The Holy Thief (Paperback)
Minotaur Books, 9780312552695, 345pp.
Publication Date: November 22, 2011
Taut, atmospheric, and electrifying, this stunning first novel brings Stalinist-era Moscow to heart-beating life and shows us how good, how rich, and how satisfying a thriller can be.
Moscow, 1936, and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD the most feared organization in Russia becomes involved. Soon, Korolev's every step is under close scrutiny and one false move will mean exile to The Zone, where enemies of the Soviet State, both real and imagined, meet their fate in the frozen camps of the far north.
Committed to uncovering the truth behind the gruesome murder, Korolev enters the realm of the Thieves, rulers of Moscow's underworld. As more bodies are discovered and pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust and who, in a Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevail, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life.
With Captain Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us the truth.
About the Author
Praise For The Holy Thief…
Praise for The Holy Thief
“Without a doubt, The Holy Thief is one of the best historical mysteries I’ve read in the last ten years.”
“One of the year’s most exciting [debuts] . . . While the search for Russian icons will bring to mind Martin Cruz Smith’s brilliant Gorky Park, Ryan puts a fresh, original spin on the briskly paced The Holy Thief.”
—Oline H. Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel
“Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear. . . . Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)