The Holy Thief: A Novel (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.99
  • Save: $5.78 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Holy Thief: A Novel (... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: :
Comment: While this book has been loved by someone else, they left it in great condition. Hurry and buy it before someone else does and take advantage of our FREE Super Saver Shipping!!!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Holy Thief: A Novel (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels) Hardcover – August 31, 2010

Book 1 of 3 in the Korolev Series

See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, August 31, 2010
$19.21
$0.83 $0.01

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Introducing The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$19.21 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

The Holy Thief: A Novel (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels) + The Darkening Field + The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels)
Price for all three: $47.51

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Gold Box Deal of the Day: Best-Selling Paranormal Series
Today only, books in the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead are $2.99 each. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Captain Alexei Korolev Novels (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312586450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312586454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,397,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in 1936, Ryan's impressive debut introduces Capt. Alexei Korolev of the Moscow Militia's Criminal Investigation Division, who looks into the murder of a young woman found butchered in a church. Signs of torture suggest the killer may have been trying to get information out of the victim. Colonel Gregorin, an NKVD officer who takes an interest in the case, believes the crime has "a political element." With Gregorin's help, the captain identifies the woman as an American nun, who may have been involved with smuggling valuables out of the Soviet Union for sale abroad. After a second similar murder, Korolev enlists the help of a motley assortment of allies, including a contingent of would-be Baker Street Irregulars and acclaimed writer Isaac Babel. 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. 125,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Fans of Philip Kerr, Tom Rob Smith, and Olen Steinhauer have a treat in store with this strong period thriller from British debut author Ryan. Like Kerr’s Bernie Gunther, committed to solving crimes in 1930s Berlin, even when his investigations implicate Nazi thugs, so Ryan’s hero, Captain Alexei Korolev of Moscow’s Criminal Investigative Division, bucks resistance from Stalin’s party-liners in 1936 Russia. The case that causes trouble here is the murder of a young woman, whose mutilated body is found displayed on an altar in one of Moscow’s “deconsecrated” churches. The political angle to the crime sharpens when Korolev determines that the victim was an American nun who may have been involved in smuggling religious icons out of the Soviet Union. The plot gets a bit convoluted, with the main icon taking on a Maltese Falcon–like status, but the period detail is impeccable, and Korolev has the makings of a great character; like Steinhauer’s Bruno Sev and Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko, he is committed to ferreting out truth in a world defined by institutional falsehood. A series to watch very closely. --Bill Ott

Customer Reviews

What a collection characters Ryan creates!
W. Sanders
Korolev is a good man trying his best to complete his investigation whilst dealing with corruption, paranoia and the tangible fear of the times.
Paul D Brazill
William Ryan has done a fair amount of research on Stalinist Russia to teach us through the novel about Soviet history at this particular time.
Patricia L. Marks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Kaiser VINE VOICE on July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
William Ryan has written an exciting, fast-paced yet thoughtful novel set during the early Stalin years. His lead character is the enormously likeable Alexei Korolev, a big, powerful, honest detective in the Moscow Militia who has an underlying faith in God which he keeps well-hidden. He also possesses a hopeful outlook on the new policies and political future of Stalin's Russia, yet isn't blindly trusting of the authorities tasked to bring about those changes. Thus, the character of Korolev is perfectly balanced, wholly Russian in his sentiments, yet not gullible in his beliefs. Ryan's simple descriptions of Moscow in 1936 are filled with the hunger, deprivation, and fear present in those days, but his protagonist puts such a matter-of-fact spin on these difficulties that they seem less depressing. However, dark and sinister events are afoot and Korolev is placed smack dab in the middle of them. Ryan's prose flows smoothly and easily, but is not simplistic or amateurish by any means. The Holy Thief: A Novel is a well-done debut. Here's hoping this enjoyable Muscovite detective, Korolev, makes more appearances in the future.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On the eve of the Soviet dream collapsing into the Stalinist nightmare, a young woman's body is left, tortured and mutilated, in a derelict Moscow church. Captain Alexei Korolev, Moscow CID, is a loyal Soviet cop, but also prays every morning. Korolev's investigation leads him through Russia's Thief caste and the Orthodox Church in exile, but he isn't prepared for the gangrenous Soviet corruption on the other side.

William Ryan's debut mystery resembles Martin Cruz Smith's classic Gorky Park on the surface. But in many ways, Ryan's world is much bleaker because it's localized and self-contained: unlike Smith's investigator, Renko, who sees the larger world, Ryan's Korolev believes Soviet propaganda and knows he's creating a better world. That's how he and his fellow Militia detectives justify the daily brutality around them.

Korolev descends through layers of Soviet society, from the heights of cheering Comrade Stalin to the depths of secret back-room meetings with Moscow's Duke of Thieves. He finds himself named a hero by the NKVD just days before having to talk his way out of a gilded cell. In this investigation, Korolev literally has no good choice, and cannot put his feet down right, because someone always waits to send him to the Zone.

This novel grips us because we know something Korolev doesn't. You already know his hopes are doomed, his trust in the Soviet system and Comrade Stalin will fail. But if he doesn't follow that road, he won't survive this dark, weather-beaten city. Korolev believes the Soviet utopia even as he watches Moscow descend into betrayal, cigarette smoke, and lies. He's a good man resisting bad times.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 1936, Moscow Militia's Criminal Investigation Division Captain Alexei Korolev leads the investigation into the brutal murder of a battered woman in a church. The body's myriad of bruises indicates the victim was tortured as if the culprit sought information from the deceased.

NKVD Colonel Gregorin is fascinated with the homicide that he thinks has political ties. With Gregorin assisting him, Korolev identifies the dead female woman as an American nun, who allegedly helped smuggle valuables out of the Soviet Union. When a second murder similar to that of the Sister occurs, Korolev obtains aid from a diverse cautious crew of friends and associates, wannabe Russian Baker Street Irregulars and author Isaac Babel.

The key to this excellent 1930s Soviet police procedural is the Stalin internal terrorism cuts through all aspects of Moscow society; no one is immune, not even a homicide cop. That oppressive aura engulfs Korolev who wants to solve the murder case, but must not cross clearly drawn lines or someone else could be investigating his homicide. In some ways the deep look at people during the heart of Stalinism is graphic and the use of the strong investigation as a support tool to enhance how fearing Russians were makes this great thriller somewhat more a historical with a powerful whodunit investigation enabling readers to feel the stressful stench of the Stalin smog.

Harriet Klausner.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After reading the first several chapters I found myself referring to our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog as "Comrade Dog," and entering into self-criticism for not giving him the attention that he deserves for being a Hero of the Great Household in which we both reside. Such is the dialog of the Militiaman detective in 1936 Stalinist USSR (not, the once and future bourgeois Russia, mind you). Even a joke about the regime is enough to get you shot (or if you're unlucky, sent to the Zone) and all of the dialog is carefully set so that any utterance can be justified by a reference to Stalin or the Central Committee. (Think of Sherlock Holmes in an Orwellian 1984.)

If you're at all a history buff, as am I, you'll be confused and enlightened by references to the 'Polish War' -- not the 1939 invasion into Poland by both the Nazis and the Bolsheviks, but the 1919-1921 war between the Soviets (Russian and part of Ukraine) and the Poles (and another part of Ukraine). The good and bad guys in that conflict weren't quite as clear as they were in 1939. The flashback to a Polish officer swinging a saber at the detective is not unlike the post-tramautic stress soldiers have returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Different time and place; same kind of trauma to color your perspective.

It is rich in characters and groups. My favorite is the order of the Thieves who have their own rules and seem to thrive unchanged (or at least survive) from Tsarist Russia to the era of Stalinist USSR--not to mention tattoos to die for -- those Thieves really know how to ink! Ironically, the Thieves were tolerated more by Beria's secret police than were political dissidents -- including those who had repeated a joke that hinted at criticism of Comrade Stalin.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Holy Thief: A Novel (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels)
This item: The Holy Thief: A Novel (Captain Alexei Korolev Novels)
Price: $24.99 $19.21
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com