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on 4 December 2017
okay read
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on 16 April 2017
I enjoyed the concept and the story which was well written and well executed. I preferred this book (#4) to the previous one in the series.

On the down side though, I had the audio book version which was read by Richard Ferrone who's reading style has very little inflection. His characters all sound exactly the same, male, female, old, young, nothing to distinguish who is talking, no "character acting" whatsoever. This is especially confusing when the book is written in first person but a large part is being retold from a journal written by a Russian. Both sound exactly the same and with the lack of inflection much of the dialogue is delivered in an almost monotone, makjing me think of Mayor Quimby in The Simpsons. Really, really boring to listen to. So 4 stars for the book but I'd minus 4 stars for the appalling narrator. get it in papareback or on Kindle and avoid the Richard Ferrone audiobook version
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on 28 April 2015
This is a terrible book. Up to now I've enjoyed the adventures of Sean & Tess and was looking forward to them continuing. The book starts very slow because a lot of characters are introduced, some with unpronouncable and immediately forgettable Russian names and keeping track of who's who slows down the action. The majority of the first 100 pages barely involve Sean Reilly and poor Tess is reduced to two mentions, both of them sleepy utterances from bed. Don't know what she's been doing since the end of the last book but she's still sleeping it off. By page 140 I was so fed up with Sokolov that I was beginning to question whether this was a Sean/Tess book at all but by then it was too late. The book went on to the Oxfam pile unfinished and I reached for the next Scott Mariani book. Raymond, get a grip.
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on 12 June 2015
Not as impressed as I thought I woudl be having read other books by this author. This was a slightly messy novel, with too much going on and the modern part of the story about the child seemed almost irrelevant. Okay.
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on 25 October 2014
I can't quite put my finger on it but did not enjoy thus book as much as khourys others and I gave read them all. However, I would not say don't read it, I did enjoy it, but nit quite as much as usual.
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on 10 March 2014
This was slow to grab my interest, with too many threads running at the start. Got into it by chapter 5, but found myself speed-reading from about half way at times to get on with the story.
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on 10 February 2014
Historically reasonable but too convoluted to be exciting. Finished it but made myself finish it rather than through interest.

Mediocre for Mr. Khoury
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on 16 October 2016
Rather disappointed in this book. Seemed to be more padding than actual story. Does not match up to standard of previous novels by this author.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 November 2013
For me Raymonds books are a different sort of thriller, the journey is just that a journey, its never for me a thrill ride. Instead its a tale on an epic scale everytime with a problem that has global ramifications. In this latest take we are back with our old friends Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin (the 4th book in this series). There is a splendid time-slip element, taking us back to walk in the time of Rasputin, there is a fantastic continuation of the over all story arc for Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin (this is also going to be frustrating as hell for anyone who has not read the last book).

The plot of this book is scary as hell, the concept of the technology (that i mention due to spoilers) is a terrorist nightmare, a horror that is so easy to envisage, the software and hardware exists, the science is sound, its just not been put together......or has it?

When you read how this technology could be used by a man or a government without a conscience, that's just scary, and its that which is the true skill and power of a Raymond Khoury book, the power to provide horrifyingly realistic visions of what could be.

well worth reading


Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin
1. The Last Templar (2005)
2. The Templar Salvation (2010)
3. The Devil's Elixir (2011)
aka Second Time Around
4. Rasputin's Shadow (2013)

The Sanctuary (2007)
The Sign (2009)
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on 21 November 2013
I was really eager to get stuck into Raymond Khoury's fourth novel in his Templar/Reilly series, and with the chance to read about modern Russian history and how it's most notorious mysterious character, Rasputin, fits into the present day. Khoury really does have a nifty skill at writing quick-fire action scenes, getting the blood pumping and keeping your attention until the very last page. With the previous outing, we saw a much more personal approach to the story, with protagonist, Sean Reilly, taking centre stage - and I thought it would be extremely interesting to see how things would continue here.

What hits you straight away, is the mystery of why a Russian embassy official has seemingly committed suicide, and the elderly (ish) couple who lives in the flat, mysteriously disappeared? Things just don't add up for Reilly, as he is suspicious about the Russian connection in this case; feeling as if Russian FSB agent, Larisa Sokolova, is not revealing the full truth. It isn't until we learn of an unusual device that can cause people to become so enraged that they turn on everyone around them, that we see a connection back to the early 1900's and of course to the peasant who rose the social hierarchy, gaining the love and respect of the Russian Royal family - Grigory Rasputin.

The plot in Rasputin's Shadow is pretty decent and interesting - I mean, a machine that can be used unknowingly on innocent victims to turn them into savage barbarians is pretty mind-blowing. And addictive! What I really loved, especially early on, is how the reader can see both sides of the plot as it happens. Sokolov (the elderly retired Russian) weaves the tides expertly, trying to save his captured wife, as well as bringing his own plan of action into play. He's actually a really endearing character, toying with his guilt of building a machine that can used so viciously, and with lying to his wife.

In the first half of the book, Reilly is a little lost. No leads means no areas of investigation. His language and inward thoughts are extremely reflective and I think this is a nice touch. It does slow things down a little, but I liked seeing this side of Reilly. But as expected, Reilly is smart enough to figure things out, and by the last 100 or so pages, he takes the lead and really cements himself in the action. Some people may be put off by the switch up in writing style if they are unfamiliar with The Devil's Elixir, but I think this experimental style is genius. Most parts are written in the third person, but when Reilly's part comes around, it reverts to being in first person. I can see how this may annoy people, but what this does is give us a brilliant chance to get inside of Reilly's mind more.

What really hit me though, was the journal entries that feature throughout the book. Written by a Russian monk called Misha, he was Rasputin's sidekick of sorts, and his views of the political and social environment and mood within Russia during his friend's rise is simply riveting. I found myself yearning to read more of Misha's insights and they really are a gem. My only complaint is that I think there could have been a few more bits.

Most of the characters in Rasputin's Shadow are quite interesting. Reilly is, well Reilly and if you've read him for as long as I have, you tend to know what to expect from him, but he's a good lead. As I've already mentioned, I found Sokolov incredibly believable and I urged (aloud sometimes) for him to be OK in the end. His obvious love for his wife and his temptations to satisfy his scientific mind were really mesmerising to read. The Korean, Johnny, was also a surprise read for me. I found his arrogant start a little annoying, but his part in the story made complete sense. And we all love a great baddie, don't we? Koschey may not be a malicious as the villain in The Devil's Elixir, but he is incredibly smart, and very readable.

I did find however, the Russian agent, Larisa, a little redundant. I didn't really get a feel for, and it wasn't until the very end where you actually get to see more of what she's capable of, but by then, I found I could take her or leave her. And what about Tess! I can see why Khoury decided not to feature her in this story, but I've come to love the duo of Reilly and Tess, and with her missing from this book altogether - well, it was a little downer for me.

There is also a little second plot running through Rasputin's Shadow. If you are a Khoury fan, you'll know about the situation between Reilly and his son. Reilly's search for Reed Corrigan, the CIA mind-control spook responsible for brainwashing Reilly's son, does feature slightly, but with the imposing threat of the machine, you can understand why it takes a back seat. It does however come full circle, and Khoury leaves you with a cracking cliffhangar, where this story arc is concerned. I found myself smiling at the end, as I realised that the next book will be explosive - and I can't wait.

If you love thrillers with action, mystery and a touch of history, Rasputin's Shadow is exactly the book to get. I didn't know a single thing about Rasputin's story, but I found the interwoven plots in here ignite my intrigue into this infamous Russian. No matter how far-fetched an idea is, a device that can cause instant rage for example, Khoury's talent in making things extremely believable only cements his status in the thriller genre at the top. Khoury doesn't pull any punches when it comes to his plots. They are gritty, full of action and very current, also never afraid to to reference recent newsworthy points. If you love a good action-packed thriller, be sure to add this to your Christmas list.
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