Secrets and lies

6 01 2017

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith



Soviet Union, 1956: Stalin is dead. 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. Its message: Stalin was a tyrant and a murderer. Its promise: The Soviet Union will transform. But there are forces at work that are unable to forgive or forget Stalin’s tyranny so easily, that demand revenge of the most appalling nature.

Meanwhile, former MGB officer Leo Demidov is facing his own turmoil. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his involvement in the murder of their parents. They are not alone. Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa and their family are in grave danger from someone with a grudge against Leo. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.

A cracking tale and really entertaining. Lots of twists and turns in a very uncertain world. Strongly recommended follow up to Child 44.


four stars


Truly, a nomad

2 01 2017

I, Nomad by Alan Partridge


The deeply personal follow-up to Alan Partridge’s deeply personal autobiography, I, PARTRIDGE, charting the highs, lows and mediums of his one-man walking tour around (certain parts of) Britain. Alan Partridge presents Mid Morning Matters on North Norfolk Digital. Broadcaster, writer, motivational speaker, sports fan, thought-leader, businessman and consummate professional, Alan enjoys bitter shandy, shandied lager, high-end knitwear and personal success. He is currently doing very well.

It is, as the blurb says, deeply personal as Alan follows in his father’s footsteps in walking from Norwich to Dungeness. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder what you are doing reading yet another autobiographical piece from a fictional broadcaster and thought leader. Very funny in places though.



1 01 2017

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson


A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the twentieth century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction.

Those who loved the bestselling Life After Life will recognise Teddy as Ursula Todd’s adored younger brother – but for those who have not read it, A God in Ruins stands fully on its own. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.

I do think Atkinson is a very good writer indeed and this is another really impressive novel. It’s clever, witty, poignant in places and a really good read. Just struggle a little to match the book to the hype of some of the reviews. But not really ruined…



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