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The Darkening Field (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev #2)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  383 ratings  ·  77 reviews
A dedicated policeman caught in terrifying circumstances, Captain Alexei Korolev of Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia may be unwavering in his outward party loyalty but he is forever conflicted about what he must do to maintain that good standing.

It is 1937, and Korolev finds himself on an airplane bound for Odessa after the suspicious suicide of Maria
ebook, 336 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published September 1st 2011)
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Once again we are immersed in the claustrophobic and paranoid atmosphere of Stalinist Russia, in this the follow up to Ryan's remarkable debut `The Holy Thief'. Our erstwhile hero and investigator Captain Korolev becomes embroiled in the suspected suicide of a beautiful young woman working as a film production assistant, and is uprooted from the relative safety of Moscow to the wilds to investigate. A seemingly straightforward case one would think, but as Korolev gets drawn in deeper to her comp ...more
With ‘The Bloody Meadow’ William Ryan brings Alexei Korolev back into action with a case that will have the detective turning in several directions to unravel the mysterious death of a woman with a hidden past. Ryan’s readers will be happy to note that some of the most interesting characters from his previous novel ‘The Holy Thief’ have found their way into the storyline.

Set in 1937 Ukraine, at the time of Stalin’s purge of the Communist Party and Government officials, where people live with the
The Bloody Meadow is the second book in the series set in 1930s Stalinist Russia featuring Militia Captain Alexei Dmitriyevich Korolev, who we first met in the excellent The Holy Thief.

In The Bloody Meadow, the purges of Stalin continue unabated. When one night Korolev is summoned by Colonel Rodinov of the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, Korolev assumes he is under arrest and picks up the bag he has already packed in anticipation of the fateful ‘knock on the door’. In fact, Korolev is ordered to
I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Darkening Field through Goodreads, and I am so glad that I did. I find that I am really enjoying historical mysteries something that I haven't read much of, and combined with my love of Russia history this book was a perfect fit. Ryan does a wonderful job at creating a 1937 Soviet Russia with enough historical detail to make the reader feel like they were there. Captain Korolev, a Moscow detective that happens not to be a member of the Party, finds himself ...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
'The Bloody Meadow will be a dagger into the hearts of the Revolution's enemies.'

This is the second novel to feature Captain Alexei Korolev, the first being The Holy Thief. Set in 1937, The Bloody Meadow of the title is the name of a film being shot in the Ukraine. When Maria Lenskaya, a beautiful young woman working as a production assistant on the film, is found dead, Korolev is dispatched from Moscow to discover the truth about her apparent suicide. After his involvement in a serious investig
I won this book from Goodreads ages ago, and I've finally had the time to get back into reading. Better late than never, right? I have to say I liked the writing in this book, its a part of a series, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having read the first in the series. Also, I don't read a lot of books about Russia, and I'm usually a bit lost when it comes to the political aspect of that country, not to mention the confusing names (multiple last names,nicknames, etc--I never ...more
Ian Young
The Bloody Meadow is the second novel by William Ryan to feature Aleksei Korolev, a detective Working for the Moscow Criminal Investigation Division in 1930s Russia. It follows on from The Holy Thief which was very well reviewed and shortlisted for a number of crime fiction awards. The Bloody Meadow could be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would recommend that a reader starts with The Holy Thief, as it provided some of Korolev's background; he continues to grow as a character through the seco ...more
Rob Kitchin
I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan debut novel, The Holy Thief, so I had high expectations for The Bloody Meadow. It's a good read, but doesn't quite match the quality of the first book in the series. The Holy Thief had a claustrophobic and tense atmosphere, with a very tight plot. The Bloody Meadow is more expansive, felt a little looser in the plotting, and Korolov as a character is little developed in terms of backstory and personal life. And because there is a lot going on and there is a big cast, th ...more
Karen Blinn
I enjoyed this book for its setting as much as anything. Ukraine in 1937 is not a place where one frequently finds a novel set. Ryan does a good job capturing the feel of the place back then when no one could trust anyone else. The main character, Alexei Korolev, is a Moscow detective who is sent to the Odessa area to investigate a death, specifically to determine whether it was a murder. A major movie was being filmed at an agricultural college, and one of the film's production workers, a beau ...more
Following his investigations in The Holy Thief, which implicated those at the very top of authority in Soviet Russia, Captain Alexei Korolev finds himself decorated and hailed as an example to all Soviet workers. But Korolev lives in an uneasy peace – his new-found knowledge is dangerous, and if it is discovered what his real actions were during the case, he will face deportation to the frozen camps of the far north.
But when the knock on the door comes, in the dead of night, it is not Siberia Ko
ZaBeth  Marsh
From the opening paragraph of William Ryan’s second novel, The Darkening Field, readers will feel the tension that builds throughout the novel until a climactic ending. Set in 1937 Russia, lead detective Alexei Korolev must navigate his way through a minefield of clues that could solve a murder mystery but also spark political revolution.
It is clear that Ryan is a master not only of plotting a well crafted mystery but also at describing settings and locations so smoothly that the reader will fin
Roger Pettit
"The Bloody Meadow" is the second and most recent story in what is apparently intended to be a series of thrillers by William Ryan set in the Stalinist Soviet Union of the 1930s. I have not read its predecessor, "The Holy Thief". But, given that "The Bloody Meadow" is a very good novel, I am keen to do so.

The story takes place in 1937, a time when persecution and a sense of paranoia under Stalin's rule are rife. Alexei Korolev, a Moscow police detective, is sent to Odessa to investigate the sus
Jackie Molloy
This story is set in a time and place that was both repressive and threatening. Russian history is a savage, unforgiving story, filled with tyrants, treachery, and suffering. For me, this framed a story that was a real page turner, maybe requiring an entry level of knowledge of Russian history to follow the politics which are pertinent to the plot. I felt I learnt a lot about Police/Politics of the time.
There were great flashes of a certain wry humour now and then, I would have loved more! There
Amy S.
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. I really loved the setting of this book. I have always been interested in Russian history and the Soviet Union. This book took place in The Soviet Union in the late 1930s. Wow, what a scary time and place to live. A person could not trust anyone for fear of denunciation by friends or even family. William Ryan did an excellent job of portraying the fear and uncertainty of this time period and location. I loved that whole aspect of this novel. I felt ...more
Jessica Howard
It's 1937, and Captain Alexei Korolev of Moscow's Criminal Investigation Division is involved in a complicated case. Korolev is sent by Communist bigwigs to the Ukraine to investigate the death of Maria Lenskaya, a young film production assistant who was found hanging from a sconce. Her death is worrisome for the Party because she was romantically involved with Ezhov, the Commissar of State Security.

Forensics quickly prove it was murder, not suicide, and Korolev, with the help of tough female se
Captain Alexei Korolev returns for a second round of murder, mystery and political complications in Stalinist Russia, where political complications can be murderous. Unnervingly rousted from sleep by a knock on his door in the early morning hours, Korlev expects a one-way ticket to the Gulag for the revelations involved in his previous adventure. Instead, he is despatched to the Ukraine, where a young woman working with a film crew has apparently committed suicide. The young woman is a lover of ...more
Overall. a lack lustre read. By the end of the novel, I actually didn't care who had done it. I had absolutely no connection tthe victim, so much so, that I can't remember her name. Ryan's first book, I really enjoyed- Moscow was so intrinsic to the story that it was another chracter. Unfortunately this does not carry over into the Ukraine and I just kept wishing that the tale would end so i could start a new book. Why three stars then i hear you ask? Well I really like Korolev and were he not t ...more
I have just finished the 2nd book in William Ryan's novels about Russian detective Alexei Korolev. Set in Stalinist Russia, Korolev must walk the tight rope of keeping his feelings to himself. Set in the era when everyone is suspect and party loyalty is everything, there is always danger lurking in the most commonplace areas. He is a capable detective and a loyal soviet but his personal feelings sometime deviate from the accepted positions.

He is sent to the Ukraine to investigate an apparent sui
This review is based on an Advance Readers Edition version of the book which I received free from the Publisher through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This is a detective novel with a twist. Everything and everybody is in Russia. How cool is that.

This is great, because it puts a different lens on the process, the politics and the culture of a murder drama.

Our hero in this drama is Alexei Korolev with the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department. As Alexei goes through his investigation the ba
Les Gehman
The Darkening Field by William Ryan is a wonderful murder mystery set in 1937 Soviet Russia. When Captain Alexi Korolev of Moscow's Criminal Investigation Division is sent to Odessa to investigate the murder of a young actress, he uncovers a plot much more twisted than he could have imagined. This is a first-rate mystery that perfectly captures the overriding fog of terror in Stalin's Russia, where even an innocent mistake or mishap is enough to doom you, your coworkers, and your entire family.

I don't think this second mystery was quite as compelling as the first one, however, I did enjoy it. Korolev is embroiled in another investigation by Party leaders. It is dangerous and away from Moscow, out of his comfort zone. He has to balance between Party leaders, "enemies of the State", the thieves organization and his own concerns and doubts. I would have liked better development of many of the characters. Unfortunately, the sheer number of new characters in this book made it difficult. Al ...more
Abbie Ennis
Another excellent book by William Ryan, i have been left wanting more.

In this book the power of the soviet union is seen outside the borders of Russia in the Ukraine and how power relations are continued and yet seen as nothing at the same time. The introduction of Slivka as Korolev's new parnter creates the image of how gender has been made redundant and that the main focus is the Party abd its power and how everything else has become obsolite.

For anyone who likes to read crime thrillers set i
A Stalinist Russia's police procedural featuring Captain Alexei Korolev. This is the 2nd in the series and is as interesting and intriguing as the first book, The Holy Field. Set in 1937, Korolev is sent from Moscow to Odessa to investigate the murder of a young woman, a loyal party member with friends in high places. Enter actresses, film makers, writers, gunrunners, thieves,terrorists and the militia---all with secrets, demands and fears and Korolev is placed in the difficult position of solvi ...more
Mike Whalley
It's not always the case that the follow up book to a debut success can enjoy similar acclaim, but with The Bloody Meadow William Ryan has achieved just that.
This is another absorbing story about a police investigator operating under the harsh Stalinist regime just before the Second World War.
Ryan's description of life in the Ukraine, where he attempts to solve the murder of a film production assistant, is vivid and brutal. Makes our current austerity here in Britain look like a piece of cake!
I received this book in the First Reads program for free. Keeping in mind the era that the book is set in, the police investigative techniques available to Captain Korolev make you wonder how they ever solved major crimes. The mix of trying to investigate a crime, keep it discrete due to the involvement of political powers, and deal with the political climate of a fledgling country following a revolution, made a complex read that keeps you guessing about the actual killer. I hope to get to read ...more
Really enjoyed this book by William Ryan. It's a basic murder mystery, but set in pre-WWII Soviet Union and that makes all the difference. A Moscow detective gets sent to Odessa to investigate a murder on the set of a Soviet propaganda movie. Because the dead girl's lover is a highly placed Soviet officer he must tread carefully. The depictions of Odessa are evocative and the characters live in an atmosphere of paranoia that make me very glad to live in the USA. This is the second in what looks ...more
I got a paperback copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads and thought it would be an awesome read judging by the 4-star reviews. I was pretty disappointed. I don't know what it is about the book that I don't enjoy exactly - maybe a ton of Russian references that I would understand better if I had more knowledge of Russia? Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this particular book? The so far uncaptivating protagonist? For me the first chapter or so couldn't get me hooked in any way and trying ...more
The second mystery set in Stalin's Russia and involving Captain Koroloev of the Moscow homicide division is very good as recreation of the atmosphere of the time and the cynicism and regular 'code speak" of the people.

The mystery itself - taking place in Ukraine near Odessa at a film shooting and involving the apparent suicide of a young and pretty girl with many "frineds" in the Moscow elite - is tense and the book reads like a thriller, but ultimately the resolution is a bit melodramatic and
Randy Daugherty
First off this was a Advance reader copy given through Goodreads.
Captain Alexi Korolev of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Division is awakened early in the morning.He answers the door expecting to be arrested or worse.These are hard times in Stalinist Russia.
he is not arrested but is told of a young actress who committed suicide, or did she? This is what he is to determine and because of her lover's(one of many) status, it must be handled with the utmost care.
This was truly a good murder mys
I received this book from Bookbrowse.
I liked this book very much. It had a good story with lots of twists and turns, and the Russian detective is a fascinating protagonist. My copy of the book was entitled "The Darkening Field", but I guess the finished product has been renamed to "The Bloody Meadow". Either title would suffice.
I like the list of characters at the beginning of the book, just like in an Agatha Christie novel; it helped me with the Russian names.
Overall, this was a good read, and
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Goodreads Librari...: Stumped on how to merge 2 versions of book 6 30 Dec 03, 2012 02:39PM  
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William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before taking up writing full-time. His first novel, THE HOLY THIEF, was shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, The CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger and a Barry Award. His second novel, THE BLOODY ...more
More about William Ryan...

Other Books in the Series

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev (3 books)
  • The Holy Thief (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #1)
  • The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #3)
The Holy Thief (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #1) The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #3)

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