John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Books 2006: The Romanov Prophecy

The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry
ISBN: 0345460057
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date: Aug 2004
Pages: 373
Buy this book!

About this book:

Ekaterinburg, Russia: July 16, 1918. Ten months have passed since Nicholas II’s reign was cut short by revolutionaries. Tonight, the White Army advances on the town where the Tsar and his family are being held captive by the Bolsheviks. Nicholas dares to hope for salvation. Instead, the Romanovs are coldly and methodically executed.

Moscow: Present Day. Atlanta lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country’s history, is thrilled to be in Moscow on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen from the distant relatives of Nicholas II by a specially appointed commission, and Miles’ job is to perform a background check on the Tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen. But research quickly becomes the least of Miles’ concerns when he is nearly killed by gunmen on a city plaza.

Suddenly Miles is racing across continents, shadowed by nefarious henchmen. At first, his only question is why people are pursuing him. But after a strange conversation with a mysterious Russian, who steers Miles toward the writings of Rasputin, he becomes desperate to know more — most important, what really happened to the family of Russia’s last tsar?

His only companion is Akilina Petrov, a Russian circus performer sympathetic to his struggle, and his only guide is a cryptic message from Rasputin that implies that the bloody night of so long ago is not the last chapter in the Romanovs’ story … and that someone might even have survived the massacre. The prophecy’s implications are earth-shattering — not only for the future of the tsar and mother Russia, but also for Miles himself.

Wow, I've really fallen behind on my book posts. I'll try to catch up tomorrow, since I've got the day off. But since I've got a bit of time to kill before I have to be at work, I may as well start catching up right now.

The Romanov Prophecy is, unlike By Order of the President, an excellent action thriller. It starts with the main character being chased through the streets of Moscow and shot at by unidentified thugs, and it doesn't slow down until the very end. That's all I really want from an action thriller, and Berry delivers it by the bushel.

The plot point that drives The Romanov Prophecy — that the Russian people would choose to install a new Tsar — is, in its own way, hardly less silly than the terrorist plot at the center of By Order of the President, but it's handled far better. In the latter book, the characters couldn't stop mocking the plot, making it hard for the reader to take seriously. Everyone in The Romanov Prophecy, on the other hand, takes the installation of the new Tsar deadly seriously, so I had no problem doing the same. And while I think it very unlikely that Russia will ever choose to reinstate Tsarist rule, Berry effectively sells the idea by coming up with a believable process for doing so.

I really liked this book, and I definitely plan to read Berry's other two thrillers before the year is out.

See all the books I've read this year

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