3 out of 4 stars
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Marina Peters is a successful career woman working as an accountant for the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. We find her at the beginning of the story waiting to receive a man she has never met. Marina and Nikolai Aldanov had interacted on a dating website. He is expected to arrive aboard one of the three Russian frigates that will be refueling at Portsmouth. Nikolai had informed her that he was a navy lieutenant at the Russian Navy Port of Sevastopol. What Marina did not know is that there was a lot she was yet to discover. Her relationship with Nikolai was the first step into the dark web of international spying.
The Russian Lieutenant was authored by Peter Marshall. It is part crime, part thriller, and part mystery. The book contains only 129 pages and hence can be read in a single sitting. The author served as an officer in the Royal Navy in Portsmouth. Therefore, his elaborate description of the setting of the story was not only accurate but also mesmerizing. His early career as a journalist also enhanced the journalism aspect of the story. The addition of life experiences and practical mastery in writing undoubtedly gives this fascinating story some tenability.
Twists and turns were one of the most outstanding characteristics of this book. In as much as it was possible to foresee some events, some developments came unannounced. There were moments when these twists and turns affected the reader only, and some where other characters were puzzled by the unexpected turn of events as well. The other unique feature is how the book typically reveals the underworld of international espionage. No player wants to be left behind. There is no end to the spying web. When one thinks everything has been brought to light, one more secret is revealed. These and many features leave the reader turning from one page to another to discover more.
The characters were adequately developed. The compelling character-driven plot was also excellently built, and the main conflict was settled unexpectedly. However, some knots seem to have been left untied. I will be unable to explain this well without giving away some spoilers. For instance, the reader is left questioning why Victor Peters, Marina’s father, was reluctant in answering some questions. The other question that lingers long after reading the book is also the reason for the ultimate demise of Marina. The thing that I did not like in the book was where the definition and work of the directorate of the general staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were given. The explanation occupied a single paragraph, but I felt it was out of place.
In summary, this was a fascinating book. The language adopted was simple, and editing was professionally done. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars due to the concerns above. Some of the issues raised as shortcomings of the book may be due to personal preferences, and in this way will not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. I earnestly recommend the book to fans of crime, thriller, and mystery books.
The Russian Lieutenant
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