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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

The Cold-War Thriller Reinvented

Archangel - Robert Harris

Set in Yeltsin's Russia, Archangel is an intellingent, tightly-plotted literary page-turner, revolving around the discovery of a secret notebook belonging to Stalin and kept hidden from the world for sixty years.

Fluke Kelso, its hero, is a populist historian whose career has never really lived up to its early promise. But when he is accosted by a veteran of Stalin's labour camps while attending a conference in Moscow, it seems as if fate may have finally graced him an opportunity to transform his reputation.

From the moment he begins to listen to the old man's story Kelso is caught up in a web of intrigue and deception and forced to use all his wit and resources to stay one step ahead of fanatical former communists with mafia connections, and contemporary Russian intelligence officers with Western tastes. It is only at the end of the book that he realises how comprehensively he has been manipulated, and understands the terrible significance of what he has unearthed.

Complex, textured and full of authentic detail, Archangel reinvents the cold-war thriller