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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dont read if you have the Flu, 26 Feb 2013
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Romanov Cross (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chills and Thrills Aplenty, 3 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Romanov Cross (Hardcover)
I'll skip the synopsis, as other reviewers have already done the heavy lifting there.

Masello has written a wonderfully involving and original yarn that has all the best qualities of a thriller - determined hero, sassy heroine, seedy manipulative villains, lurking menace and a dash of the supernatural that adds a fine creepy edge to the story without overwhelming it or taking away from the realism. His portrait of a remote Alaskan communtiy ultimately redeemed by its close shave with disaster is vivid and convincing, again deftly treading that fine line between small town neighbourliness and small town paranoia. The flashbacks to the birth of Soviet Russia and the grim end of the Romanovs were also vivid and utterly engrossing.

What I enjoyed the most, I think, was the way we kept rooting for the hero even when everything was going wrong for him and his crew. I don't want to give away the ultimate ending, but he doesn't conquer the world or end up getting a medal, it's smaller and truer and more enjoyable that that.

I'm writing this review in late summer and wish I'd come across this book earlier because it is a superb thriller to take on holiday, one that merits re-reading and which you'd happily pass on to your friends to read (though I'm sure the author would prefer them to buy their own copy). Masello can really spin a yarn - I'm going to catch up on his earlier works and keep an eye out for his next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: The Romanov Cross (Hardcover)
I really enjoy Robert Masello books though there not my usual genre of reading.
The romanov cross is great, the two stories running side by side was not off putting at all. The story was easy to read and kept me entertained. Was happy when a certain character died after all her suffering, was afraid she would be left wandering and alone. It did end on the possiblity of another book-hope so.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Romanov Cross, 20 April 2013
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Romanov Cross (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. While I didn't enjoy the scenes about digging up corpses, anyone with an eye toward med school will be fascinated by the extreme precautions taken by the team, from antiviral medication to a hazmat disposable autopsy chamber - this reminded me of 'The X-Files'. Wolves were never recorded as killing humans but Masello shows his pack as fearless and very hungry - perhaps desperate. As the local fishermen make it back to shore the worry is that they could spread the virus around and decimate the population. While not for the tender, THE ROMANOV CROSS is a fast-moving thriller that will keep you reading... but maybe not if you have the flu
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4.0 out of 5 stars Immensely enjoyable - and chilly - thriller, 20 Mar 2013
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Romanov Cross (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. Vane and his `born again' brother survive as well as they can by stealing, lying, even searching for divine salvation, whereas Slater's new ally, local mayor Nika Tincook refuses to give up on the people here, wanting them to relearn a sense of their Inuit past and work together for a future. Not surprisingly, Nina has a sense of adventure and courage that more than matches that of Slater.

The action of the novel moves between the Alaskan coastal town of Port Olav and the island of St Peter's, much of it exposed to the harshest elements, not all of them explicable. But there is more to the story than that. In parallel with it is the story of St Peter's settlers and their links to one of the most famous figures of Tsarist Russia - the Mad Monk, or Rasputin. The story travels through the decades, to and from the last weeks and days of the Tsar and his family during World War I. The Tsar had young children. The horror of what happened to them is brought home here and the poignancy of that, plus the awfulness of the devastation of the Spanish Flu, complements so well the action of the thriller and gives the book some heart.

Slater and Nika are both characters I wanted to know more about whereas the Vane brothers, and their appalling hangers on, were enjoyably unpleasant. I liked the way that the Romanov stories intertwined with the current action and I was moved by their stories, which were all the more emotional because history tells us how it ended.

There is a supernatural element in The Romanov Cross but far from seeming preposterous or out of place it is in keeping with the desolation and chill of St Peter's Island and doesn't seem too far removed from the old Inuit beliefs which are just holding on and emerge now and again through the novel. There is a touch of melodrama towards the end but, on the whole, I thought the story was well done and well-written. I did not want to put it down and during the last half I didn't. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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The Romanov Cross
The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello (Hardcover - 5 Mar 2013)
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