Eye of the Red Tsar - Sam Eastland

TSAR Nicholas II s reign saw Russia go from one of the world s great powers to an economic and military disaster. A stampede during celebrations following his coronation saw 1,389 people killed, earning him the nickname Nicholas the Bloody among critics.

TSAR Nicholas II's reign saw Russia go from one of the world's great powers to an economic and military disaster.

A stampede during celebrations following his coronation saw 1,389 people killed, earning him the nickname Nicholas the Bloody among critics.

He was eventually forced to abdicate by Lenin's Communists and the following year he, his wife and children were killed.

The family have since been seen as saints by many Russians and their deaths have become one of the big conspiracy stories, alongside who shot Kennedy.


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Did they all die? If so, who killed them? If not, who escaped and where are they now?

Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland (�12.99, Faber and Faber) is the first of what will apparently be a series of detective novels set at the birth of Stalin's Russia.

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Our hero, Inspector Pekkala, was once the favourite of the tsar and as a result, has been banished to Siberia.

Now Stalin recalls him from exile to find out who killed the Romanov family and to locate the tsar's missing treasure.

Pekkala's investigations are interspersed with his reminiscences of the tsar who, here, is a kindly, harmless chap who relaxes by chopping wood for the fire.

The setting, against the backdrop of the paranoid and brutal country that Stalin's Russia became, makes for an interesting twist and Eastland has created a hero with enough back story to carry a series. But otherwise this is a fairly routine murder mystery.

- LINDSAY JONES

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