- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 10 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: July 5, 2007
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000TD16DI
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Volk's Game Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Alexei Volkovoy, "Volk," must balance between to masters; Maxim, a Russia mafia kingpin, and The General, to whom Volk is indebted. They command Volk to steal a painting newly found behind another in the basement of the Hermitage. But the theft quickly goes bad. Men are killed, Volk's lover kidnapped and being tortured. Still Volk must retrieve the painting before they kill his lover.
Ghelfi draws a picture of Russia and Red Square that has changed my way of looking at those areas. Alexei Volkovoy, "Volk," is an interesting protagonist. Ghelfi has also done an excellent job in creating Volk, making him a fully-developed character in spite of brutal nature of the story. Volk may not have many scruples, but he does have them. Volk, and his ladyfriend, Valya, are what life, war and survival have made them. The story is unrelentingly dark and does include torture of women but the characters are not nice, law-abiding people. This is not a pleasant book, but it is a good one and I'm not sorry to have read it.
Volk (meaning "wolf" in Russian) is Alexei Volkovoy, once an orphaned child growing up in Cold War-era Russia, then a special forces sniper for the Russian Army in Chechnya, now a shady underworld figure in Moscow. His game is all manner of vice (except child prostitution, he's got a strict age limit of 14...) as well as some high-level art thievery on behalf of a shadowy master named "The General." It is the latter element which propels the plot, as Volk is directed to procure a long-lost Da Vinci painting from the catacombs of the Hermitage where it has lain hidden alongside other booty from the Red Army's march to Berlin half a century earlier. If this sounds fairly straightforward, it's quickly complicated by Maxim, a ruthless Azeri mafioso who dominates Moscow's organized crime. Maxim also wants the painting, and seems to have and eyes and ears everywhere.
Of course there are tons of twists, turns, and betrayals of all kinds, along with plenty of fisticuffs, gunplay, and other violence. The latter elements are worth noting, as the book gets pretty gruesome in several torture scenes and flashbacks to scenes from Volk's years in Chechnya (where he lost a leg). I'm not a particularly squeamish reader, but some of the interrogation scenes were unpleasantly vivid.Read more ›
And Ghelfi's way with language is hypnotic. Corruption of the soul and human degradation has rarely been so evocatively, even lyrically described. So when reading Volk's Game, you find yourself in the middle of a fast moving page turner, anxious to find out what happens next, but at the same time you want to slow down and linger with each vivid paragraph. It's like stopping for a quick bite at a dingy eatery in the concourse of a faraway airport and discovering a four-star quality meal. To extend the analogy, this novel is a juicy, blood red filet mignon, a carafe of hearty Bordeaux, and a dark (very dark) chocolate soufflé dripping with gooey raspberry sauce. It is so richly rewarding you don't mind taking your time. You can always catch a later flight -- rarely do you get to savor an edifying guilty pleasure like this.
The oomparisons to Forsyth may be valid, but I am more reminded of Andrew Vacchs' "Burke" novels. Same type hero: brutal and merciless when required but basically a decent man, albeit wounded physically and mentally, in a dark world dispensing street justice. Rather like the Punisher in the graphic novels. Ultimately, Volk is a pawn, but a deadly one and one who lives and is willing to die for his personal code of honor.
A couple of minor complaints: would a Russian talk about something being "catty cornered" instead of the Soviet equivalent? And Volk a colonel? For some reason authors love that rank but given Volk's background and age, Captain, if he were an officer at all and not a senior NCO, would have been more appropriate.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to the next one, although I have to say that this initial outing will be hard to beat! I trust it has been optioned for the movies; done properly with the right casting, it could be a box office winner. But don't wait. Read this now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Talk about your suspense/thriller. This author can really lay on a great story. One of the best written books I've read in some time. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michael McLarnon
A decent debut novel. I enjoyed the story but I think some parts of the story are rewrites of things I have read before. Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by Retired bear
"Volk's Game" by Brent Ghelfi has the kind of plot twists that thriller readers will love, but that's where the love stops. Read morePublished on February 15, 2012 by Carrie J. Bylina
For someone who didn't grow up in Russia/USSR, this is yet another trashy "espionage" thriller worth one star on Amazon scale. Read morePublished on April 24, 2011 by Clarissa's Blog
Lots of action and violence for those who want this sort of escape. Volk is certainly a new sort of amoral thug, being that he's running wild in modern Moscow. Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by Keith Nichols
Complex and memorable characters mixed with a detailed, adrenaline filled plot containing several layers of intrigue. Read morePublished on December 26, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Volk's Game is a fast paced thriller with an abundance of violence that would seem gratuitous were it not for the carefully drawn characters Brent Ghelfi created to drive the... Read morePublished on September 2, 2010 by TChris
Book was as advertised-new, for a bargain price. Shipment was prompt and packaging was excellent. Volk's Game was an exciting read with a somewhat disappointing ending because... Read morePublished on June 5, 2010 by Blokeman
This is a standard impossible thriller, which is allowable, since that is the definition of thriller. Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by Mary Essary