A book blog about Russia in English-language fiction

Tag: Fabergé

Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy (2015) – part two

Part one of this review is here.

Billionaire Russian businessman Roman Gorsky lives a life beyond imagining in terms of material wealth. Anything he wants, he buys. In London —Chelsea to be precise— he is converting a former barracks into a super-luxurious home, designed by the world’s leading modern architect.

First person narrator Nick —like many in this novel, the young Serbian is an immigrant to international London— works in a bookshop and is commissioned by Gorsky to stock what will be ‘the best private library in Europe’.

But can money buy love and happiness? Gorsky is certainly giving that a go. Both the location of his mansion, and the content of his library, are aimed at winning over Natalia, a beautiful Russian married to Englishman Tom Summerscale.

But Gorsky is too sophisticated a book to be a simple ‘money can’t buy you everything’ morality tale.

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The Romeo Flag by Carolyn Hougan (1989)

Published in 1989, but set a decade earlier, as Jimmy Carter’s presidency is coming to an end and the Soviet Union seems as threatening as ever to the West, The Romeo Flag flew briefly in the world of Russia-in-fiction thrillers.

The Romeo Flag offers a complex globe-trotting, decade-spanning, page-turning plot that differs from the run-of-the-mill, even whilst being built around a couple of the staples of Russia-related fiction; a surviving Romanov heir and a Soviet mole at the heart of the US government.

On top of that, The Romeo Flag turns out to contain uncanny parallels with a fresh new soon-to-be bestselling novel published only last week.

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