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on July 08, 2012 :
I'v heard that another reviewer called this an odd book and I'm not sure why. The only thing I can figure is that they found the philosophy angle to be strange (and there is a good deal of philosophy discussion between the characters) However since I knew it would be there already, I did not find it odd in the slightest.
Daniel is an Englishmen who is invited by a Russian oligarch to come work on a project that will "save Russia" by installing cultural centers around the globe that will "sell" the Russian Idea as they call it, aka a way of looking at life/spirituality/religion etc. - that is based on the philosophy and work of Nikolai Berdyaev. (the reader does not need to be familiar with this to understand the story, as Steve Evans does an excellent job of explaining it - for example I was not familiar with it.) But on Daniel's first day in Russia - in fact on the first page of the novel - there is a murder. The police must be called, but they only do more to complicate and already complicated situation that is full of twists turns, and more secrets than you can shake a stick at. And f course, the killing doesn't stop. It seems someone is out to sabotage the Russian Idea. But who?
I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that this is a novel with a good mystery and very interesting characters, some of which I wish there'd been more time to examine further (but that's the point of reading a book, isn't it? then YOU get to examine them further yourself in your own mind!), a good romance and a lot of surprises.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)