-- Kirkus Book Reviews
Korolev [is put] in a position that will have readers squirming in suspense for the repercussions each of his actions will have. The Darkening Field joins a long line of Soviet-based mystery series ... I believe Captain Korolev has much more to say, and I look forward to his next outing.
Readers will want to see more of Korolev, a weary but determined cop who puts justice ahead of Stalinist politics--at his peril.
-- Publishers Weekly
Ryan's follow-up does not disappoint. His hero, Captain Alexei Korolev ... dissatisfied and morose, manages to cling to his job and his life while all around him are losing theirs.
Ryan has obviously done much research into that sinister period of Russian history and manages to convey its claustrophobic atmosphere brilliantly.
--The London Times
Praise for The Darkening Field
“Booklist lauded Ryan’s first Korolev novel, The Holy Thief, and this successor fully delivers on the promise of that judgment. Korolev is a wonderful character, a spiritual ancestor of Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko, persevering amid the murderous paranoia of Stalin’s Russia. The plot is intricate, the action satisfying, and Ryan’s use of period detail, including the brutal “collectivization“ of the Ukraine and that region’s nationalist and anarchist movements, makes for exhilarating reading."
--Booklist (starred review)
Praise for The Holy Thief
"One of the year's most exciting [debuts].... While the search for Russian icons will bring to mind Martin Cruz Smith's brilliant Gorky Park, Ryan puts a fresh, original spin on the briskly paced The Holy Thief delving into Soviet politics, culture and corruption."
--Oline H. Cogdill, Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Korolev also is a moral, compassionate man who becomes increasingly horrified by Soviet society... This is British writer William Ryan's first historical mystery... One hopes there is more of Korolev to come.”
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Impressive... Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear of being reported as disloyal, besides dramatizing the difficulty of being an honest cop in a repressive police state. Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him."
--Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Remarkable thriller.... In his solitude and resolve, Ryan's Korolev evokes Martin Cruz Smith's fierce Arkady Renko, while the period detail and gore call to mind Tom Rob Smith."
“William Ryan brilliantly captures the eerie paranoia of Stalinist Moscow, which serves as an endlessly fascinating background for his compelling tale. This is a non-stop page-turner and a remarkable debut."
--David Liss, author of The Devil’s Company