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Victory Square: A Novel (Ruthenia Quintet #5)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The revolutionary politics and chaotic history at the heart of Olen Steinhauer's literary crime series set in Eastern Europe have made it one of today's most acclaimed, garnering two Edgar Award nominations, among numerous other awards. Upon reaching the tumultuous 1980s, the series comes full circle as one of the People's Militia's earliest cases reemerges to torment its ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published August 21st 2007)
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Mal Warwick
A powerful tale of life in Eastern Europe during the fall of Communism

Some years ago I chanced upon one of Olen Steinhauer’s excellent contemporary spy stories, sped through it and read another, and finally, in searching for more of his work, found his five-novel cycle set in a fictional Central European country nestled among Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria. (Geographically, the country has to be Slovakia, which only recently gained its independence, but some readers think it more closely r
BEWARE: One man's bookflap summary is another man's spoiler.

Victory Square's "public" story arc involves the overthrow of an Eastern European dictator. That arc, the author explains in an afterword, is loosely based on on the fall of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.

But several arcs of private individuals are the main focus of the story.

The most obvious arc belongs to first-person narrator Emil Brod, a longtime security investigator who's a couple days away from mundane retirement.

In th
Steinhauer wraps up his People's Militia Series with this engrossing tale of revenge in the midst of the revolutionary events of 1989.

It is not the sleek razor edged thriller Liberation Movements, but is a fascinating conclusion to this under-appreciated series.
Fifth and final book in the series, set in Eastern Europe in the years after World War II through the end of the communist regimes in 1989. Each book is set in a subsequent decade. The action this time is in 1989. Some of the Soviet satellite countries have already overthrown their governments, and the fictional country where these books are set is about to do so.
The main story-line goes back to the first book of the series. The central charachter is Emil Brod, who was just joining the Militia
Loosely based on the revolution against and subsequent execution of the Ceaucescus in Romania, this is the final installment of Steinhauer's thriller series that takes place in his unnamed Eastern Bloc nation. I like his fallible characters--old guys with old guy problems who are having a hard time letting go of the old system while trying to find some justice in it. I also think that the time the author spent in the region on a Fulbright scholarship is clear here as he mentions details that one ...more
During the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, a Militia chief is investigating a seemingly simple heart attack of a State Security officer. But events take a turn when it's discovered the dead man was reviewing the chief's very first investigation at the start of his career 40 years ago.

This is book five in Steinhauer's Yalta Boulevard Sequence, and, like the others, it takes place in his fictional, Eastern European country which he describes as "the intersection of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine,
In Steinhauer's 'almost brilliant' conclusion to his Yalta Boulevard Sequence(Bridge of Sighs, The Confession, 36 Yalta Boulevard, Liberation Movements, & Victory Square), Steinhauer examines the collapse of the moral and social order (both for a nation and individuals) when a former Eastern Block nation finally rejects its totalitarian regime and leader. 'Victory Square' is stronger and more graceful in its first half, but still manages to close out the series well.

Taken together, the five
Oddly satisfying, strangely disappointing....
After getting to know the various members of the Homicide dept. of the Militia of the unnamed Eastern European Soviet Bloc country after WWII, it was satisfying to see how they all ended up after the Iron Curtain fell. This was especially true of Emil Brod, the almost retired main protagonist of this concluding 5th book of the series as well as the newbie in the first book set in the late 1940’s.
OTOH, the first three books had the tension of police pr
What had confused me more than once while reading this and others in the series, is whether the three of them are set in a fictional East European country, or I’ve just missed - or been too stupid to put two and two together, it’s possible - which Eastern European country he’s actually set them in. I began piecing clues together like this - The country is, west of Ukraine. It was overrun by the Germans at the start of WWII. "Early on in the occupation, the Germans had enlisted the help of malcon ...more
It’s taken me a couple of days of mourning before I could review the last of Olen Steinhauer’s Yalta books, Victory Square. I have enjoyed all five books very much, but all good things must come to an end, and that makes me a bit sad.

Endings are a theme in Victory Square; careers end, lives end, governments end. In several ways, Victory Squarebrings the story started in Bridge of Sighs full circle. Emil Brod, the hero of Bridge of Sighs, returns as the hero of Victory Square. In the first book,
I should have started with the first book in this series! Why? I have to admit that I struggled a bit with all the different polical groups in this spy novel set in an imaginary Eastern European country. However....this does not mean that I didn't enjoy it - a lot! Great tension plus a twisting and turning plot kept me thoroughly engaged. Now for books 1 and 2!
Apr 14, 2014 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of history and mystery
The amount of flashback made this one a bit curious for listening, but it was still a good listen. Steinhauer keeps the characters moving forward in the story, and has a keen ability to place you in the scene. The story seems to show that revenge is curious motivator, and may have almost no limit as an emotion.
The 5th & final installment in Steinhauer's series about spies & secret policy in Romania. The series started in the late 1940's after WWII, and each book picks up about 8-10 years after the prior one. In this final novel, Steinhauer tells about the collapse of communism in Romania in 1989 after perestroika and glasnost have already led to the demise of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR into separate nations. This is the best of the 5 novels, and some of Steinhauer's best c ...more
Tim Nokken
A fairly good read, but a hard book to categorize. Sort of a spy novel, sort of a crime novel, sort of a recent history novel on the fall f the iron curtain. As such, I found myself trying to keep time/people/locations and events straight, as they all varied. It also bothered Me that it was set in a fictional country. I kind of see why the author did that, but didn't find it necessary. Despite these shortcomings, I did enjoy it.
I like that Steinhauer ties together all the loose ends and threads that had been floating through the quintet. I had to find Bridge of Sighs to recall how Emil Broad met all the other main characters that I'd followed over 5 books and several decades. A satisfying conclusion
Perhaps my least favorite of Steinhauer's books. Not to say it isn't good - it is very well done - but some of the intrigue seems a little far-fetched this time. I would still suggest it if you have read his other works.
Really enjoyed this book. Am sad series is over but thought did a good job wrapping it up letting you know where other characters from prior books ended up.
Great ending to a great series!
This is an amazing plot
The main historical event that ends this story is the murder of the Ceausescus during the Romanian revolution/uprising. A very complicated story with militias, covert operations, security police at times I was lost. But on balance this is a very intense murder investigation by Comrade Chief Brod. He is extremely sympathetic. By the end of the story, I felt I'd had a very good lesson in the workings of a communist bureaucracy.
Steinhauer's books always give your an interesting look at the politics and chaos of countries coming out of the shadow of the Soviet Union, through the life of Inspector Emil Brod, from a fictitious Eastern European country. His first book in the series, Bridge of Sighs, pulled me into the drama of the lives impacted by the politics. And this book finishes what was started then. So glad I picked this up at the library.
Anthony Mazzorana
Great conclusion to the series! I thought parts of the trial dragged on a bit, but the ending more than made up for it. I am part Romanian and remember my mom closely following the developments of the revolution as it all unfolded on CNN, so for that reason I found this novel particularly poignant.
Chris Denison
Really, really favorite of his novels in the series...the writing and characters were profound....I understand them and their challenges more than any other time....the last one of the series captivated all that was there led to this and they left whole to the reader
I should have figured out the order of books in this series before I started (this is the last one). I have trouble following complicated "spy" type plots like this one, but the way the writer describes life in a country like Romania is chilling and feels, at least, very true.
The conclusion of Olen Steinhauer's series - the joint show the most in this book, perhaps too hastily written to put a cap on things, but a fitting end nonetheless. A great series of books.
This is part of a detective series set in a fictional Eastern European country. Now I want to read the earlier books. Very good writer. Much insight into the region and the politics.
The best, and sadly last in the series. Victory Square made me want to go back and reread the earlier books again. Well done, and I'm glad he's got more books out there.
Last volume in his series about an Eastern European country from the end of World War II to the fall of communism. Enjoyed them all.
A satisfactory conclusion to the series. Victory Square was faster paced than the previous books and I really will miss reading more.
has all the elements of eastern euro good fiction, but ultiamtely not that good of a book. i am disappointed, as authopr has a lot of hype.
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Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he's lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy. He also spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and dau ...more
More about Olen Steinhauer...

Other Books in the Series

Ruthenia Quintet (5 books)
  • The Bridge of Sighs
  • The Confession
  • 36 Yalta Boulevard
  • Liberation Movements
The Tourist (The Tourist, #1) The Nearest Exit (The Tourist, #2) An American Spy (The Tourist, #3) The Cairo Affair All the Old Knives

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