Book Review: Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland

Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program in exchange for reviewing it on LibraryThing.

Eye of the Red Tsar
Sam Eastland

What if what we know about the Romanov’s death was wrong? What if the government itself didn’t know the truth? Who would they ask? Who could they trust? And if you found the most trusted and most feared adviser to the Tsar back from Siberia, what might he uncover?

The good:

Eastland creates and interesting premise of a top advisor/spy/investigator to the Tsar who, after the Revolution, was exiled to Siberia and is brought back to solve the mystery of what happened when the Romanovs disappeared. Told in a blend of flashbacks and present day, it gives a humanity to the Tsar and his family, a glimpse inside times just prior to the Revolution. 

There’s a decent level of intensity that keeps one going through the book–it was a surprisingly quick read. I got through it in an evening. I was slightly disappointed by the ending, though I could comprehend it. 

The bad:

I had an ARC so I won’t comment on the layout other than there were a lot of errors hopefully corrected before final print.

The history was imaginative. There was enough historically inaccurate that I was unsure how much to actually believe, and would err on the side of fiction rather than fact.

It could easily stand alone as a book, and I was disappointed to see that the author intends for it to be a series. A lot of what I enjoyed were the flashback sequences and I don’t think those would successfully hold up through more books. We’ve explored them, we understand the main character’s angst and what he’s been through. Reliving them over in future books would be less effective.

 Final Thoughts: If you’re up for suspense and willing to set aside the blatant historical inaccuracies, it’s an interesting read.