Top positive review
Great plot and this really could have happened!
1 August 2017
I'd never read any books by this author but had had him highly recommended many times. He normally writes non fiction but this is a novel only based loosely on the truth.
Before the story starts there is a huge list of characters - some real and some fictional. I thought this looked ominous and the plot was going to be very complicated, actually I found the list really useful and referred back to it for a while until the characters developed. I found the names quite complex for a while but quickly got to know them and the plot soon started to move at a cracking pace.
There is no doubt about the fictional nature of the plot as most of the characters are created but there is enough truth here to make the plot very intriguing. The Soviet Union was such an unstable place during this period and no-one was safe - this is shown very clearly by the author of this book. He shows the fear in everyone and the portrayed images to be so different to how the people were actually feeling.
Using the teenage children in the plot is a great device to play with their innocence and lack of experience whilst being able to compare Old Russia with New Russia.
Time moves on as the strands of plot come together but the author never patronises the reader which makes for a great book. You will need to think when you are reading this.
As the author has such a great knowledge of the truth, I found that this novel played with my mind and made me think that this could all have happened in Stalinist Russia.
I was reading the book whilst in Russia which helped with my reading experience but I think it would be great anywhere.