It's literally (used literally!) bad beyond the point of hilarious, on par with theese beautiful gems of mangled lit: Atlanta Nights and Moon People. not like any other bank'... The characters are demonstrating impossibly acrobatic feats defying the limitations of human body at each step: Q: He doesnt look up, or in either direction, but walks fast to the left, his face to the pavement but his eyes looking carefully to the right. And I'm not gonna think what would have happened, had he had a tail and a couple of tentacles... Q: We had microphones, watchers, tails, people in every corner. (c) Well, if they misplaced their malevolence, they should have looked in the corners: it seems they had a lot of public who might have helped them looking for it. Q: It was the venue for our first official fuck, Rabbit, endorsed by Her Majesty and the KGB. Q: We called it the colony and referred to our homes as white houses, a typically white, racist Russian expression; in Russia anyone with even a faintly dusky skin-which included everyone in the Soviet southern republics-was considered inferior. And no, racism wasn't a thing in the USSR. The skin color in the USSR wasn't a big thing, many Caucasian nationalities have been dusky for ages and it never ever bothered anyone (working in a field, anyone?), it's the eye and cheek bone structure that was most noticeable for this population mix, and even Asian eyes were (and still are) very often considered beautiful... Q: Russian elitism remains unchanged from the Middle Ages and is far worse than anything in the West. (c) Actually, the Russian Imperia elites had been replaced during Revolution with the USSR and partially European plebs... And the Middle Ages' elites had been not just decimated but likely at least halved during the Tatar-Mongol yoke before the Russian Imperia arose. (c) Actually, there seem to be over 100 banks in Luxembourg: https://www.statista.com/statistics/6... Willy says that hed like to have a baby too, by which he means in his environment, I think, rather than literally. () Q: I think to myself that there is something about having two men, Willy and Finn, that makes the whole idea seem more palatable. (c) I'd have loved this plot way more, had this gal thought to someone else. (c) Q: Most people I know put their kids down for some school ten years before theyre born, ... (c) I think, those kids might have preferred to have actually been put down instead of being subjected to maths, diplomas and post-birth therapy, all at once. We arent safe, Finn. Never, ever, Russian coat of arms had 1 slim tail withour claws or wings of this shape or no sceptre & imperial orb grasped in very prominent claws.
It combines a riveting spy tale with a love story, offers a chilling portrait of how todays Russia came to be and should scare the bejesus out of everyone. Dryden offers a history lesson here, on post-Cold-War Russia, on Putin, the oligarchs, not only their dark motives towards Europe, but the ways and means by which they will prosecute their aims, and on some of the darker crevices of western banking.
In the guise of an amiable trade secretary, he has penetrated deep into the dangerous labyrinth that is Russia under Vladimir Putin to discover some of its darkest secrets, thanks to a high-level source deep within the Kremlin. Charged with helping to make Russia strong again under Putin, she is ordered to spy on Finn and discover the identity of his mole. And also, the story told is either instantly obvious...the New Russia is a viciously capitalist and socially Darwinian funhouse mirror of the West's nastiest, least admirable qualities, and will therefore succeed in out-competing the West...or completely incredible, as to a triumphalist Teabagger idiot. I'm on the instantly obvious side, obviously, and that's why I enjoyed the book more than I expected to. What didn't work well for me was the narrative structure of the book, with its reported-not-experienced quality, and the fact that the main characters were sketched more than drawn. Here, in Anna and Finn, I felt I was being told a bit about the people in a not-very-close friend's long, detailed story.
If youve been craving a moody, Russian tragedy cloaked as a thriller, I recommend this book. They are charged by their governments to learn everything they can about each other and repeat it, but Finn and Anna fall in love. The action is all with Finn, who is absent for much of the story.
While the premise of the book was interesting, and the description of Putin's Russia was very good, the plot overall was jumbled and hard to follow. In most spy novels, the end of the book wraps everything up in some form of order, unless a sequel is already in the works and the author then leaves plot lines hanging. One thing the book did very well was to create the atmosphere that you (be it the reader or the characters) didn't know who to trust.
& maybe that was the root of my problem with this book - I wanted it to be as good as Le Carre & it just wasn't. Ultimately this is an okay spy novel that could have been a pretty good spy novel had its author been clear about what he wanted to do with it.
A very scary book when you realize the premise is that nothing has really changed for the better in Russia, and that the author, who is a journalist using a pseudonym to write this story, backs up his claims with a lot of hard evidence.
Alex Dryden's 'Red to Black' is a detailed account of the origin of his Anna Resnikov series, narrated by the then KGB officer as she begins the relationship with a male British spy that sets it all in motion. They develop a relationship, Anna dutifully reports back details to her superiors, but she's not giving them everything. In the meantime, Finn discovers a huge Putin plot against the West, but his superiors think he's gone off the rails. The writing is fine but the dialogue, as I've found through the series, is uneven, though that may be related to the diverse nationalities of the characters involved.