By Tom Rob Smith
(Grand Central Publishing, Hardcover, 9780446550765, 480pp.)
Publication Date: January 5, 2012
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WHO IS AGENT 6?
Tom Rob Smith's debut, Child 44, was an immediate publishing sensation and marked the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction. Named one of top 100 thrillers of all time by NPR, it hit bestseller lists around the world, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and the ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
In this spellbinding new novel, Tom Rob Smith probes the tenuous border between love and obsession as Leo Demidov struggles to untangle the threads of a devastating conspiracy that shatters everything he holds dear. Deftly capturing the claustrophobic intensity of the Cold War-era Soviet Union, it's at once a heart-pounding thriller and a richly atmospheric novel of extraordinary depth....
Leo Demidov is no longer a member of Moscow's secret police. But when his wife, Raisa, and daughters Zoya and Elena are invited on a "Peace Tour" to New York City, he is immediately suspicious.
Forbidden to travel with his family and trapped on the other side of the world, Leo watches helplessly as events in New York unfold and those closest to his heart are pulled into a web of political conspiracy and betrayal-one that will end in tragedy.
In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands only one thing: to investigate the killer who destroyed his family. His request is summarily denied. Crippled by grief and haunted by the need to find out exactly what happened on that night in New York, Leo takes matters into his own hands. It is a quest that will span decades, and take Leo around the world--from Moscow, to the mountains of Soviet-controlled Afghanistan, to the backstreets of New York--in pursuit of the one man who knows the truth: Agent 6.
Tom Rob Smith graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 and lives in London. His novels in the Child 44 trilogy were New York Times bestsellers and international publishing sensations. Among its many honors, Child 44 won the ITW 2009 Thriller Award for Best First Novel, The Strand Magazine 2008 Critics Award for Best First Novel, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
"In [the] first two volumes, Smith brilliantly illuminated the horrors of Stalin's Russia and the Gulag. He also gave readers Leo Demidov, duty-bound, introspective, enduring, and ultimately a figure both tragic and heroic...another first-class, must-read crime novel."
-Booklist (starred review)
"A gripping, relentless whodunit plot...Most readers will reach the final page with regret and in awe of Smith's uncompromising vision of the realities of a police state and the toll it takes on those caught in its meshes."
-Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"An old-fashioned thriller that would do Ludlum and le Carré proud...A big book, in every sense, that's sure to draw attention."
-Kirkus (starred review)
"When a trilogy is as unpredictable and riveting as Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 series, set as it is both in the harsh Russian landscape and the dense thicket of the human soul, expectations quickly evaporate in a page-turning frenzy....Smith, a young British screenwriter turned best-selling novelist, has created in Leo Demidov a Kafkaesque modern hero for our times, a good man trapped in a corrupt, manipulative system, forced to choose between loyalties to family, country and conscience. With a cinematographer's eye for settings and historical detail, Smith uses Leo's journey to examine larger issues, especially the political, social and religious systems that both unite and divide us."
"Fortified by formidable details of Soviet history, Smith's closing volume of the Leo Demidov trilogy (Child 44; The Secret Speech) knits together iconic characters and elements...Fans of Smith's first two books will avidly seek out the final chapter, though this one stands on its own as well. The Afghan interlude is a searing echo of today's headlines, while the buildup of suspense over several decades is the armchair equivalent of a jaw-jarringly extreme ride at an amusement park."
"Agent 6 has all the elements that made the first two books in the series hits: relentless action, a flawed but fascinating protagonist and a clear-eyed view of the absolute brutality of an authoritarian government."
-Dallas Morning News
"A new talent who looks set to be entertaining and moving us for many decades to come."