BOOK REVIEWS

The Kremlin Conspiracy – Joel Rosenberg

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Joel C. Rosenberg, The Kremlin Conspiracy. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2018, 466 pp. $18.29

Political thrillers are a “dime a dozen” these days. Some of these books are not worth the paper they’re printed on – others pack a punch. Joel Rosenberg’s latest offering is the latter sort.

The Kremlin Conspiracy is a well-researched political powder keg of a book. Joel Rosenberg writes with a deep understanding of Russian culture and has a good working knowledge of the intelligentsia – both American and Russian.

This book traces the career of former U.S. Marine and U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker into the heart of the former Soviet Union for a tale that explores geo-politics, corruption, spy-craft, and the inner workings of the Russian government.

Though a work of fiction, the author blends current events into an exciting tale that readers will not soon forget. The story moves fast, the characters are both interesting and believable and is written with great skill. Readers who enjoy Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn will receive a jolt, albeit without any vulgarity or profanity. Block out several hours for this one. Joel Rosenberg hits another one out of the park!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS

The Kremlin Conspiracy – Joel Rosenberg

kJoel C. Rosenberg, The Kremlin Conspiracy. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2018, 466 pp. $18.29

Political thrillers are a “dime a dozen” these days. Some of these books are not worth the paper they’re printed on – others pack a punch. Joel Rosenberg’s latest offering is the latter sort.

The Kremlin Conspiracy is a well-researched political powder keg of a book. Joel Rosenberg writes with a deep understanding of Russian culture and has a good working knowledge of the intelligentsia – both American and Russian.

This book traces the career of former U.S. Marine and U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker into the heart of the former Soviet Union for a tale that explores geo-politics, corruption, spy-craft, and the inner workings of the Russian government.

Though a work of fiction, the author blends current events into an exciting tale that readers will not soon forget. The story moves fast, the characters are both interesting and believable and is written with great skill. Readers who enjoy Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn will receive a jolt, albeit without any vulgarity or profanity. Block out several hours for this one. Joel Rosenberg hits another one out of the park!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Biography · BOOK REVIEWS · History · Politics

THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE: The Unlikely Rise of Vladamir Putin (2012)

Masha Gessen has a story to tell.  This Russian journalist draws the lines clearly and writes in terms that are understandable and inspiring.  Gessen tells the story of the ascension of President Putin in The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladamir Putin.

Gessen writes, “And with this, the transformation of Russia back into the USSR was, for all Putin’s intents and purposes, complete.”  This sentence, in my mind proves to be the most important sentence in the book.  It is also the last.  The previous 269 pages set up the trajectories that make this sentence possible.  Those pages tell the story of a former KGB spy turned president and deemed the most powerful man in Russia and one of the most influential men in the world.

My aim is not to disrespect the author in any way who has written a fascinating account of the rise of Putin.  However, the best and most interesting part of the book takes place in the epilogue.  Here, the author reveals her real hopes and fears as she explains the protests that took place in nearly one hundred cities in Russia in December, 2011.  The major strokes reveal a deep love of freedom, transparency in the press, and a respect for the heritage of her motherland.

Gessen’s work will no doubt raise questions and answer questions at the same time.  It may confirm suspicions.  It will inspire hope for a new day in the great mass of land we know as Russia.

4 stars

 

BOOK REVIEWS · Fiction

EYE OF THE RED TSAR – Sam Eastland (2010)

The Eye of the Red Tsar combines suspense, good detective work and is laced with action throughout.  Set in the former Soviet Union, the book follows Pekkala, an inspector who is faced with the daunting task of locating the Romanov’s killers and located the remaining living Romanov, Alexis.

This fictional thriller follows some of the historical details of the 1917 revolution and is a fascinating look at life in the former Soviet Union.

4 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · History

A HISTORY OF MODERN RUSSIA – Robert Service (1997)

A History of Modern Russia by Robert Service is a fascinating account of the events that begin with Nicholas II and lead all the way to Vladimir Putin.

Sometimes a few sentences  is worth the price of the book.  The author contemplates the death of Stalin and describes the process of embalming and the funeral that took place.  Service adds, “A silence was meant to descend over Moscow.  But such was the crowd in the nearby streets that a commotion broke out.  The pressure of bodies led to dozens of fatalities.  From under the glass the chemically-treated corpse could still terminate innocent lives.”

A few lessons stand out:

1. Unchecked power corrupts people and nations

2. The power of an ideology or worldview does not terminate with the death of a  given leader

3. Never underestimate the power of an atheistic worldview

4. Never take freedom for granted

A History of Modern Russia is a terrific overview.  It honestly assesses the strengths and weaknesses of this fascinating country. 

3.5 stars