Introducing Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, and an outstanding new voice in historical crime fiction...
Moscow, 1936 and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated Church, a young woman is tortured to death, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see.
Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD - the most feared organisation in Russia - becomes involved. Soon, Korolev's every move is under close scrutiny and the Zone - the place where not only Russia's criminals are despatched, but anyone deemed to be an Enemy of the State - doesn't seem quite so distant.
Committed to uncovering the truth behind this gruesome murder, Korolev, assisted by his friend, the poet Isaac Babel, enters the realm of the Thieves, who run Moscow's underworld; and discovers that the American woman's murder is tied up with the theft of a precious religious icon. But as more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger pervades, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life...
- Publication Date:
- 03 / 05 / 2010