Multi-stranded, groundbreaking Russian thriller from the bestselling author of Messiah and Storm Moscow, December 1991; a city in chaos, riven by gang violence and hyperinflation, its population in terror of a killer preying on children. Into this anarchy comes Alice Liddell, an American banker charged with starting the privatisation process ...
Multi-stranded, groundbreaking Russian thriller from the bestselling author of Messiah and Storm Moscow, December 1991; a city in chaos, riven by gang violence and hyperinflation, its population in terror of a killer preying on children. Into this anarchy comes Alice Liddell, an American banker charged with starting the privatisation process crucial to Russia's hopes of reform. But reform means hardship, and survival is hard enough as it is; Alice has only a short period to succeed before the people lose patience with the progressive government. Her target is the Red October distillery, Russia's most famous vodka producer, but Alice discovers that lack of time is the least of her problems. Red October is the centrepiece of a savage mafiya war between its charismatic boss Lev and his Chechen nemesis Karkadann. Are the brutal child killings terrorising Moscow connected to their violent conduct? How should Alice handle her discoveries that Red October is riddled with corruption from top to bottom? And can Alice and Lev, adversaries across the negotiating table, reconcile their very different professional aims with their very unprofessional feelings for each other? As the characters get sucked into a vortex of violence, passion and betrayal, their struggles are no longer simply for their own designs; they are for the soul of Russia itself. Concentrated over 100 days of a Russian winter, Vodka is a thriller of taut suspense, shocking brutality, heart-pounding pace, a saga of rivalry and bloodshed, a searing study of addiction, and a love story truly poetic in its tragedy. Vodka is Boris Starling's finest book to date, and sure to catapult him into the top bracket of popular British writers.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-10 In this dense, captivating novel of modern-day Russia by Starling (Messiah; Storm), stunningly beautiful American Alice Liddell arrives in Moscow in 1991 as the city lurches into a changed world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. She's an International Monetary Fund adviser whose job is to privatize Moscow's state-run industries, the first of which will be the legendary Red October vodka distillery. Red October is run by Lev, who is seven feet tall, built like a professional weight lifter and covered with tattoos. The charismatic Lev is not only head of Moscow's largest gang, the 21st Century Association, he is also a parliamentary deputy. Alice and Lev engage in contentious negotiations over who will control the factory, and in no time at all romantic sparks fly. Starling fuels his many story lines-one involving a gang of brutal Chechens; another featuring Juku Irk, Russia's only honest policeman-with an abundance, some might think an overabundance, of facts about life in Russia. While most books would founder under the weight of such extensive research, this great mass of detail is so fascinating that delighted readers will gulp it down like the novel's free-flowing, ubiquitous vodka. Agent, Caradoc King at A.P. Watt (U.K.). (Feb. 1) Forecast: Booksellers can recommend this to Martin Cruz Smith readers, who will love it once they get past the fact that Smith's detective, Renko, works an entirely different set of streets. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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