The action centred on Leo Demidov, a loyal secret policeman who, while on the hunt for a serial killer whom the state refuses to admit exists, begins to doubt the regime he's faithfully served all his adult life. True, the novel felt more like two books. The first half, set in an Orwellian atmosphere of double-think, was much superior. Yet by the time we were deep into the second half, which concerns a manhunt across central Russia, we cared too intensely about the characters to really mind.
And even the cosy ending could be excused. Barely a year has passed since Child 44 was published and now a sequel, The Secret Speech, appears. Pity the bestselling first-time author under pressure to work the same magic again. As before, the premise is intriguing. Three years have passed. We're reunited with Demidov, who is now heading his own homicide department. Smith again bases his plot on real events, this time the lead-up to the uprising in Hungary. Both at home and in the public sphere, desperate men are attempting to atone for past sins.
Demidov tries to be a good step-father to his adopted daughters and an honourable policeman who has left his torturing days behind. Meanwhile, Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, makes the secret speech of the book's title, a bid to distance the new regime from the violence of the previous era. In the fall-out from Khrushchev's speech supposedly secret but swiftly leaked throughout the country , many of Stalin's former henchmen suddenly felt dangerously exposed.
It's said that some senior officials had heart attacks when they first heard Khrushchev's words; others committed suicide. Smith inserts Demidov, our flawed fictional policemen, into this intriguing historical moment. As a formerly loyal servant of the regime, he is as guilty as everyone else.
One that will stay with you and make you question what you would do in the situation that the characters are in. There are no easy answers and you're swept along as these three dimensional people search for any answer. I This was brilliant. I highly recommend this book. No sophomore slump for Tom Rob Smith. The Secret Speech is better than Child Leo and Raisa are living with their two adopted girls, Zoya and Elena. But Zoya hates Leo for killing her parents and is seeking revenge. Meanwhile, Leo and Raisa are desperately trying to hold their family together.
Initially, the plot seemed a bit far-fetched and unconvincing to me, but Smith wraps it all up quiet nicely in the end. So, even though I liked the first two books, I am not sure whether I would read Agent 6 or not. It's always incredibly insightful to find out about how a period in our history lived, to see that politics always seemed to be a dirty game of manipulation and power and how that still isn't changing.
History does repeat itself. The character exploration and the writing was such a joy to read and extremely well done. It's just the ending that just didn't sit well with me. It felt rushed and not as detailed as the other parts. It just reminded me of w [ 3. It just reminded me of when we had to write out an essay for university - or any time during our educational years - and at the beginning, you're enthusiastic and you start off being prepared.
Just when it's due and you've not made use of your time because of books and Netflix, you just write up a quick conclusion and rush the last paragraph. I can't pinpoint exactly what about the story towards the end it was, but despite it, I enjoyed reading it a lot for the most part. I'm excited to see how it'll conclude.
Narrated by Colin Mace. With his passing, a violent regime is beginning to fracture - leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. The catalyst comes when a secret manifesto composed by Stalin's successor, Khrushchev, is distributed to the entire nation.
Stalin was a tyrant and a murderer. The Soviet Union will transform. But there are forces at work that ar Narrated by Colin Mace. But there are forces at work that are unable to forgive or forget Stalin's tyranny so easily and demand revenge of the most appalling nature. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his involvement in the murder of their parents.
Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa and their family are in grave danger from someone with a grudge against Leo. RasPutin took against book one, so there is no better reason to keep on with this trilogy and even though this is not a great book it does cover some important history: The speech was the nucleus of a far-reaching de-Stalinization campaign intended to destroy the image of the late dictator as an infallible leader and to revert official policy to an idealized Leninist model. Ainda melhor que o primeiro! Banais e ao mesmo tempo especiais, porque se recusam a obedec Ainda melhor que o primeiro!
O enredo foi ainda melhor que no primeiro. Muito mais complexo e rixo. Sep 15, Anne rated it it was amazing Recommended to Anne by: Keep your pants on people, Leo Stepanovich Demidov is back again! And I love him a little more than I did in the previous book. So where to begin?
Like I said, Leo's back, with his wife Raisa and his newly adopted daughters--well not newly, it's been 3 years now-- Zoya and Elena in Russian, that would be pronounced with a "Y"- Yelena. And now it's no longer a matter of political oppression or living a life in constant fear of the 4: And I'm screaming "Poor Leo! And so, his slate must be wiped clean? This book says NOT. I acknowledged while reading this book that no matter how times change, in every age we can always find the uglies , and ultimately the concept of life in general is no less threatening.
Tom Rob Smith made me an empathetic mess of a reader. His characters frustrated and agitated me, but in the end, I could pick no sides and justify none of their actions- but don't get me wrong, I did know who the villains were, but I understood the significance of their nefariousness. Never underestimate the retributive justice of Karma. Leo is the poster boy for the saying: You reap what you sow. Now, from page to page, from the first book till now, I love Leo. But I felt like the suffering he endured in this book was crucial to his journey, his search for redemption. I was enthralled by how focused a character he was, so determined in his cause; Even when his efforts were ridiculed and his strength put to test, he never lost face.
He's not just a representative of the good, he is a symbol of hope and second chances. With a story like this, it's easy to believe some people are hurt as much as they've hurt. I swear, I need a pill for every time this woman made me feel murderous. The innocent must live underground, in the shit of the city, while the villains live in warm apartments. The world is upside down. I'm merely turning it the right way up". See her idea is, you become beasts in order to fight the beasts, hurting more than they have hurt, condemning more than they have condemned.
No problem if innocent people have to die so some misguided lot can make a point. Fraera's actions are ruled by hate, vengeance and selfishness. She couldn't care less about the good of the people and the country that failed her years ago.
And In a way, I understood her grief. I gave every character consideration, a benefit of a doubt even, to some. But the contrast between Leo and Fraera couldn't be more appalling. How does one get eaten alive by one's own hate and get spat out, morphed into such a monstrous character? And how does the other reconcile his past with his future, by admitting to the evils he committed and rising above them?
It's the easiest thing to say; "You could've just let it go Fraera". This book wasn't as bedazzling as the first one, but it embodied all the things that made me love the first book in the first place: I swear the concept of politics has never looked so seductive to me. I want him to smash this city to rubble and fill it with dead citizens! I want the world to see the true nature of our country. No more secrets" "The truth is Maxim As they burned together, many in the crowd were already hastening away" "As the roof exploded, fragments of slate burning into her arms and face, she had no doubt her last photograph would be her greatest of all" I really don't know how else to love this book.
I love how it ravaged my mind and left it raw. I love how this story was given a setting which had history as a backdrop of it's creativeness. Dec 20, Carol Storm rated it liked it. One minute he's beating up his own agents and the next he's sprinting through knee high snow drifts hopped up on biker crank, then swimming under a frozen river like Houdini! And then the excitement really begins as he's arrested, tortured, and told his wife doesn't love him anymore. The original book is an incredible classic. Oh and there's a child-murdering serial killer thrown in just for comic relief!
But this sequel is totally stupid and boring. Leo has become a total wimp, he's a henpecked "Family Guy" who spends all his time worrying why a bratty adopted 13 year old doesn't love him enough.
Then she gets kidnapped by -- get this -- the crazed wife of the first man Leo ever arrested. And don't ask me how a whiny little priest's wife suddenly morphs into Ma Barker, a deadly butch lesbian mobster with the uncanny ability to run through sewers and recruit pickpockets for her nefarious schemes. The first book was believable. This one is absurd. AS IF the Soviet State is going to be blackmailed and terrified by some nasty old bag that's a soomka in Russian with a gang of sewer dwelling scumbags as muscle.
AS IF anyone could care what happens to bratty little Zoya. As Winston Smith once said, "You know, a real dystopia should never waste time on family melodrama.
Besides, any man who hates dogs and children can't be all bad. View all 12 comments. Fast-paced and exciting with so many twists and turns I was on the edge of my seat. This novel explores the horrific tension of those living in post WW11 Russia. Not quite at the level of the first book which I gave 5 stars, but still very good. I look forward to the third book in the trilogy. May 27, Shelby rated it it was ok Shelves: Lost a lot of interest halfway through the book.
I kept reading in case it picked up but it never did. I really wanted to read Child 44 , but now I'm not so sure. This is the second book in the Leo Demidov mystery series. Demidov is an ex-KGB officer, who, after the last book was allowed to form a Criminal Investigation division, as he tries to amend for his work as a KGB officer. The story starts with an incident from Demidov's past, an incident where he infiltrates a local priest and causes his arrest and that of the priest's wife. As we move to the present, these events come back to haunt him, everything instigated by a secret letter from Kruschev, tha This is the second book in the Leo Demidov mystery series.
As we move to the present, these events come back to haunt him, everything instigated by a secret letter from Kruschev, that turns the country on its head. Demidov must raise to save his adopted daughter and his family from the vengeance of these people from his past.
His journey takes him to the Gulags in the frozen North and to Hungary during their revolution against Soviet rule. My mood changed over time as I read this story. I like Demidov, even with his past. I had difficulty with some of the other characters, especially his adopted daughter. Even considering her hatred for Demidov, who was involved in the deaths of her parents, she was hard to like. I could be sympathetic, but that was the extent of my feelings. Having said that, as the story progressed, I found myself being drawn more and more into it. It was tense, with lots of action and I couldn't put it down as the story drew to its conclusion.
There are broken people, living in a society I can't fathom, but there are people who are trying to make the most of their lives. It was a nice surprise and I enjoyed very much. Dec 18, Richard Derus rated it liked it. Sounds like my family! This outing centers on events set in motion by the factual secret speech of the title: Khrushchev's "private" deunciation of Stalin's terror.
While never reported Rating: Oh, and "incidentally", it was now open season on the powerful apparatchiks who maintained the terror. Leo's life has just become that much more difficult, and that, my friends, is sayin' something. I like that this book makes Leo's travails into high-risk travels to, for example, Budapest during the anti-Soviet rebellion of I liked the historical tenor of the story in general, this being a time and a place that's outside my Cold War-formed mindset.
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. I almost put it down after reading a little. And then the excitement really begins as he's arrested, tortured, and told his wife doesn't love him anymore. As we move to the present, these events come back to haunt him, everything instigated by a secret letter from Kruschev, tha This is the second book in the Leo Demidov mystery series. Lost a lot of interest halfway through the book. When Khrushchev's speech, On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences in which Khrushchev denounces the tactics used by Josef Stalin , is distributed for the population to read, Nikolai is consumed by his guilt and kills both himself and his family. I still like Leo Dimidov a lot as a character - he has his good and his dark sides and that's what's making him so intriguing.
What I find a little wearing is the relentlessness of the smackdowns Leo and Raisa endure. It starts to feel like they're being used by God as target practice. It's the story of Job with funny fur hats. I want the next one to be lighter, please, Mr. But prepare for a serious thrill ride, y'all, and don't hesitate to get going in this series. View all 4 comments. Dvoumio sam se koju ocenu da dam za ovu knjigu. Child 44 has been one of the best books I read this year and I was really looking forward to meet Leo Dimidov once again. And I did enjoy this book, it just wasn't as good as the first one.
The plot was a little less credible - maybe the author wanted a little too much here. The setting of Kolyma was very interesting and I felt that the second part of the books was a little rushed. I still like Leo Dimidov a lot as a charact 3 stars - good, but not as good as the first installment in this series!
I still like Leo Dimidov a lot as a character - he has his good and his dark sides and that's what's making him so intriguing. I am really looking forward to the last installment in this series and I luckily already have it on my TBR. Dec 31, Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it liked it Shelves: Not as gripping as Child Well written but poorly organized, such that it's difficult to figure out what the real plot was intended to be.
It does carry forward the main characters from Child 44 , so if you want to stay "in the loop," so to speak, you need to read this one to be ready for the next one. It's not really a series, at least not yet, but the two books definitely follow a linear trajectory, so it may turn into a series of sorts. Jun 19, lucie marked it as dnf Shelves: I wanted to read the next two books in the series too, so I can check the series as 'read' buuuuuut..
I didn't care about Leo's story anymore. I would read it just for the reason series completed and I will rather invest the time into book I am really interested in. Plausibility stretched to the nth degree, yet Smith keeps a tight rein on the tension. This does not have the grip and grit of Child 44, but it moves at a fast clip while still providing fascinating historical context.
Unless you're in Russia Do you or should you say you enjoy ed it, as some do on cover?
Or should you describe it as exciting , as they do on the cover? Entertainment is of course what you, at least in part, read books for, but also to educate yourself, surely. Hopefully, the more people who think that way and read books like this, the perhaps less chance there is of this sort of regime happening again. It is happening at the moment. But a similar type of ideology, exists in many Middle Eastern states.
It moves along at a good pace, but never misses a chance to give you room to start thinking. The main themes are about plain, good old-fashioned survival. From day to day, from hour to hour. About how suspicion is set off from doubt, how doubt breeds suspicion. About how to even stop yourself from seeing things. About the survival of the fittest. If someone you knew, was arrested because someone else denounced them, that was more or less it, for them. Purely being arrested was proof enough of their guilt.
Suspicion of guilt, was guilt. Then, their colleagues and friends and family were investigated. Unless you were a favourite of someone higher up, that was pretty much it for you as well. You had to try and not stand out, not do selfless things for the good of the state, just incase the wind blew and the good of the state under Stalin, suddenly made you an enemy of the state under Khrushchev the morning after. Perhaps best describes as interesting in the extreme, heading towards fascination. I have more respect for the Russians, the people lower down the food chain, who survived this period now, after having read these books, than I did before.