The White Russian

The White Russian

Large Print - 2003
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St. Petersburg, 1917 -- the glittering capital of the Tsarist empire and a city on the brink of revolution- where the jackals of the secret police maneuver for their own survival and their aristocratic masters indulge in one final moment of hedonism. For Sandro Ruzsky, chief investigator of the St. Petersburg police department, this decaying world provides the opportunity for a new beginning. Recently returned from a three-year banishment to Siberia (for pursuing a case his superiors would have like buried), Ruzsky is welcomed back to the city of his birth by a gruesome discovery: the bodies of a young couple found on the ice of the frozen river Neva just outside the Tsar's Winter Palace. The dead woman was a nanny at the palace, the man, an American from Chicago. The brutality of their deaths seems an allegory for the times, and the investigation leads Ruzsky, at every turn, dangerously close to the royal family. He is also drawn back to Maria-a beautiful ballerina he once loved and lost. While Maria is on the verge of being swept away by the revolution, Ruzsky suspects she may also be the murderer's next target. Pitted against a ruthless killer who relishes taunting him, Ruzsky finds himself face-to-face with his own past and the unstoppable tide of revolution as he fights to save everything he cares for. Summoning the same rich atmosphere and meticulous research that earned high praise for The Master of Rain, Tom Bradby brilliantly transports readers to St. Petersburg at the crossroads of history. Tom Bradby is the royal correspondent for the British television network ITN. He has spent the last eight years covering British and American politics as well as conflicts in China, Ireland, Kosovo, and Indonesia. He now lives in London with his wife and three children. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Anstey, [England] : F. A. Thorpe, 2003.
Edition: 1st Charnwood ed., large print ed. --
ISBN: 9780708994870
Characteristics: 478 p. --


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May 08, 2012

Early spring, 1917 are dark days indeed for Russia. The war is going very badly with Russian horse mounted cavalry being pitted against German armoured divisions and machine guns. The people are cold, hungry and bitter. The Tsar is away at the front, and the Tsarina is the most hated woman in Russia. Many people are convinced that she is spying for her birth country of Germany, and it is openly speculated that she and the recently murdered monk Rasputin were lovers.

Sandro Ruzsky, a chief inspector of the St Petersburg police has recently returned from four year exile to Siberia. Called out to a double murder, Ruzsky comes to realize this complex case is rife with politics, terrorism and revolution. Soon he is up against his old nemesis from the Okhrana, the Czarist Secret Police, as the case leads to the Imperial Palace, and the very dressing room of the Tsarina. Also involved on the fringes of the case is Maria Poplova, a beautiful ballerina who is very much part of Ruzsky’s past, and he hoped his future.

With it’s many twists and turns, this book is as much about the last days of a decaying society as it is about tracking a ruthless killer. As events unfold, many characters become much more involved in their own secret intrigues and plans for escape as Tzarist Russia crumbles around them.

Tom Bradby has set The White Russian at a specific time and place in history and has built his story around St. Petersburg on the brink of revolution. An atmospheric and gripping story, he portrays the confusion, menace and helplessness of those days brilliantly.

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