C.W.'s Reviews > The White Russian

The White Russian by Tom Bradby
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Jan 10, 11

Read in November, 2010

It's a shame Mr Bradby (THE MASTER OF RAIN) isn't published in the US anymore, because unlike so many current thriller writers, he has a unique approach and a sensitive eye for the nuances of history. In THE WHITE RUSSIAN, he sets his tale in the tumultuous days leading up to the revolution and the overthrow of the Tsar. It's mid-winter and in frigid snow-bound St Petersburg a man and a woman are found savagely murder+ed before the royal palace. Enter Investigator of the St. Petersburg Police Department, Sandro Ruzsky, a black sheep of noble descent who has just returned from a three-year exile in Siberia and is immediately involved in the double murder. Amidst growing unrest in the starving city, as an unpopular foreign war embroils the Tsarina in scandal involving the late Rasputin, Ruzsky must struggle against his own sense of impending doom falling upon Russia as he seeks the culprits of the gruesome crime. The political corruption he encounters within his own department and in the impenetrable bureaucracy set up to protect and isolate the royal family from the chaos brewing outside their very walls mirrors his own fateful love for a dancer who may be involved in a far-reaching and lethal conspiracy.

Mr Bradby excels in his evocation of place and time; this is a Russia that has long vanished, frozen and glittering and fragile as the Faberge eggs so treasured by the Romanovs, a world where ordinary folk perish of cold and hunger while the Tsar blindly sent thousands of his men to a futile front and in turn paved the way to his own downfall. Far more than a historical thriller, THE WHITE RUSSIAN offers us a glimpse into a forgotten realm, where idealism and violence brought down a dynasty.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Ally (new) - added it

Ally One question: What is Michael doing the first time Ruzsky sees him when the latter returns home? (I needed to know the answer to this question; it's obvious I didn't read the book.)

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