By William Ryan
Following his investigations within the Holy Thief, which implicated these on the very most sensible of authority in Soviet Russia, Captain Alexei Korolev unearths himself adorned and hailed as an instance to all Soviet employees. yet Korolev lives in an uneasy peace -- his new-found wisdom is risky, and whether it is stumbled on what his actual activities have been throughout the case, he'll face deportation to the frozen camps of the a long way north. but if the knock at the door comes, at nighttime, it isn't Siberia Korolev is destined for. in its place, Colonel Rodinov of the NKVD safety provider asks the detective to appear into the suspected suicide of a tender lady: Maria Alexandovna Lenskaya, a version citizen. Korolev is unnerved to profit that Lenskaya have been of curiosity to Ezhov, the dreaded Commissar for country safeguard. Ezhov himself desires to subject seemed into. And while the detective arrives at the set for Bloody Meadow, within the bleak, battle-scarred Ukraine, he quickly discovers that there's extra to Lenskaya's loss of life than meets the attention ...
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Their faces were grave and Korolev felt every one of his ninety-one kilos, bag included. ’ a voice asked. He looked round to see blue eyes in a pale pudgy face only a few centimetres away from his own. Korolev nodded and the man held out a thick envelope. ‘Goldberg. Colonel Rodinov sent me with a package for you. To read on the plane. ’ Korolev signed with the pen the Chekist handed him and accepted the offering, feeling its weight, thinking someone must have worked like a dog to get it ready. ’ the weighing clerk asked and he caught the tail of a smug glance from the Party bigwig, but Goldberg, assessing the situation in an instant, walked across to the clerk and whispered in her ear.
And, until he was confident they had, he’d carry on keeping a small packed suitcase in his bedroom wardrobe just in case they came for him one night with a one-way ticket for Siberia. Korolev found himself at the door of the building he lived in on Bolshoi Nikolo-Vorobinsky and began to kick the snow from his boots before opening the heavy front door, light spilling out into the lane as he did so; and as if to remind him that his concerns weren’t just groundless paranoia, he caught sight of the red seal that had been applied to Kotov’s apartment door by State Security only the previous week and which swung gently in the resulting draught.
The second room was the same as the first and, again, their arrival had a pronounced effect. A youth with tousled hair was playing the accordion but the music came to a sliding halt when he saw the brown pointed budyenny caps of the two uniforms. Other grey winter faces turned towards them, watching them, wondering what the four intruders wanted. In the far corner a white-haired man, a thin beard under a hawk’s nose, read to a circle of men and women, their heads bowed. It wasn’t Korolev’s business but he’d wager a month’s salary it was a bible he was reading from and that the man was a former priest.