The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith - Book Review




The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith   -    Book Review


Think of the Soviet Union in the mid fifties shortly after Stalin’s death. The winds of change are blowing through the air and the country too leaving nothing untouched. The new boss Khrushchev is an unknown quantity and when he pledges reforms some people are happy, while others less so.

Stalinist supporters everywhere are sitting and wondering about their position. For decades they have ruled the roost, the ones that survived that is, but what will happen now? You can't blame them for being worried, scared even, for revenge is in the air. 

Leo Demidov is a former KGB officer and he has his own problems. Big problems too. The two young daughters he and his wife have adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the brutal murders of their parents, and they are not alone. There are others out there who have old scores to settle with Leo Demidov, so much so that the whole family is in danger.

His desperate mission takes him to the inhuman and hard gulags in far away Siberia, and on to the depths of the criminal underworld where some amazing surprises await, before ending up back in Budapest, just as the 1956 Hungarian uprising is at its height.

I really enjoyed this novel. It was right up my street and I wish I had written it. It is fast paced and evocative of the times, but I note that the reviews in some places have been less than favourable, I have no idea why, the main bone of contention being that it is not a patch on Tom Rob Smith’s first novel, Child 44.

If that is the case Child 44 must be some kind of masterpiece because I thought The Secret Speech was a cracking good thriller, one I am happy to recommend and one the Le Carré and Alan Furst watchers and readers everywhere will surely enjoy.

And if you are interested in this book and this author here is some atmospheric video featuring the author himself discussingis writing and his books.



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