SATURDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2011
My wife saw this on the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and it was also a book I had read about, can’t remember where. I read it and I think it could quite easily be turned into a TV series or a film it’s that good especially when you find that Sam Eastland is a British writer who lives in the United States. The Eye of the Red Tsar is the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Pekkala.
First in a gripping new series of detective novels set at the birth of Stalin’s Russia,
It is the time of the Great Terror. Inspector Pekkala – known as the Emerald Eye – was once the most famous detective in all Russia, the favourite of the Tsar. Now he is the prisoner of the men he once hunted. Like millions of others, he has been sent to the gulags in Siberia and, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, he is as good as dead. But a reprieve comes when he is summoned by Stalin himself to investigate a crime. His mission – to uncover the men who really killed the Tsar and his family, and to locate the Tsar’s treasure. The reward for success will be his freedom and the chance to re-unite with the woman he would have married if the Revolution had not torn them apart. The price of failure – death. Set against the backdrop of the paranoid and brutal country that Russia became under the rule of Stalin, Eye of the Red Tsar introduces a compelling new figure to readers of crime fiction.
What Do I Think?
First Sentence: “Through blood-dimmed eyes, the Tsar watched the man reload his gun” that hooked me straight away; however I wasn’t expecting a very good read from a debut novel, I was pleasantly surprised I got a good read, fast paced in parts, slow in others but all of it good.
Sam Eastland’s main character Pekkala was once a highly respected, and fearsome, police agent trusted by and specially chosen by Tsar Nicholas, the last Tsar of Russia.
Sam Eastland’s use of imagery of his characters, the flora and fauna, the weather and buildings is extremely effective; he paints visual pictures in your mind and he also imparts upon you a useful look at the period in time, there was some good quality historical information and an exceedingly different observation of Rasputin that was fascinating.
His main character Pekkala could easily have been portrayed as the formulaic sleuth/spy but Sam avoided taking us down that road by providing us with a skilful background story of his live which I found intriguing.
There never was a minute where I contemplated putting this book down it was too well written with each chapter containing an unexpected twist and building up to a final dramatic climax.
For historical interest this new and exciting story-weaver has included a detailed account of established facts regarding the real death of the Tsar at the back of the book.
In conclusion this was a good read worth 4 stars because I find that there is nowt more pleasing than a well told story with a gripping, dramatic opening and a dramatic ending and Sam Eastland provided this, Sam Eastland without doubt has talent as a story-weaver and I am eagerly awaiting his next book.
- Book Review: Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland (pewreviews.wordpress.com)
- the tsars (garanna.wordpress.com)
- House of Romanov to investigate murder of Nicholas II (rt.com)
- Great dynasties of the world: The Romanovs (guardian.co.uk)