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Rasputin's Shadow Hardcover – October 8, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; 1st Printing edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525953132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525953135
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the prologue to bestseller Khoury's lively, if conventional, fourth Templar thriller (after 2011's The Devil's Elixir), some Ural Mountain miners go berserk one day in 1916 and start killing each other until an explosion puts them all out of their misery. At the mine entrance, mystic Grigory Rasputin assures his companion, an unnamed man of science, that €œwe've just ensured the salvation of our people€ by blowing up the mine. Flash forward to present-day New York City. FBI special agent Sean Reilly looks into the case of a Russian embassy official who's been thrown to his death from his high-rise apartment building in Queens. Reilly also investigates the disappearance of high school physics teacher Leo Sokolov, a descendant of a member of Rasputin's inner circle of advisers, who has developed a device that uses microwaves to alter human behavior. Reilly sometimes lets his enthusiasm get in the way of his better judgment in this predictable tale of a weapon with world-devastating potential. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (Oct.)

From Booklist

If you’ve ever wondered how Grigory Rasputin (1869–1916) made the transition from peasant to confidante of the Russian royal family, Khoury has an answer; but accepting it may require some suspension of disbelief. The latest Sean Reilly thriller finds the FBI agent still desperately searching for Reed Corrigan, the CIA operative who brainwashed Reilly’s son (The Devil’s Elixir, 2011). But the death of a Russian diplomat, who took a plunge from the window of a New York City apartment owned by a Russian physics teacher who has mysteriously vanished, takes Reilly away from his personal quest. More bodies begin to stack up before Reilly discovers the shocking truth about the missing teacher, a truth that has staggering ramifications both historically and in the present day. As usual, Khoury blends real-life people and events with fictional characters. His solution to the mystery of Rasputin is clever and believable (if you’re willing to think way outside the box), and there’s a solid emotional payoff for Reilly at the book’s end. Fine action, an engaging historical mystery with modern-day implications, and a cast of engaging characters—all in all, a thoroughly entertaining genre-bender. --David Pitt

More About the Author

I was born in Beirut, a Scorpio and the youngest of three. The civil war broke out there when I was 14 and my parents, in a noble effort to keep us alive into adulthood, wisely moved us to Rye, NY. I stayed there until I graduated from Rye Country Day School, then, intent on thwarting my parents' nurturing instincts, I decided to go back to Lebanon to study architecture at the American University of Beirut. Which, in hindsight, wasn't as nutty a decision as you might think. Those years, marred by repeated flare-ups of fighting and a couple of invasions, were emotionally taxing, harrowing, sometimes dangerous, often maddeningly frustrating, but always intense in the most visceral sense of the word and, weirdly enough, I wouldn't have missed them for the world. Maybe that's the Scorpio in me...

So there I was, gingerly studying architecture in the hopes of one day helping rebuild the city (rumours that a local cabal of intensely purist architects was having ugly buildings selectively blown up remain unproven). The civil war erupted again a few weeks after I graduated, and I was evacuated out from the beach down the road from our apartment on a sunny but sad day in February, 1984, by the Marine Corp's 22nd Amphibious Unit on board a Chinook helicopter, to whom I'll be eternally grateful (the Marines, not the chopper).

I ended up in London, where I joined a small architecture practice. The architecture scene in Europe was pretty bleak at that time, so I decided to explore other career options. I got an MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and joined an investment bank, selling gold-linked convertibles and other far less exotic financial instruments, surrounded by Gekko wannabes and hating waking up every day. In fairness, I have to credit those 'wilderness' years with one wonderful thing: meeting my gorgeous wife, who tolerated my exhausting yearnings for something more fulfilling and eventually gave me two incredible daughters.

I left the glamorous (at the time, anyway) world of investment banking after three years to return to my creative roots. I bounced around for a while, trying different things, and during a business trip to the Bahamas (don't ask), I met a banker who dabbled in the film business. I've always been a film geek and harbored a burning desire to make movies, so at dinner one night, I bounced an idea off him, and the idea struck a chord. I had a new partner, and we agreed to develop my idea into a screenplay -- by hiring a professional screenwriter he'd worked with.

Several conference calls later, the outlines coming back from Los Angeles weren't what I had in mind. I offered to write an outline myself. When I faxed my notes to my partner (yes, this was in the early 90s, long before email), he called me up and said, "Our man in L.A. isn't going to write this movie for us. You are. You're a writer."

So I did. And it got shortlisted for the Fulbright Fellowship in Screenwriting award, which I had to apply for under a friend's name (I wasn't eligible, but that's another long story). My next script, a semi-autobiographical screenplay about my college years during the war, was also nominated for the award a year later. Then the next year, in 1995, I optioned the film rights to Melvyn Bragg's novel, THE MAID OF BUTTERMERE and wrote the adaptation myself while completing an original screenplay called... THE LAST TEMPLAR. Buttermere found its way to Robert DeNiro, who announced in Variety that he would be producing it and playing the lead. The Last Templar... well, if you're reading this, you know that after ten years or so, it managed the quantum leap off my laptop's hard drive and into novel form, but that's a longer story, one I'll go through in a separate post...

Since then, and after working as a screenwriter and a producer on shows like the BBC series Spooks, (MI-5 in the US), I'm now solely focused on the novels, the fifth of which is THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR.

And that's about it... Thanks for taking the time to explore my ramblings, and if you do pick up one of my books, I hope you have a blast reading it. And let me know-connect with me on facebook on my Official Fan Page (and NOT on one of the others that I don't manage!). Enjoy!

Customer Reviews

Look forward to the next book.
palden namgyal
If you enjoy fast paced, action packed thrillers, Russian history,intrigue, the Romanov dynasty, than "Rasputin's Shadow" is the story for you to pick up.
April A. Renn
Much too far fetched, weak story line, and underdeveloped characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The work of author Raymond Khoury can often be described as cinematic. In other word, his novels tend to favor big plots and stirring action sequences as opposed to in-depth character analysis. That's a perfectly viable choice and one that has served him well in the historical thriller series featuring FBI Agent Sean Reilly. We first met Reilly in the 2006 outing "The Last Templar" and he's been through a lot in the succeeding years and novels. In fact, the Reilly we're introduced to in "Rasputin's Shadow" is still very much haunted and obsessed with the events that befell his family in Khoury's previous story. But he doesn't get much time to dwell, the strange death of a Russian diplomat draws him into an international mystery that no one is prepared for. At the heart of "Rasputin's Shadow" is an absolutely nifty idea. The book centers around a horrifying technology, descended from the days of Rasputin, that may have devastating global consequences if not controlled. Interweaving past with present, Khoury takes us on a unique journey that is always exciting. In this case, though, I found the central mystery rather vaguely drawn and that was one of the major issues I had with "Rasputin's Shadow." I'm a fan of Khoury and this series, but there was a bit of a void at the center of this tale for me.

The novel opens in the Ural Mountains circa 1916. A brutal mine collapse is viewed by the cunning Rasputin and seems to be an atrocity of his own devising. The men underwent an unexplained phenomenon and a terrifying violence was unleashed from their very souls before the ultimate cave-in. But just what caused this burst of anger and fighting?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laughing Bull on October 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The good news first. The modern-day thriller is based on an interesting idea (which I won't describe here to avoid spoiling the surprise). It's well-written, fast-moving, and tense. I'd give those sections 4-5 stars.

But the thriller is wrapped around the story of Rasputin. It's told by the grandfather of one of the characters in the thriller, who supposedly invents the very high-tech device that drives the later action. This link is hard to believe, and almost completely irrelevant to the Rasputin story.

I was hoping it would all come together at some point, but -- for me, at least -- it didn't. I thought the jumps back in time ruined the pacing of the thriller, made the device less intimidating (how sophisticated could it be if it's based on Tsar-era technology?), and added complexity for no payback.

It also makes the first 100 pages slow and confusing, as has been noted by other reviewers.

This book is worth reading, but not nearly as good as it would have been without the forced injection of what's really a very different book about a historical figure.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Tureson on October 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I received this book for free from BookTribe in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rasputin’s Shadow is the first Raymond Khory book I’ve read and, and while I have to admit it was slow to catch my attention (to many questions unanswered). But as I kept reading and learning more and more of the back story of Rasputin his minion Misha and Misha’s grandson Leo it got to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. The first hundred pages took me as long to read as the last 300 due to this.

The story is one of a scientist with a potentially catastrophic weapon showing up after many many years successfully staying hidden in the US. Leo defected from Russia and evaded the CIA to keep his knowledge and the weapon he could create out of the hands of either government. But with one mistake due to grief the Russians find Leo. And then the body count starts to pile up, and Leo runs, his wife is captured by the Russians, a Korean gangster is dragged in, along with the FBI and a Russian Counselor for Public Affairs. The FBI, Sean Reilly and Nick Aparo and the Russian Counselor Larisa are thrown together after the first body is found. Reilly knows that Larisa is more than she claims and has to work around that knowledge while trying to stop whoever is killing the people in New York. But the big question is why, and it takes a lot of work for the FBI to finally understand what is going on. There is a lot of cat and mouse played throughout New York as Reilly and his partner try and solve this case, and try to understand who the enemy is as they try to rescue Leo.

I found this book to be very fast paced, especially after the first 100 pages.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Zummack on October 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Oh my god!!! What a pheonomenal read!!!! I couldn't put it down and finished it in 3 days. As much as I love the templar novels, I found this one absolutely enthralling. It was the same excitement as Reilly's previous adventures but had the technological wonder of The Sign. It really is scary how close we are to having this technology take over the world.

I love the way the characters have progressed and I really enjoy the first person narrative. Reilly is such an intense character, I would love to see Khoury's future novels keep that format!
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