Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: "Archive 17" by Sam Eastland

From Goodreads:  It is 1939. Russia teeters on the verge of war with Germany. It is also on the brink of bankruptcy. To preserve his regime, Stalin orders a search for the legendary missing gold of Tsar Nicholas II. For this task, he chooses Pekkala, the former investigator for the Tsar. To accomplish his mission, Pekkala will go undercover, returning to Siberia and the nightmare of his own past, where he was once a prisoner in the notorious Gulag known as Borodok.

Pekkala must infiltrate a gang of convicts still loyal to the Tsar who, it is rumored, know the whereabouts of the precious gold. He soon learns that the best-kept secrets are those that no one even knows exist.

In the brutal frozen fortress where his survival once made him a myth, he begins to unravel the true identity of a murdered inmate, whose own mission to Siberia has lain buried for years deep within the mysterious Archive 17, where long-lost files obscure a shocking conspiracy that could decide the future of the Soviet Union itself. As more people die around him, Pekkala must decide where his true loyalties lie, or else take his place among the dead.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Archive 17 was a good mix of historical fiction and suspense.  This is the third Pekkala book that Eastland has written and I thought it was pretty good.  The characters are unique and interesting and Eastland's portrayal of Stalin is good; just the right mix of intelligent and insane.  The reader learns more about Pekkala's time in the gulag which is only touched on in previous books.  I also liked how Eastland continued to show Pekkala's sense of morality in the face of his dealings with the Soviet state.  One negative about this book is that there is very little background on Pekkala; this book is definitely written with the intent that the reader has already read the previous two books and don't need that information.  The story was well-written and didn't give much away; I really wanted to keep reading because I had no idea what was going to happen next.  I also really appreciated that Eastland included an extensive 'Author's Note' at the end of the book explaining the facts regarding the events of the book.  Overall, a very enjoyable read but I would recommend the first two Pekkala books before reading this one.  I am definitely looking forward to a fourth Pekkala book as I wouldn't mind seeing him get a happy ending.  3 1/2 stars.

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