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The Twelfth Department Audiobook – Unabridged

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great stories about this Moscow detective surviving the politics of Stalin's Russia. Good characters and a real insight into one of the most repressive and murderous regimes in history. I shall devour all he writes about Korolev and absolutely recommend this series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A highly enjoyable read. A little slow at times (hence not 5 stars) but I read all three at once. Good characters, believable dialogue and a fascinating insight into a turbulent time in Soviet history. Have read all three books one after the other.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy; hope there is some more Korolev to come!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Highly recommended
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Korolev is in desperate trouble, his son is missing, his ex-wife is being `investigated' and one of the leading Soviet scientists has a bullet in his skull.

Korolev, the hard-working and secret Orthodox Christian, finds himself enmeshed in an investigation which has two separate KGB departments trying to out-manoeuvre each other. Korolev who tries to avoid politics whenever possible is caught in the middle...so if his only child.

I have been a huge fan of the Soviet Militia man since his first literary outing. William Ryan, the author, goes from strength to strength. One can feel the oppressive atmosphere of pre-war Soviet Russia, where people disappear and apartments have sealed tape over the door. Korolev has to make his Christian genuflections in a pocket rather than openly.

Added to the political plotting are the truly hideous experiments being undertaken by Soviet scientists, all in the name of progress? What is about totalitarian societies which abandon medical ethics so rapidly?

This book was read in two nights, I could not put it down. The central character stands out as a man who is more concerned with justice and his family than by protecting his person from the dark forces that push forward Soviet progress. The same cannot be said for others in Korolev's Militia department.

What struck me the most is the acceptance that the state could make people disappear, arrest and charge them with due process of law, that everyone is an informer and the only place to speak the truth is in your own head. Family, friends and colleagues cannot be trusted. Informing brings tangible rewards to those who name names. Ironically the most honest character was the criminal king of the Moscow underworld.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this on the 6th of May and the payment of £4.74 was taken from my bank account on the 8th of May. I was very much looking forward to reading this book, having read the previous books in the series, but it has never come on to my Kindle unlike the previous books I have purchased. I have had my kindle for many years and have always been satisfied so I would be obliged if you can ensure this book is downloaded.
Thank you,
Ralph Lindley.
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By Friarofdoom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
William Ryan returns with the third in his series of Detective Korolev stories.
Based in the heavily oppressive world of 1930'2 Russia Ryan soon re-introduces his audience to the suffocating atmosphere that Stalin's regime imposed on it's subjects.
Korolev must step & speak carefully as he investigates the shooting of a hated professor and soon after the brutal stabbing of the professors rival at work.

The question is though what was that work? Torture & mind control seem to be the research both victims were involved in but Korolev is being watched very closely by a vengeful Orwellian government and must juggle two rival officials both grasping promotion and glory while both using the hapless detective as their means of moving up the ladder.

As he struggles to keep everyone happy, evidence is hidden, doors closed & threats are constantly made. All of which make his job almost impossible but the final straw is the disappearance of his son. Has he run away with a gang of street boys, are they involved somehow or has he been taken as a bargaining chip by the state?

The atmosphere becomes almost unbearable as the story progresses and the unfolding truths are grim and sad.

Ryan writes of a believable and eye opening Russia that saw millions 'disappear' and those left descend into constant fear and petty treachery.
Korolev remains a likeable and human face amongst the crowd and his companions and neighbours look to him to shed some light amongst the inhuman darkness.

This is not without it's flaws though. The pace is slow to the point of almost stopping. There are long passages where little happens and we are left waiting for the story to wake up and lumber on once more.
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By Denise4891💁🏻 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed the first two instalments of William Ryan's series about Moscow Militia detective Alexei Korolev (the first more so than the second), so I was keen to get my hands on the third. After moving away from Moscow for the second book The Bloody Meadow (one of the reasons I wasn't so keen on it), Korolev is back at the heart of the Soviet capital for his next case.

At the beginning of the book Korolev is looking forward to a long holiday from work and spending time with his son Yuri, who usually lives with Korolev's ex-wife Zhenya. However, things don't go to plan and Korolev is soon called back to investigate the death of a scientist who worked at a mysterious institute where a sinister method of mind-control and brain-washing of counter-revolutionaries is being developed. One murder quickly leads to another and soon Korolev is embroiled in a web of corruption and intrigue which puts both his and his son's lives in danger.

What I enjoyed most about the first book in the series, The Holy Thief, was the brooding atmosphere and sense of menace which helped to convey the sense of terror under which ordinary Russian citizens were living, terrified of giving themselves away as doubters or, worse still, Christians (something which Korolev struggles to keep hidden about himself). I didn't get that so much with this instalment; the focus is more on political corruption, sinister Stalinist methods of torture and interrogation and (even more) secret government departments - still fascinating stuff though and a nice break from all the Scandi-crime I've been reading lately.

Whilst this book can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, you will get the most out of it by reading books 1 and 2 first. The characters are starting to feel like old friends now and the relationships between them are developing nicely. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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