Yet another book set in Russia, what has got into me?
As you might expect from Harris, this is a solidly researched and gripping thriller. There is plenty of local colour - almost enough to make this useful as a travel book! The places that the action covers are beautifully described with bags of detail and background. The situation in Russia at the time this was written is well described. Even to the point of predicting the rise of a native hard man to power well before Putin came along.
The story line is good with plenty of twists and turns along the way. And the action is very much driven by the characters of the main players - which is not always the case with political thrillers. I particularly liked Mamantov, the old-style Communist hard man. A real thug, but astonishingly well drawn and his actions through the book, while apparently background, are driven by his character and as the plot unfolds turn out to be absolutely central to the final outcome. It must be said that the final few pages of the book came as a surprise to me, and I had been paying attention.
A great thriller.