Eye of the Red Tsar, Paperback

Eye of the Red Tsar Paperback

Part of the Inspector Pekkala series

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


It is the time of the Great Terror. Inspector Pekkala - known as the Emerald Eye - was the most famous detective in all Russia.

He was the favourite of the Tsar. Now he is the prisoner of the men he once hunted. Like millions of others, he has been sent to the gulags in Siberia and, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, he is as good as dead.

But a reprieve comes when he is summoned by Stalin himself to investigate a crime.

His mission - to uncover the men who really killed the Tsar and his family, and to locate the Tsar's treasure.

The reward for success will be his freedom and the chance to re-unite with a woman he would have married if the Revolution had not torn them apart.

The price of failure - death. Set against the backdrop of the paranoid and brutal country that Russia became under the rule of Stalin, "Eye of the Red Tsar" introduces a compelling new figure to readers of crime fiction.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780571245345



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Subjects in crime fiction seem to come in waves these days. Russian history seems to be one of those waves, either that or there's some weird synergy going on in my life. EYE OF THE RED TSAR is one of the Russian themed books I've been lucky enough to receive recently. Set against Russia under the rule of Stalin and all the brutality and ruthlessness that regime imposed, this is a book about the life of Pekkala. A favourite of the Tsar, Pekkala was known to be utterly loyal to his master. Unexpectedly reprieved he is accompanied by the very new Commissar Kirov on his mission. A bitter sweet assignment for Pekkala. On the one hand, possible success and freedom; on the other, the sadness and despair he feels as he traces the last days of the family he knew, and in particular the Tsar he admired. The fate of the Romanov's, told from the aspect of the Tsar and the entire family, rather than the more common Anastasia speculation is related as a series of current day events interspersed with flashbacks. So much of what Pekkala sees, hears and touches reminds him of the past. It's a very elaborate, textured way of telling a tale, slowly and intricately, weaving Pekkala's past life, his own background, the current investigation, the Tsar's family, Kirov and Pekkala's estranged brother. Because Pekkala is narrating this tale the constantly outward looking perspective does mean that you feel like you understand the life that has shaped this man, but you may come away from the book not quite sure who the man has become. As this is the first book in a proposed series, that seems somehow fair enough, one would hope that in the future the character himself will step out from behind the events and into the light a little more. Having said that, this is a gloriously Russian feeling novel. There is a sense of history, of sadness, a little hope, a lot of reflection, glory found, and more than a little glory lost. There is also, given that this is an alternate history, a timeline at the end which explains what really happened to the Romanov's. For which I, for one, was very grateful. There is such a sense of reality to EYE OF THE RED TSAR that it was very easy to get more than a little confused about facts versus fiction.

Review by

With a great use of flashbacks and the attention for details of Holmes or Maigret, Pekkala will let you wonder what happens next until the last page. Well researched with an abundance of historic details giving it at times the color of a faded photograph album of Rafael Sergeevich Levitsky, the investigation on the death of the Romanovs advances as if reminisced in impressionist touches by Pekkala. None of the secondary characters will leave the reader indifferent, each are Chekovian in their subtle descriptions of common folks, from a photographer gone mad to an ex-White police Chief now serving the Stalinist regime. The book provides a balanced depiction of much troubled times. 5 stars and waiting for the next installment.

Review by

The book is set around the Romanov Tsar family and a fictional account ofwhat happened to them before and immediately after their demise. Inspector Pekkala was a man selected by the Tsar for his excellent memory and keen eye for detail. No one in the country is able to escape his scrutiny, not even his employer. I won't go into the plot as I feel that this will ruin much of the novels suspense. All I will say is that Pekkala is almost like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond.The book flew along nicely with nice short chapters that alternated between Pakkala's past and present which interlinked with each other that allows the reader to uncover different aspects of the plot as his investigation progresses. There are quite a number of twists and turns (and a few plot holes) with a rather unexpected ending.At the back of the book the author provides a detailed account of established facts regarding the real death of the Tsar.The reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that I felt that the whole novel hinges on the fact that Pekkala is feared by all walks of life for deeds completed whilst in the Tsars employment, but there is very little evidence of this placed in front of the reader.If anyone is interested Sam Eastland is a pseudonym used by Paul Watkins.

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