3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Holy Thief by William Ryan,
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This review is from: The Holy Thief (The Korolev Series) (Paperback)
Stalin's Moscow in the 1930s: a woman is found dead and horribly tortured in a former Orthodox church building. Captain Alexei Korolev of the City Militia is called to investigate. What is the connection with a legendary pre-Revolution and reputedly miraculous religious icon which went missing? And why is a General in the NKVD, Stalin's State Police, interested in the case?
'The Holy Thief' by William Ryan is a well-crafted book. The sense of time and place is superbly evoked; the reader can feel the cold, see the shabbiness and feel the fear. Ryan brilliantly captures the paranoia pervading all of Soviet society at this dark period in its history. Ryan also presents the protagonist well: Korolev comes across as a likeable character with depth whom the reader wants to learn more about.
There are elements of crime fiction, spy thriller and historical fiction in this enjoyable read. I felt, though, the pace was quite plodding for a thriller and the plot sometimes hard to follow. To sum up, it is a competent though not outstanding novel.