When historian Fluke Kelso learns of the existence of a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin he is determined to track it down, whatever the consequences. From the violent political intrigue and decadence of modern Moscow he heads north - to the vast forests surrounding the White Sea port of Archangel, and a terrifying encounter with Russia's unburied past.
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Great book. Performance grew on me!
I'd listen to Michael Kitchen read the phone book!
Michael Kitchen (of Foyle's War fame) reads this books so beautifully, sometimes it just made me smile. (Even though there was nothing to smile at in the story.) His narration made even the most despicable characters almost charming--and most of the characters in this book are not especially likeable.
Considering the book was first published in 1998, just as Putin came to power for the first time, I found some of Harris' predictions for the future of Russia quite prescient.
I wouldn't say there was a scene I "liked" best, because the book is about such a dystopian world, most of the scenes are quite horrific. But the writing was so good, you believe it could really have happened that way.
Most of the characters in the book are not very likeable and I don't think I'd like to have dinner with any of them! However, Michael Kitchen is welcome any time!
The only thing I found confusing at times, is the book moves back and forth in time a lot at the beginning and I did get lost a few times and have to go back and listen again. (Not, that that was a hardship--just another excuse to hear Michael Kitchen's melodious voice.) In the printed book there were breaks on the page when this happened, but the pauses weren't long enough in the recording to know, at first, that this was happening.