Eye of the Red Tsar (Inspector Pekkala #1)
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Eye of the Red Tsar (Inspector Pekkala #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,743 ratings  ·  355 reviews
One July, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. Their bodies were hidden away, the location a secret of the Soviet state.

A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the ouskirts of humanity. Pekkala, was once the most trusted secret ag...more
ebook, BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Sam Eastland's" Shadow Pass.", 304 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Bantam (first published 2010)
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Logan
I enjoyed this one, but it gets two stars because, after writing this review, I realized my enjoyment had more to do with the subject matter than with the actual merits of the book. I've always had a fascination with Russian history, especially anything dealing with the Romanovs and the Revolution. I've devoured numerous books on the subject, but this one fell short of my hopes for three reasons.

First, the suspense, for me, was dampened by knowledge of the Romanovs' fate. True, you'd have to liv...more
Dawn
I find Russian history fascinating. Russia has been through so many changes and often in a very dramatic way.
With the inclusion of the Romanov family demise and the political landscape 10 years after their death, the author imbued the story with a dramatic and desperate feel.
I was amazed that Pekkala would be so calm after all he'd been through, it just seems like you would want to rail at the system or disappear as soon as you could but I like him as a detective character, that same calmness...more
Anne
Sam Eastland's first (as far as I can tell) novel offers an intriguing setting: the Soviet Union in 1929. HIstorical novels of Russia abound, but most are set either in Tsarist times or in recent decades. Eastland's protagonist, Pekkala (his first name, like Spenser's, is never given), was a detective who was very close to Tsar Nicholas II and his family. After the revolution he was sent to a Siberian labor camp, where he managed to survive in conditions that no one else was able to endure. As t...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Mysteries within mysteries. I loved the complexity of this plot.
I've been having some great luck with first novels lately, and this is another excellent one. The story takes place in 1929 and presents some fresh twists on the old "what really happened to the Romanovs?" conundrum. It's meticulously researched for period detail. Parts of the book were so fascinating that I almost wished it was longer, but I appreciate the author's all-too-rare ability to keep it tight and contained.

There's a sup...more
Amber Dunten
Fact: During the 1917 Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II and his family were arrested and imprisoned.

Fact: They spent part of their year-long imprisonment under house arrest at the Ipatiev House in the town of Yekaterinburg, while the Bolsheviks argued over what to do with them. Some wanted to simply execute them, but the cooler heads argued a public trial would help bolster the legitimacy of the new government.

Fact: As the anti-communist White Army approached the town, rather than risk allo...more
Jay
Nov 22, 2011 Jay rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jay by: Barnes & Noble Staff Recommendation
Shelves: crime-mystery
I am always looking for serial novels that I can read more or less in a sitting or two, that fall into the general category of crime or mystery, and that keep me turning the page with a heightened level of anticipation. A Barnes and Noble staff member recommended Sam Eastland’s “Eye of the Red Tsar”. It is the first in a series of, to date, two works that will engage its protagonist in a variety of investigations in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Eastland’s choice of the staging area of the series undou...more
Shannan
Jan 19, 2011 Shannan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Megan
Shelves: 2011
This book had nice character development and some very thoughtful reflections on life and war and change. I enjoyed reading this book merely as a stand alone suspense novel, but not as a work of historical fiction. Actually the sub-title reminds us that this is indeed a "Novel of Suspense" perhaps so the reader wont get too caught up in the names and dates and well, the truth. The author does include an index at the end with facts, and I fought the urge to flip back and read it because I think i...more
Jennifer W
I won this book on goodreads giveaways!! My first win! Can't wait to get it. I love the Russian Revolution, it's got the perfect mix of story elements- kings and queens, a mystical doctor who basically controls the family, rebellion, murder, and a possible escape. What more could you want in a story?


I was really quite impressed with this book. There are some minor areas that could be better but overall a very good first book from an author that I will certainly be reading in the future. I think...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: Pekkala is the Tsar's most powerful subject, the only one with the power to arrest even the Tsar himself for crimes against Russia. The Revolution, naturally enough, ends that power, and Pekkala endures torture and isolation for more than a decade before Comrade Stalin needs Pekkala's unique skills and knowledge to solve a lingering mystery: Who actually killed the Tsar, since it wasn't Moscow's orders to do so? Did any of the Romanovs survive Ekaterinburg? T...more
Laura
Just arrived from Finland through BM.

A very griping espionage story of Inspector Pekkala who formerly was Tsar's special investigator.

The plot involves the Romanov's assassination with the historical background of the Russian revolution.
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
L'unica parte decente e interessante di questo libro sono le note storiche alla fine del volume, probabilmente perchè ricalcano i passaggi dei libri biografici presi come fonte storica e citati nel libro stesso. Visto che non sono neanche una decina, ci si può rendere conto della ricerca storica che si è fatta per scrivere questa meraviglia, probabilmente ne ho letti più io.
I personaggi principali di questa storia sono delle macchiette completamente improbabili del contesto storico che si voleva...more
Jeffrey
This was a book I won in a First Read's giveaway.

Sam Eastland's affable first book of an investigator in Stalin-era Russia is an interesting, if predictable, read.

For a "thriller," the novel is noticeably lacking in thrills. The first four-fifths contains no sign of an adversary as the hero and his cohort extensively investigate the Romanov's disappearance with no resistance at all. "Chill[s}" likewise are noticeably absent from this formulaic murder investigation. Until very late in the book,...more
Karen
Subjects in crime fiction seem to come in waves these days. Russian history seems to be one of those waves, either that or there's some weird synergy going on in my life. EYE OF THE RED TSAR is one of the Russian themed books I've been lucky enough to receive recently. Set against Russia under the rule of Stalin and all the brutality and ruthlessness that regime imposed, this is a book about the life of Pekkala. A favourite of the Tsar, Pekkala was known to be utterly loyal to his master.

Unexpe...more
Brad
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. It's still an honest review, but the FTC wanted you to know...
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This was a good story, which I won from goodreads. Despite being a little slower than I expected (the book is advertised as a thriller, but is more of a historical mystery) I really enjoyed it. It takes place in the early 1900s in Russia, where the Tsar's most trusted investigator is pulled from a prison camp to investigate the death of the Tsar and his famil...more
Cheryl
Nicholas Romanov, Tsar of Russia was a very powerful man. With wealth and power comes the danger of people always wanting to kill you.

While training in the military, Pekkala met Romanov. They became friends, formed form their admiration for each other. Due to Pekkala amazing ability to remember things, even down to the smallest of things like how many buttons are on someone’s coat; Romanov brought Pekkala into his closest circle. Pekkala became known as “The Red Eye of the Tsar.
In 1917, Romano...more
BoekenTrol
Won this book in a tag-give-away on Facebook. Look forward to read it very much!

At last I had the time to read this book.

While reading, some of the expectations I had were not fulfilled: the text on the back cover suggests that it is a very exciting book, but for me it was not.
During the story I was curious about what would happen, but did not sit on the edge of my seat, ready to warn the main character that something is about to happen what I know, but he is not. (Sometimes I have that with a...more
Tony
This debut historical thriller takes the execution of the Romanov royal family in 1918 as the catalyst for its plot. (A word of warning to anyone with a an interest in or knowledge of the Romanovs and/or that era of Russian/Soviet history -- the author takes a great deal of fictional liberties with the known facts -- as is his right as a storyteller -- so don't expect one of those works of historical fiction that dovetails perfectly with reality.) The protagonist is a Finn named Pekkala who enli...more
Gail Bradshaw
I enjoyed the writing style of Sam Eastland, especially some of his descriptions of small things that were pleasantly surprising and clever. His characters were mostly believable, the plot was good (if you don't know the actual story of the Romanov's murder then it is a surprise ending). The only thing I didn't like was what I considered a flaw in the main character near the end of the book, he did not get something right that I believe if he truly was the strong character he was made out to be...more
Tiffany
This book made me want to know more about Russian history. It made me wish I had listened more closely in my world history classes growing up. I really liked Pekkala's character. I love characters who have strong morals and stick to them despite adversity and/or temptations of monetary gains or promises of power.

I have to admit that I wasn't always sure who could be trusted throughout this book which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout it. I don't know if that is a function of my lack of k...more
Stephanie C.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Derek
I have to admit. I inadvertently read the second book in the Pekkala series (#2 Shadow Pass) first. I enjoyed it quite a bit, so I received this as a gift from my girlfriend, and while it was slow mostly the first half of the book, it ended with a much more intense tone. The book is labeled as a "suspense/thriller" novel, but I would consider it more a "mystery/suspense". Admittedly, I am 100% new to the genre of mystery, technically this is my second mystery book ever (Shadow Pass being my firs...more
Sheri
I won the Eye of the Red Tsar (Sam Eastland) on Good Reads. This is a fantastic story set in Russia, under the reign of Josef Stalin, during the (Russian) revolution.

The Tsar of Russia, Nicholas Romanov and his family have been brutally murdered. Detective inspector Pakkala was Romanov's most trusted loyal ally. Upon the death of the Tsar , Pakkala is imprisoned and Banished to Siberia. Years later he is summoned back to Russia to solve the mystery of the Romanov's death.

Intense drama, with susp...more
Πάνος Τουρλής
Καλό αστυνομικό. Τύπου Μπελ, καθόλου προχειρογραμμένο. Παράληλλα με την ιστορία του σήμερα (1929) ανατπύσσεται η ιστορία του παρελθόντος του Πέκαλα, ποιος ήταν, ποιες οι αντιλήψεις του, γιατί τον επέλεξε ο τσάρος για στενό συνεργάτη του, ποια η σχέση του με τον αδερφό του, ποια τα καθήκοντά του και τι απέγινε όταν καταλύθηκε η παντοκρατορία του τσάρου. Στο σήμερα ο Πέκαλα επιστρέφει από τις φυλακές όπου τον έριξε το νέο κράτος για να τον παρακολουθεί συνέχεια και αναλαμβάνει να αναγνωρίσει τα πτ...more
MeriBeth
May 30, 2014 MeriBeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Readers; Russiophiles; Historical Mystery Fans
Eye of the Red Tsar caught my attention with its blurb. It's not often I find a fiction book offering a new take on the Assassination of the Romanovs. This one not only offered a new version of the the story, it delivered on it. While it had moments where it seemed to drag bit, primarily in the flashbacks which set up the backstory of the main character, Pekkala, the remainder of the story was an exciting mystery tale with a unique Russian flavor. Mr. Eastland evoked all the dichotomy of Soviet...more
Veeral
Lots of needless foreshadowing killed the thrill. I truly found some decisions of the protagonist extremely unbelievable. (view spoiler) I don't know if his decision somehow is a long thought out vengeance plan, to be carried out in rest of the series, but this book really left me unsatisfied.
Gregory
From http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2014/...

I read Sam Eastland's Eye of the Red Tsar, a historical mystery set in the USSR in 1929. I picked it up by chance at a used bookstore (Last Word near campus--they deserve a plug!) just for the topic, which is the whereabouts of the Tsar Nicholas II and his wealth.

The story revolves around Pekkala, a highly trained detective who was a close aide to the Tsar. After the Tsar was overthrown, Pekkala fled and eventually became a prisoner. Then in 1929, Sta...more
Kathleen
A goodreads firstreads giveaway

An exciting story that takes us on a road trip through stalinist Russia with absorbing flashbacks, gleaned from the memories of our hero, to the time of the tsar. I feel ample affection for Pekkala, the Finnish born investigator, and hope to enjoy more of his adventures and memoirs.

Georgiann Hennelly
Eye of the Red Tsar. is an exceptional story i really enjoyed it Sam Eastland makes you feel as if you are part of the story. It was an intense read. I usually don,t read these types of storys. But it had plenty of mystery and suspense. I look forward to many more books by Sam Eastland with his charactor Pekkala .
Arlen
I continue to look forward to more of this series. I'm also glad, however, I began it with book 3
(Archive 17). It feels as though Mr. Eastland hit his stride by then. There are anomalies about relationships and characters in this first book. Why would Pekkala, a man of impeccable and untouchable ethics, ever agree to work for the man who oversaw his merciless and inhuman torture when he was captured immediately after the revolution? How can his brother Anton ever be trusted after his complicity...more
Julie
Anything with the Romanovs, Russian history and a mystery is my cup of vodka. The story rocks but the novel is not without a few character (development) flaws. The twists and turns stretch the belief but don't snap it and the violence is icky but believable.
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