The Holy Thief by William Ryan
A Novel

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Synopsis

Moscow, 1936, and Stalin’s Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD—the most feared organization in Russia—becomes involved. Soon, Korolev’s every step is under close scrutiny and one false move will mean exile to The Zone, where enemies of the Soviet State, both real and imagined, meet their fate in the frozen camps of the far north.

Committed to uncovering the truth behind the gruesome murder, Korolev enters the realm of the Thieves, rulers of Moscow’s underworld. As more bodies are discovered and pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust and who, in a Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevail, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life.

William Ryan’s remarkable debut will storm into ten countries in what is sure to be an international publishing event. With Captain Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us— the truth.
 

About William Ryan

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WILLIAM RYAN is the author of The Holy Thief, which was a Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel and shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Ryan attended Trinity College, Dublin and completed his Masters in Creative Writing at St. Andrews University. He lives in London. This is his third novel.
 
Published August 31, 2010 by Minotaur Books. 352 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Holy Thief

Kirkus Reviews

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Debut novelist Ryan delivers a gritty mystery set in Stalinist 1936 Moscow.

Jul 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

The New York Times

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Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia’s Criminal Investigation Division, who works in an office that “smelled of men and cigarettes” and who says of himself, “I find bad people who have done bad things and I put them in a bad place.” Still secretly a religious man, Korolev hides his Bible under th...

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

Book Reporter

The poor quality and limited availability of the basic needs of life --- food, clothing and shelter --- as presented here provide a subtle backdrop as Korolev proceeds with his investigation, one that leads him to consort with Moscow’s feared Thieves’ underworld as they join him in an unlikely an...

Nov 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

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Bookmarks Magazine

With Captain Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us— the truth.

Sep 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

Monsters and Critics

Given the atmosphere of the time, it is hardly surprising when Moscow Militia Criminal Investigator Captain Alexei Korolev aided by Colonel Gregorin with the NKVD decide the nun’s murder has political connections.

Sep 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

The American Book Center Blog

Apart from the 4 murders Korolev investigates, there are at least 10 other killings, Korolov is beaten up several times, headbutts an innocent bystander at a football match, is severely concussed twice and shot in the arm (none of which appear to impair his activities in any way) – so maybe Taran...

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Holy Thief: A Novel

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