Moscow, 1936, and Stalin’s Great Terror is beginning. In a
deconsecrated church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed
on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy
the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the
Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim
is an American citizen, the NKVD—the most feared organization in Russia—becomes
involved. Soon, Korolev’s every step is under close scrutiny and one false move
will mean exile to The Zone, where enemies of the Soviet State, both real and
imagined, meet their fate in the frozen camps of the far north.
Committed to uncovering the truth behind the gruesome
murder, Korolev enters the realm of the Thieves, rulers of Moscow’s underworld.
As more bodies are discovered and pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to
question who he can trust and who, in a Russia where fear, uncertainty, and
hunger prevail, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his
moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life.
William Ryan’s remarkable debut will storm into ten
countries in what is sure to be an international publishing event. With Captain
Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives
in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a
fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us—the
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