Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith.. A Review

"First, let me make clear, I'm a different person now..."
Leo Demidov

From the Publisher..."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."

What Did I Think? The Secret Speech was gripping, intense and a heck of a good read! I've read so many WWII books lately that I naturally gravitated to the story behind The Secret Speech- a war torn country with characters that were trying to survive the travails of war. But this war was not your typical war- this war was within the boundaries of the brutal Soviet regime- a war within itself. Secret Police, KGB, Gulags, murder, the flawed nature of men, and ultimately the unfaltering love of a mother, are what make up The Secret Speech. And I couldn't turn those pages fast enough to follow Former Secret Police Officer Leo Demidov on his journey to redemption (or so he thinks so...). Driven by his need for acceptance and the love of his family, Leo goes to amazing death defying lengths to save his family. But the revenge and hatred of one woman stands in his way... A woman Leo had taken everything from when he was part of the Secret Police...

The book opens in Moscow 1949 and the demolition of a 300 year old church. The "State" wanted it demolished. What reason? Really to show the "State's" authority, but under the false statement that the site was going to become one of the largest indoor swimming pools in the world to promote the health of "our children". We meet Lazar, a priest, who didn't look as happy as he should have and was "questioned" while he was watching the events unfold in front of him. The questions were innocent enough - on the surface, but he knew his life was in danger. Taking "the long way" he made his way home trying to throw off the scent. At home is his wife Anisya and Maxim, a 24-year-old recent graduate of Moscow's Theological Academy Seminary. What happens then will crush Anisya, change Lazar's life forever, and show what Leo Demidov is capable of as part of the Secret Police. These "4" people are the key to the personal struggles that make up the story in The Secret Speech.

The book then shifts 7 years later, with the delivery of "The Secret Speech" to the people of Moscow. The speech denounced the savage methods Stalin had used against his people in order to control the populace. And this put the burden of Stalin's policies & actions on men who carried them out- Leo Demidov, now married and the father of two girls, being one of them. The fear of retribution among Leo and the men he worked with ran high, but someone was also murdering off the guilty parties... *BTW, "The Speech" is in fact a true piece of history that Tom Rob Smith uses at the backdrop for this story. It was a speech delivered by Khrushchev, the Premier of The Soviet Union.

Tom Rob Smith's writing is great. The story flows effortlessly. It is a thriller based on Russian history, with characters that are well developed and memorable. Tom Rob Smith is able to translate the internal conflict these characters feel inside to the page, and I began to wonder myself if I would make the same choices under the same circumstances. Leo Demidov is such an interesting character that I hated at first, but then saw other sides to him that peaked my interest. He's flawed, but struggles with his own personal morals in the flawed society he's living in. Leo is also a character in Tom Rob Smith's first book, Child 44, and he returns in the next book, A New World, due to be published Feb. 2011.

There is so much material here for a great reading group discussion! What lengths would you go to protect your family? Can a person redeem himself after so much deception? How can you make a choice between your spouse and child? Here is the Reading Group Guide for The Secret Speech. Here is the official website for book. Listen to an Excerpt. Listen to a Podcast with Tom Rob Smith! And enjoy reading a Q & A with the author too!

*I want to Thank Valerie of Hachette Book Group for sending along a copy of The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith to review! Thanks Valerie, it really grabbed my attention!


Helen's Book Blog said...

Thank you for entering me! I am a follower.

This book sounds really intriguing!

Menagerie Soaps said...

I would love to enter! And I am new blog follower.

lisa.2713 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

This sounds like quite a story - I've never read anything set in the era of Russian history. Thanks for the giveaway.

I follow through Google Reader.

Jennifer said...

I have been wanting to read this book, please enter me. Thanks!

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Jennifer said...

I am indeed a long time follower.

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

D Swizzle said...

im a follower!

Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

This sounds like a fascinating book!

artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

I'm a follower!

artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

Heidi V said...

Sounds like this book really was an interesting read for you, I love a good thriller...Thanks for the chance!

heidivargas [at] live dot com

Anonymous said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Melissa said...

Please enter me.

I'm a follower


Janna said...

Please enter me. I'm a follower of your blog.

janna_voss (at) yahoo (dot) com

Michele said...

Please enter me.

Michele said...

I follow your blog.

bashtree said...

This one sounds so interesting! I'm at makeway4ducklings @ gmail

bashtree said...

I'm a follower via RSS.

Nikki in Niagara said...

Please enter me and I am a follower!

nicolama at cogeco dot ca

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Cindy W. said...

I would love to win this book. Thank you for the opportunity.

Cindy W.


Cindy W. said...

I'm a follower.

Cindy W.


Linda Kish said...

I'd love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Oh yeah, this one looks awesome. I'd love to be entered to win this one.

I am an old follower on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

baileythebookworm said...

I'd love a chance to read this book! Sign me up :)

Sandra K321 said...

Hi, I would love to read this. Thanks.

Sandra K321 said...

I follow your blog.

Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. I love books with developed characters and lots of intrigue, so please enter me in the drawing. I'm now a follower and I tweeted this, but heck if I know how to come up with a link to a specific tweet. My email address is: mermaidhel(at)gmail(dot)com.

Straight From Hel

Dawn M. said...

This sounds like a great story. Would love the chance to read it. Count me in, please! :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your review and would love to read The Secret Speech :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Tweeted the giveaway

Ashley said...

Enter me please :)

hewella1 at gmail dot com

Suzanne Yester said...

Thanks Everyone for Entering the Giveaway! The Giveaway has ended, the winners were announced and now I've now edited the post just to highlight the review!

Liza said...

My Name is Shikha From Mumbai Providing Services of Female escorts services mumbai
Independent mumbai escorts
mumbai escort
mumbai escorts
escorts mumbai
mumbai escorts services
mumbai Independent Escorts
Escorts in mumbai
Model Escorts in mumbai
mumbai call girls

Unknown said...

Sonia Pandit Independent Delhi Escorts
Delhi Escorts Sonia
Independent Delhi Escorts Sonia
Delhi Escorts Sonia Pandit
Independent Escorts in Delhi Sonia
Delhi Escorts Services by Sonia Pandit
Independent Delhi Escorts Sonia Pandit
Delhi Independent Escorts
Delhi Escorts Agency

Chiggy Wiggy said...

They’re additionally trained and groomed to sense you the first-class pride with their help at each time you need. What are conditions to be maintained to take those offerings? There are sure situations which are mandatory in taking these services. :- Call Girls in Goa are:

Chiggy Wiggy said...

Privateers approximately the personal details have to be maintained in both clients and escorts give :- Call Girls in Goa. nobody will pressure at the same time as inside the booking period without the other ones will.

Chiggy Wiggy said...

At any factor of the booking period, the contract may be cancelled, rejected or changed because of diverse reasons by each the events. The above phrases and conditions added with a few greater which may be acknowledged while the settlement is made must be maintained by using both the :- Call Girls in Mumbai and the clients.

Chiggy Wiggy said...

So it's miles the time to revel in your existence completely without any hesitation and experiencing the first-rate of seduction with the seams, behaviours, acts and pleasant but appealing voices. :- Call Girls in Juhu us to recognise your desires and serve you consequently.

Chiggy Wiggy said...

Vip :- Call Girls in Vashi provide rare and incredible in addition to professional escorts services that make a super appearance with valuable moments and a romantic evening on the price of double pleasure. Vashi fashions have a completely unique identity in fashion & splendor and a excellent carrier that is first-rate amongst other escorts company.

Chiggy Wiggy said...

independent :- Call Girls in Mumbai has a expert approach in the direction of date with someone to entertain what they do in addition to various types will maintain thrilled a numerous customers.

Chiggy Wiggy said...

Gurgaon pinnacle girls are exceptionally knowledgeable, mature, self-confident and open-minded alongside professional, dedication and high-magnificence with accurate sensual style sensual and eager to proportion an experience with :- Call Girls in Gurgaon.

Babydona said...

We have VIP and super model kind of call girls for our customers. Goa escort organization call girls are genuine Indian excellence and we move you that you will never discover such excellent call girls in India. We have underhanded teenagers, full grown close relatives, autonomous call girls, genuine house spouses for our customers. Babydona - Call Girls in Goa

Babydona - Goa Escorts Girls said...

we can without much of a stretch discover your match to finish your spiritualist goals. We can without much of a stretch control the longings of each honorable men. Our Goa Escorts Serviceneed one and only thing from you they require a confidence and adoration. Babydona

FSB Media Book Blogger Directory
my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
First To Read
Reviews Published
Professional Reader
Challenge Participant