The Secret Speech (The Child 44 Trilogy)
Tom Rob Smith
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Tom Rob Smith-the author whose debut, Child 44, has been called "brilliant" (Chicago Tribune), "remarkable" (Newsweek) and "sensational" (Entertainment Weekly)-returns with an intense, suspenseful new novel: a story where the sins of the past threaten to destroy the present, where families must overcome unimaginable obstacles to save their loved ones, and where hope for a better tomorrow is found in the most unlikely of circumstances . . .
THE SECRET SPEECH
Soviet Union, 1956. Stalin is dead, and a violent regime is beginning to fracture-leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. A secret speech composed by Stalin's successor Khrushchev is distributed to the entire nation. Its message: Stalin was a tyrant. Its promise: The Soviet Union will change.
Facing his own personal turmoil, former state security officer Leo Demidov is also struggling to change. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the death of their parents. They are not alone. Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa, and their family are in grave danger from someone consumed by the dark legacy of Leo's past career. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.
From the streets of Moscow in the throes of political upheaval, to the Siberian gulags, and to the center of the Hungarian uprising in Budapest, THE SECRET SPEECH is a breathtaking, epic novel that confirms Tom Rob Smith as one of the most exciting new authors writing today.
the crossroads before glancing up at the hotel’s top-floor window. In the last window along, on the corner, a red candle was burning, the quaint signal that she’d devised. In this context it meant she was to come upstairs. Moving around to the back of the hotel, entering through the deserted kitchens, she climbed to the top floor, walking to the room at the far end of the corridor. She knocked. A guard opened the door, gun drawn. There was a second guard behind him. She stepped into the suite,
to do. Tell me what kind of person you want me to be. —Let go. —No, Zoya, please, you have to understand how important this is. —Let go. —Zoya… Her voice became higher, strained—desperate: —Let go! Stunned, he pulled back. She was whining like a wounded animal. How had this gone so wrong? In disbelief he watched as she recoiled from his affection. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. He was trying to express his love for her. She was throwing it back in his face. Zoya was ruining this,
profusely. With the negotiations concluded, Raisa shut the office door, exhaustion sweeping over her. Much would now depend upon Leo. Walking to Zoya, she crouched down: —We’re going home. —Not my home. No gratitude, just disdain. Close to tears, Raisa couldn’t manage any words. Leaving the school building, Raisa stopped at the gates. Had they been betrayed so quickly? Two uniformed officers walked toward her: —Raisa Demidova? The eldest of the officers continued: —We’ve been sent by
too. They unlocked the main door, lifting up the thick timber beam. Anisya sensed Maxim hesitate, no doubt afraid, the danger of his predicament finally sinking in. Lazar shook his hand. Over her husband’s shoulder, Maxim looked at her. Once Lazar was done, Maxim stepped toward her. She gave him a hug and watched him set off into the night. Lazar closed the door, locking it behind him, reiterating the plan: —We wait ten minutes. Alone with her husband, she stood near the front of the church.
words that had been spoken aloud in Congress, transcribed and printed and bound, distributed to the farthest reaches of their country: —How is it that a person confesses to crimes that he has not committed? Only in one way: the application of torture, bringing him to a state of unconsciousness, deprivation of his judgment, taking away his human dignity… The man beside Lazar put an arm around him. The prisoner beside him did the same, and soon every prisoner was linked together, arm across