This book is difficult It posits alternative history in one sense But it s main tenet revolves somewhat around a continuity for the cult of Stalin That question of depth for our leader is the core, IMHO It s the most considered in scope and for the nuance to this book s plotting.Stalin killed far people than Hitler, there was never a trial about or concerning any of his practices or an afterwards No Nuremberg Stalin is clearly seen in statues and memorials And yet his answer to brutality was severe brutality Quick death a blessing Even down to his own relations or associates double that strike percentage Brutality even to his daughter Fluke, the main character in this book and his investigations a search the central story, he for me became immensely annoying Only mildly so in the first half, and then overwhelmingly off putting beyond the first half He wasn t a stolid good fellow well met in any sense And the plot itself for HIS search is convoluted over such a length of time and occurrences Well, the last 50 pages were too far fetched to believe But otherwise it sure was a multi level think piece for all the other portions Under characters speculations and interactions by the dozens contain most of the best ones No is that think piece issue centered than for the essence of how why their great leader historic figure is remembered The most evil and brutal individual in recorded history most people killed between 45 and 70 million who ruled through terror and intense physical fear realities Is that how it has become parsed for the remaining half of the Russians left alive to form this 1991 governmental entity depicted here Brutal stories Action and existences within places of grey despair 3.5 star rounded up for the sections in italics This was not a fun book to read at all. Well, what a great adventure that was Robert Harris books never seem to let me down The atmosphere and landscapes jump off the page, from the concrete soviet era housing blocks, to the vast wilderness of the forests and tundra s.The attention to detail with each of the main characters is brilliant, I feel like the characters became people I once knew.My only small issue is I felt the end was left a bit too open However, still well deserving of 5 stars. [Download Pdf] ⚖ Archangel ♺ Fluke Kelso Was Once A Scholar Of Promise, But Like So Many In The Highly Competitive World Of Academia, He S Never Delivered But One Night, At A Symposium In Moscow Concerning The Release Of Secret Soviet Archives, He Is Approached By Papu Rapava, A Former Kremlin Bodyguard With A Story To Tell No One But The Desperate Kelso Would Believe The Tale, For What Rapava Describes Is A Sort Of Holy Grail Among Researchers An Actual Diary Left By Joseph Stalin Himself Such An Artifact, If It S Genuine And If Kelso Can Survive The Fascist Vladimir Mamantov, Who Wants It For His Own Agenda Would Be The Coup Of A Lifetime For The Discredited ResearcherBefore Kelso Can Learn The Location Of The Diary, Rapava Disappears, And Kelso S Search For The Former Bodyguard Leads Him To The Man S Daughter, A Whore Selling Herself In The New Moscow Of Drugs, Corruption, And The Russian Mafia With An Unscrupulous American Journalist Hot On Their Heels, A Major Of The New KGB Close Behind, And The Shadowy Mamantov Following Them All, The Two Follow A Trail That Leads From Moscow S Seedy Underbelly To The Industrial City Of Archangel, Where Russia Once Built Her Fleets Of Submarines, To A Remote Camp On The Edge Of The Siberian Nothingness, And Finally To A Shocking Conclusion That Bites Like The Wind Blowing Off The Tundra What Kelso Sees As The Coup Of His Career Might Turn Out To Be The Catalyst For An Actual Coup In Russia There Is A Legacy Behind The Diary, A Legacy Of Evil And Death, And Fluke Kelso Is Unwittingly About To Unleash It On The World Archangel gives us the usual great writing and is a thrilling, tense, atmospheric and compelling novel as you would expect from the accomplished pen of Robert Harris However, there is something about the central conceit here upon which the core of this novel hangs, which just doesn t convince in the same way that other twists on historical events used far successfully by Harris in the past have Archangel is certainly a good book and definitely has its moments but the issue with the central conceit does mean that overall, the novel doesn t have that real sense of authenticity that Harris strongest works do By authenticity I am not referring of course to historical accuracy see Fatherland for instance but that feeling of not just suspended disbelief, but ultimately of believability.So a strong novel perhaps in comparison with many by Harris contemporary s but not when compared to his own very high standards. I ve watched the Daniel Craig TV Series Archangel twice and would recommend it but i can now confirm the book is a helluva lot better Fatherland was class and Munich was a massive disappointment so i was slightly cynical about my third offering from Robert Harris And as is the case with thrillers it always comes down to the ending and thankfully it was just as good as Fatherland I was also fairly ignorant about Stalin going into this book so it was nice to take away a few snippets of factual information. , 1998 7 . This is a truly excellent book, one of the only novels I have enjoyed and with each re read The characters are fantastic I had such a crush on Fluke Kelso the first time I read it, and post Millennium trilogy I couldn t help but think Zinaida Rapava bears than a passing resemblance to Lisbeth Salander The historical detail and the part Russia s history plays in everything that happens it s almost as though history is a character in the story is flawless But the depiction of the bleak settings is my favourite part from the urban wastelands of 90s Moscow to the desolate, snowbound landscapes of Archangel, they are so brilliantly realised that you feel as if you ve been there Just perfect. Robert Harris is the author of the very successful and previously reviewed Fatherland, the kind of novel I usually do not read because it relies on the what if kind of assumptions that I find trite and silly But that novel worked quite well It assumed that Hitler had won the war, that he had successfully hidden the details of the Holocaust, and that he was about to begin friendly relations with the United States under president Kennedy The a Berlin detective stumbles across evidence of the killing of the Jews and the peace talks threaten to unravel bringing the war of officialdom down on the detective It was a surprisingly good read Harris adopts a similar conceit in Archangel Fluke interesting story behind the name Kelso is a Sovietologist who stumbles into a drunken meeting with Papu Rapava, a former NKVD guard who claims he had been present at Stalin s death and had helped Beria a Politburo member and KGB chief find and hide a a secret black notebook that was purported to contain Stalin s diary Rapava is murdered before Kelso can obtain all the details and the location of the diary that would represent, for Kelso, the find of a lifetime He tracks down Rapava s daughter, a hooker whom he persuades to help him find the diary Unfortunately there are several pages missing, but they have enough information to try to locate a young girl that Stalin had brought from her village to play with He and an American reporter who had stumbled on Kelso s knowledge of the diary and who seems to know about his satellite telephone equipment than the country he reports on, set off for Archangel in the Soviet north during the winter to find the girl and interview her in order to verify the information in the diary and collect details about Stalin There are many who would stop them, however, and a top notch thriller results as Kelso makes a momentous discovery in Archangel Harris s understanding of modern Russia, if accurate, is chilling The book is filled with little details Stalin had two webbed toes on his left foot that give it a strong sense of reality Harris must have spent considerable time there At five past 10, the door opened, Kelso describes a nightclub, A yellow light, the silhouettes of the girls, the steamy glow of their perfumed breath And from the cars now came the serious money You could tell the seriousness not just by the weight of the coats and the jewelry but by the way their owners carried themselves, straight to the head of the line, and by the amount of protection they left hanging around at the door Clearly, the only guns allowed on the premises belonged to the management Filled with corruption and violence, the country still reveres Stalin, even though through Kelso, Harris reveals Stalin to be a greater evil than Hitler during the twentieth century, if one counts the number of people each had killed The Cold War is over, but Russia seems to be slipping into its own kind of darkness and the country that provided the background for so many first rate spy stories continues to invoke a sense of noir and darkness that makes for a gripping read.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Throwback Thursday This is when I review books which I read a while ago, but somehow never got around to reviewing Today I choose Archangel, which is a truly excellent historical thriller by Robert Harris I first became aware of Harris when I stumbled upon his debut novel, Fatherland a work of alternative history, set in a universe where Nazi Germany won World War 2 This isn t a new theme in historical fiction, but Harris s take was surprisingly engaging and I had real trouble putting it down I thought that Harris did a terrific job at presenting an engaging and rich historical setting and creating palpable intrigue, which held all the way to the very end Most importantly while reading it I felt as if I was there, in the Reich of Nazi dreams, among his heroes and villains Even though I did have some complaints towards some plot choices, the book is a great accomplishment for a debut novelist, and no wonder Fatherland proved to be a great success it was high entertainment of great quality Archangel is set in Russia of the 1990 s, during the Yeltsin era a perilous time of social and political restructuring, market by a deep economic crisis and uncertainty, which culminated in events like the 1993 constitutional crisis This is the time when Christopher Fluke Kelso, a burned out Oxford historian arrives in Moscow to attend a conference regarding the newly opened Soviet archive Kelso expects nothing but standard business, but when he is approached by an elderly man who claims to be a former NKVD officer with a story to tell, he gives in to his curiosity, seeing an opportunity to improve his academic reputation He doesn t suspect that he is about to become involved in something beyond his wildest imagination a complex web of incredible intrigue, which will drag him from from Moscow to the northern city of Arkhangelsk, on the white sea, forcing him to try to understand the history of Russia and confront its past.This is a novel which is extremely easy to spoil the main reveal is a surprise and should remain so Unfortunately many reviewers chose to include it in their reviews which is a real shame, as the main pleasure of reading Archangel lies in discovering its plot by yourself, bit by bit The storyline created by Harris is compelling and engaging, again all the way to the very last line and so is the setting, which he describes with historical detail and attention, painting a vivid image We feel as if we were on Kelso s shoulder as he s trying to understand the complex mystery that he wants to solve, and follow his every step and in Fluke Kelso Harris has created a relatable character, an everyman for whom we can root for his female counterpart and companion on the wild goose chase, Zinaida Rapava, is a great character worth a book of her own I have read other novels by Harris, but they didn t match neither Fatherland or Archangel Enigma had the intriguing setting of Bletchley Park and the Enigma, but didn t grab me as much The Ghost was concerned with the dark side of contemporary British politics, but I think I liked the film better I wasn t the biggest fan of Pompeii, because the period didn t interest me as much I want to read his An Officer and a Spy, but secretly hope that one day he will again write a compelling thriller set in the 20th century, set during the Cold War or just War Meanwhile, put on the Samovar and make yourself a big cup of tea this is an ideal book to get lost in during the long winter evenings, and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did. The foundations of Empire are often ocassions of woe their dismemberment, always. Fresh off the disappointment of Enigma I return to Harris magic as instilled by FatherlandWhy The liberties of alternative history as opposed to the constraints of factual history The frame is different We went forwards onto a timeline of Axis victory, here we go backwards, unearthing Soviet secrets from the vantage point of 1990s Russia It s less of a novel of its time than a parabel with a long shadow Aside from the rythm of life Politburo veterans are too advanced in age to plot a return to the glorious aspects of the Soviet Union is a filtered mirage spun adroitly by Putin anno 2018Stalin inherited a nation with wooden ploughs and bequated us an empire armed with atomic weaponsAnd western historians still don t have it easy digging up the past in paper, for Russian archives are conscious of the Orwellian power they yield quod volimus credimus libenter