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Siberian Red, Sam Eastland (Faber and Faber, £12.99)
A PRISONER in a Siberian gulag wants to give information regarding the whereabouts of Colonel Kolchak, the man entrusted with hiding the Tsar’s gold from the Bolsheviks in exchange for his freedom.
Before the knowledge could be imparted, the informant is knifed to death and Stalin is furious.
The gold is needed by Stalin for ammunition and further preparations for the imminent war with Germany so he sends his chief investigator, Pekkala, otherwise known as the ‘Emerald Eye’ to solve the crime.
But Siberia has many unpleasant memories for Pekkala and he must overcome these and draw on all his resources if he is to please Stalin or face the consequences.
This novel, based on some truth, gives a good flavour of what it must have been like to live in these turbulent times in Russia.
Through Pekkala’s memories of working for the Tsar we are able to contrast the two regimes and have a fascinating insight into the history of that great country.
It is a fast moving novel which draws us in so find it difficult to put down as Pekkala’s life is threatened and we need to know which characters survive and who do not.
The author is a gifted story teller and I look forward to reading more by him.