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The Secret City: A Novel in Three Parts Paperback – February 14, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Set at the time of the Russian revolution (for clarity, the second one, not the first) I spent the entire 446 pages waiting for something, anything, to grab me as either a plot, or a central thread, or even a connection really as to what this book was about.
Divided into three sections, the book follows many lives intertwined by different arrivals in Petrograd, Russia, and a family already living there. There is vague mention of a 'monster sighting' beneath a frozen river....there is political intrigue...there is a love story...and there is the revolution. But sadly, none of these themes ever emerges victorious over the others in captivating a reader's interest, at least this reader, and by the end of the tale you are left wondering what you just read.
There are far better portraits of revolutionary Russia, pre-, during, and post-, written by native authors. I highly recommend their works over this one, as it never fully hit the mark, and having recently read my first Tolstoy, I was far more convinced of the landscape painted by him than I was by Walpole's.
Other novels by the same author sound intriguing, but this is, in my humble opinion, not one to get very excited about. His writing style is good, his characters are realistic, but his story overall left me quite flat, as I was never quite able to determine what it really was.