of recently revealed remains on St Peter's Island. These bodies are all that remains of a settlement wiped out by the Spanish Flu of 1918. It is not known how well the virus will survive in a frozen host. It may be dead but with bodies exposed by storms and rising temperatures, nobody wants to take the chance of waking up the deadliest plague ever to afflict mankind.

The Romanov Cross is a thriller to make you stay up at night. It twists together several strings of story, at the heart of which is this desolate and bleak island in the Bering Straits. This is still a frontier land. Life is still rough here.
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By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Review

This is a tough review to write, I liked this book and at times hated this book. But i think the story wins out in the end. (I hated the use of one word in particular. Lighted... its Lit man Lit... he lit a fire, not lighted it...Ok rant over)

The book is not totally what I was expecting, but I don't often read supernatural thrillers. When you get away from the use of certain words (grr) then you have a story that builds slowly and carefully, gradually drawing the reader in.

I liked the regular time slip elements back to the time of Rasputin and the Romanov's. They have been an enduring mystery of the modern age, and really do grab the interest (or they did with me). The book also triggers a need to know more, I know I have looked more at how things suddenly went so bad for the royal family. (I bet the Germans regretted sending Lenin there in the end though).

In the current time period, the book probably could have lived without the love story and centred more on the spanish flu, and the mystery of the wolves etc.

And ultimately I thought the end for poor Anastasia was a cop-out, I get the keep it all hidden for the best angle, but its a cop-out. it would be better having it hit the headlines and a world scandal but with the Dr and Mayor leaving it all behind in the wider world because up in the wilds of Alaska no one cares about the politics.

Would I recommend?

It's worth a read, I spent a couple of days with it, and at night wanted to keep going not sleep. So despite the draw backs noted, yes a 4 out of 5 thriller, good characters and a nice idea for the plot.

My Wife had a hacking cough while i was reading this, so that added an extra dimension to the story... dont read it when you have a cold, im not sure i would have finished it if i had one.... the spanish flu is a scary SOB.

(Parm)
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