Ekaterinburg, Russia: July 16, 1918. Ten months have passed since Nicholas II's reign was cut short by revolutionaries. Tonight, the White Army advances on the town where the Tsar and his family are being held captive by the Bolsheviks. Nicholas dares to hope for salvation. Instead, the Romanovs are coldly and methodically executed. Moscow: Present Day. Atlanta lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country's history, is thrilled to be in Moscow on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen from the distant relatives of Nicholas II by a specially appointed commission, and Miles' job is to perform a background check on the Tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen. But research quickly becomes the least of Miles, concerns when he is nearly killed by gunmen on a city plaza.
With this second Russian suspense novel, which focuses on the restoration of the Romanov dynasty, Berry shows he's honed his craft since his somewhat shaky debut, The Amber Room (2003). Miles Lord, a workaholic African-American lawyer from Atlanta, is in Moscow to help Stefan Baklanov, the Romanov claimant his high-powered firm is backing. Since the new tsar will reign as an autocrat like his ancestors, both big rubles and big bucks are at stake not to mention access to nuclear weapons. Lord soon discerns that Baklanov is corrupt, a tool of the mafiya. While digging through old files on the Russian Revolution, Lord comes to believe Baklanov is the "raven" Rasputin predicted would help save the royal house in 1916. Teaming with a beautiful acrobat, Akilina Petrov of the Moscow Circus, Lord attempts to discover whether any children of Nicholas II escaped Lenin's executioners. A series of exotic clues propel the pair on an international scavenger hunt. Berry uses Russia past and present to excellent effect and makes sharp observations about the contemporary Russian scene, such as the racism Lord encounters throughout the country. The book's villain needs a bit more development, but this doesn't detract much from a solid tale a cut above and then some many thrillers on the market. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . The best of Steve Berry
Posted April 13, 2010 by Emily , Springfield, VAThis is without a doubt Steve Berry's best book...it's fast paced and has just the right amount of mystery to it...this is a "thinking book". Be ready to be hooked and I dare you to try to figure it out before the last page!!! I've actually read this multiple times and each time get something new out of it...Happy Reading!!!!!
April 25, 2005
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Excerpt from The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry
moscow, the present
tuesday, october 12
In fifteen seconds Miles Lord's life changed forever.
He first saw the sedan. A dark blue Volvo station wagon, the tint so deep that it appeared black in the bright midday sun. He next noticed the front tires cutting right, weaving a path around traffic on busy Nikolskaya Prospekt. Then the rear window, reflective as a mirror, descended, and a distorted reflection of the surrounding buildings was replaced by a dark rectangle pierced by the barrel of a gun.
Bullets exploded from the gun.
He dived flat. Screams arose around him as he slammed onto the oily pavement. The sidewalk was packed with afternoon shoppers, tourists, and workers, all now lunging for cover as lead raked a trail across the weathered stone of Stalinist-era buildings.
He rolled over and looked up at Artemy Bely, his lunch companion. He'd met the Russian two days back and taken him to be an amicable young lawyer with the Justice Ministry. Lawyer to lawyer they'd eaten dinner last night and breakfast this morning, talking of the new Russia and the great changes coming, both marveling at being part of history. His mouth opened to shout a warning, but before he could utter a sound Bely's chest erupted and blood and sinew splattered on the plate-glass window beyond.
The automatic fire came with a constant rat-tat-tat that reminded him of old gangster movies. The plate glass gave way and jagged shards crashed to the sidewalk. Bely's body crumpled on top of him. A coppery stench rose from the gaping wounds. He shoved the lifeless Russian off, worried about the red tide soaking into his suit and dripping from his hands. He hardly knew Bely. Was he HIV-positive?
The Volvo screeched to a stop.
He looked to his left.
Car doors popped open and two men sprang out, both armed with automatic weapons. They wore the blue-and-gray uniforms with red lapels of the militsya--the police. Neither, though, sported the regulation gray caps with red brim. The man from the front seat had the sloped forehead, bushy hair, and bulbous nose of a Cro-Magnon. The man who slid from the rear was stocky with a pockmarked face and dark, slicked-back hair. The man's right eye caught Lord's attention. The space between the pupil and eyebrow was wide, creating a noticeable droop--as if one eye was closed, the other open--and provided the only indication of emotion on an otherwise expressionless face.
Droopy said to Cro-Magnon in Russian, "The damn chornye survived."
Did he hear right?
The Russian equivalent for nigger.
His was the only black face he'd seen since arriving in Moscow eight weeks ago, so he knew he had a problem. He recalled something from a Russian travel book he'd read a few months back. Anyone dark-skinned can expect to arouse a certain amount of curiosity. What an understatement.
Cro-Magnon acknowledged the comment with a nod. The two men stood thirty yards away, and Lord wasn't about to wait around to find out what they wanted. He sprang to his feet and raced in the opposite direction. With a quick glance over his shoulder he saw the two calmly crouch and ready themselves to shoot. An intersection loomed ahead, and he leaped the remaining distance just as gunfire blasted from behind.
Bullets strafed the stone, puffing cloud bursts into the chilly air.
More people dived for cover.
He sprang from the sidewalk and faced a tolkuchki--street market--lining the curb as far as he could see.
"Gunmen. Run," he screamed in Russian.