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on September 7, 2016
AN EXCITING READ...full of suspense and drama. Plus, as a history buff, I enjoyed reading and learning about Russian history. I know that other Common Tators have said such things as "the author digresses into a long-winded diatribe about the Cossacks and the Orthodox Church in Russia." But as someone who wants to read an exciting thriller and actually LEARN something of history at the same time, I highly recommend the book. My only regret is that in this treatise, the author didn't spell out enough just how austere Stalin really was, or how his atrosities compared to those of Hitler and the Third Reich. BUT...I do realize that that comparison would literally take VOLUMES to complete. So, I still recommend that you read it.
13 people found this helpful
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on April 13, 2017
Two brothers' separate journeys intertwine in a spectacular race for stolen treasure. Intricate history exposing the gory details of an oft romanticized period in Russian history, but giving a glimpse into understanding the tremendous shifts in the former Soviet federation.

The deceptions never cease, right to the end. And it grips you all the way. A story of loyalty, lies, treachery, honesty. You never really know the truth, but you keep reading to see if your theories are real.

Well written, the narrative keeps weaving a web of deceit which is finally wrapped up in the end, yet leaving you with doubts over whether you've actually not been deceived yet agin. Masterful storytelling at its best, leaving you wanting more.
8 people found this helpful
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on December 23, 2013
Ian Kharitonov's debut thriller novel fires on all cylinders and delivers a high octane, intellectually gratifying experience. The novel's premise is complex, with roots extending back to World War II and Stalin's reign of terror. Serpentine tentacles from the past extend in every direction, their purpose exposed as modern events unfold and a horrifying world threat emerges.

As a native Russian, Kharitonov's location descriptions are breathtakingly alive, giving you a ground level view. The final scenes in Kazakhstan are worth the price of entry alone. Character development is strong, especially with Sokolov, the story's protagonist. His motivations are clear and I genuinely empathized with his plight. He's skilled, but stands outside of the covert operative framework typically used for this genre. The author clearly plans to bring Sokolov back for follow on novels, and I look forward to experiencing further adventures.

A few reviewers felt distracted by Kharitonov's lengthy narrative background passages regarding the Bolshevik Revolution and Stalin's iron fisted rise to power. As a quasi-student of history, I found the passages to be utterly fascinating, describing the absolute tragedy and devious insanity of Stalin's rule. Historically based, the detours into history served the book's purpose, by matching the framework of Russia's historical struggle to the motivations of the novel's antagonists. I didn't feel weighed down by these passages at all. They felt like a treat in the greater context of a worthy thriller.
64 people found this helpful
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on November 24, 2017
This historical thriller is rich with bold, vivid detail and written in the kind of expert prose that borders on literary in quality, but without the stuffiness that usually accompanies anything with the "literature" label attached to it. While all the history and elaborate descriptions sometimes hobble the pacing--this book emphasizes history as much as it does adventure--there is simply no denying the skill that author Ian Kharitonov brings to the table. Sure, he wants to get your adrenaline pumping--and there are several sequences that accomplish that objective--but he also wants to engage your brain. While you'll walk away from this novel entertained by the treachery-laced treasure-hunting tale of the Sokolov brothers, you'll also walk away with a deeper understanding of Russian history, politics, and architecture. In other words, this book is not for the "all action, all the time" crowd, but for those who appreciate intricate plots and in-depth research.

Bottom line, the awards and accolades are deserved, and if you provide shelf space for the likes of Tom Clancy and/or Dan Brown, then Ian Kharitonov deserves a place alongside them. "The Russian Renaissance" nimbly dodges trite tropes and stereotypes in favor of something different, something unique. If you have even a remote interest in historical thrillers, you need to give this one a shot.
4 people found this helpful
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on October 19, 2013
I just finished reading The Russian Renaissance by Ian Kharitonov and was suprised only just now to discover that this is a debut novel from a young author. Within the first few paragraphs of the story, I assumed that I was reading the work of an older writer with years of experience under his belt. The author seems to have an innate ability to paint with words, a colorful and captivating image of each scene in the book. Of course it's not perfect. There are some minor typos here and there; nothing that distracts from the experience, and I did struggle to get a complete grasp of the entire plot - there's a lot of Russian names and places to try to keep straight. All in all, I found this to be a pretty solid novel and very well written. I fully expect to see more in the future from this author. It is a good techno-thriller with a good dash of history thrown in the mix. I recommend it.
6 people found this helpful
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on May 27, 2018
Artifacts, gold, jewels, paintings, the fabulous Amber Room, and countless other stolen riches are crated, loaded onto a train, and then disappears. A grand insight into Russian history, back to the Czars and embracing the current rulers, makes this a rare treat. Beautifully written with countless twists and well worth the time
One person found this helpful
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on December 16, 2015
This is a pretty good story written by a new Russian author that's full of interesting history. Unfortunately the history gets in the way of the story and the complicated plot stays fuzzy throughout. The characters are interesting but not fleshed out. The research by the author is excellent and for a first novel is well written. Would definitely consider any new efforts by this author.
12 people found this helpful
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on August 21, 2017
Interesting from a historical fantasy perspective but the numerous and sometimes confusing details of places and characters interfered with the main plot. I simply ended up skimming many pages to get back to the story line. This was my first read of this author but liked it enough to try another of his novels to form a more knowledgeable opinion.
One person found this helpful
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on March 16, 2018
I approach a book written by a Russian man with a bit of trepidation, so was pleasantly surprised by this author. Not only did he write a great historical book, he kept the reader on his toes until the last page. It was a super read with a lot of interesting information besides. Kudos.
2 people found this helpful
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on October 7, 2016
I got this book for free off of Bookhub. This a great book with mostly non stop action. The characters are well fleshed. You really have an understanding of what motivates all the players in the game. It also grabbed my attention enough by using one of the truly lost ,almost mythical lost treasures missing since WW2. If you are a history buff like me, you will love this book. I recommend you buy this and be entertained.
One person found this helpful
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