Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > The Secret Speech

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
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's review
Jul 22, 2010

bookshelves: fiction, john, staff-picks-blog

In Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith introduced us to an unimaginably cruel world, that of a Soviet secret policemen, who comes to seek redemption after arresting hundreds of people he knows to be innocent, condemning them to torture, exile, execution. In this sequel Leo Demidov has assembled an ad hoc family, raising two girls who’s parents he’d had executed. His past catches up with him tho, and, rather implausibly, he finds himself a prisoner in the gulag, trying to free one of his previous victims.

Child 44 was largely an eye-opening exploration of totalitarianism, a system inducing such paranoia that wives denounced husbands; children, their parents. While there’s still some of that in The Secret Speech, this is much more a straightforward thriller. It’s violent, packs several surprises, and the action seldom lets up. You’ll need a chart to keep track of who’s betraying whom, and on how many levels. --John

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

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