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The Metronome (The Counterpoint Trilogy) (Volume 1) Paperback – April 22, 2015
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As Book One of a trilogy, The Metronome's subtitle warns that this will be no light fling and that events will likely be expanded by further books in the series. That said, expect a novel of international intrigue that stands well on its own while providing a prequel to the already-published The Great Game.
That the 'old country' (Russia) permeates much of The Metronome is evident from its first paragraph, which sets an atmosphere of intrigue: "I hate when phone rings in the middle of the night. It must have come from the old country, where a knock in the dark often meant that a black car is waiting downstairs and someone will disappear." Pavel's father was a detective, so Pavel is used to family secrets, even though he's now far from his Russian homeland. But the death of his father brings him back to Russia; there to uncover a mystery that will follow him, in turn, back to the U.S.
The Metronome's theme of memories that spring up is just one facet of Pavel's experience that brings readers along for what turns out to be a wild ride of international intrigue, family secrets, and mystery. Don't expect a simple or easily-defined novel, here: The Metronome is a link between Russia and the West, between long-hidden family secrets and a son's new life in his new country, and between a detective's investigation into a murder and its ties to the past and to the future. The book's twists and turns are multifaceted and delicately woven and will delight readers who eschew the usual shallow leisure read for something richer and steeped in other cultures. In this, The Metronome shines, analyzing Pavel's life and the final decision that will set him free, once and for all.
D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
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1) Throughout the book, major grammatical errors such as shifting verb tense and faulty subject-verb agreement, also "the" before virtually every noun, as in "walked down the Fifth Street", went to " the Central Park." It read like a faulty translation some of the time.
2) Overkill with the pages and pages of thesis revealing the conspiracy and with the conspirators' lengthy explanations!
The pace of the book was excellent until this point, but then stalled as the author seemed to lose control of the advancement of the plot in order to pound his point home. This literary heavy handedness is worrisome and ultimately insulting to the intelligent reader. We get it; let it go!
3) And the overkill extends to the ending. This was a poor choice, not solely because most of us like happy endings, but because we like ones that are a satisfying and logical conclusion to the story as a whole. The flimsy justification given was ridiculous.
My rating went down from five stars during the first three quarters of the book to four near the end to a final three. Did another person take over the writing or did the author lose control of his own writing?
Pavel Rostin was a promising physicist in Russia that married a young American woman. He came to the United States after a time, and eventually gave up being a physicist in order to participate in a risky financial venture. He wound up losing his home and his marriage, estranged from his father and living alone in New York City. His wife and children were in California, and he was trying to pull his life back together when he received a phone call telling him that his father was dead. Flying to Russia, he discovered that there was a mystery surrounding his father's death. There was also a diary of his father's experience in World War II, discovering an adopted brother he never knew he had, and an international financial conspiracy.
This is the first book in The Counterpoint Trilogy, but it's very much a standalone book. There are so many details about Pavel's life in New York, the visits to Russia and California as he retraced his father's final steps as an investigator, and explanations about the politics and finances in Russia and the United States after World War II. There is even an afterward detailing the research that went into the novel, with sources and links to further explore the information that made up the plot.
It's fascinating, something I never thought I would say about finances!
The relationships in the book are convoluted and detailed, and the flashbacks scattered throughout the novel really fleshes out and explains the nuances in their reactions to each other. These are flawed people caught up in a much larger puzzle, and the relationships change as more information is revealed.
The end of the book is a shocking surprise, but after everything else I discovered over the course of the book, it really wasn't a surprise once I thought about it. It's a great read and really got me thinking.
This story takes place in 2006. The protagonist, Pavel Vladimirovich, has family ties in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is also a quant on Wall Street and a victim of the financial system.
Pavel seeks truth and is sensitive, yet he's got himself in a situation. This is something we can all relate to, one way or another. The reader learns about current events in a way is accessible on intellectual and emotional levels. For example, the way that most Russians feel as a result of their experiences over the past 15 or so years.
This drama, historical fiction I believe, presents a nuanced view of the Colder War and the seeds of WWIII. This war seems to be starting now, at least that's how I felt while reading the book.
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