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Shadow of the Wolf Paperback – 2 February 2010
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- Publisher : Picador USA (2 February 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 329 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312429282
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312429287
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.91 x 21.59 cm
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The author, Brent Ghelfi, does an excellent job of juggling (like Volk) several sub-plots and then successfully tying everything together by the end of the novel. He manages to keep the tension ratcheted up to a fever pitch with the action coming at the appropriate intervals so that the reader never has time to be bored. The bad guys are every bit as colorful and wicked as the ones in the last novel--Filip Lachek, the man who seeks revenge against Volk for killing his son and plans to slowly torture him to death, Abreg, the Chechen terrorist, who's the only man alive that Volk has ever been scared of, and Constantine, the mysterious person of power behind the Russian leaders, who has the power to destroy Volk with a simple snap of his fingers.
Fast paced and utterly suspenseful, Volk's Shadow carries us to the next level with a closer look at Alexei Volkovoy and his dark, violent past, the Russian Mafia, the politicians who will stop at nothing to gain power over a struggling country and its vital resources, and the terrorists who seek revenge against those who tortured and killed their wives and children so many years ago. Volk's Shadow isn't for everyone. It's filled with violence and torture and betrayal, yet the story also shows the kindness and hope that can prevail in even the worst of us. With just two books to his name, Brent Ghelfi is quickly establishing himself as the author to go to, if you're a reader who desires something different from the normal brand of fiction and that's more in your face with its gritty realism. Highly recommended!
"Volk's Shadow" is Ghelfi's second novel, and Volk's second adventure. This time around, when an America oil company's Moscow office is allegedly blown up by Chechen terrorists, Volk finds himself in the center of the inferno, emerging from the fracas lightly charred and heavily annoyed. Marginally estranged girlfriend Valya, the gun-toting Valkyrie demon of a woman - and possibly the only person on the planet more deadly than Volk - is back in her native Chechnya mopping up some loose ends from the first novel. Meanwhile, the surreal and mystical General who pulls Volk's strings from his tomb-like office in the bowels of the Kremlin like a scene out of a Kafka novel is sending Volk on a quest for one of the priceless Faberge eggs. The egg, which turned up after years of unknown whereabouts, disappears in transit leaving only the couriers' savagely butchered bodies behind. And if all that is not enough, a twelve-year old girl has gone missing, feared to be in the clutches of a sadistic child murderer, a DVD of Russian war atrocities is rumored to be on the loose, and Volk's old nemesis, the shadowy Chechen rebel Abreg, is making more mischief. Volk moves jumps more cliffhangers than Indiana Jones and totes more hardware than the average infantry platoon - but it's just another day in the trenches for this deeply unconventional Russian undercover agent-of-sorts.
Sound convoluted? You bet it is, but entertainingly so - as long as you don't mind some blood - lots of blood - depravity, and unthinkable violence with your, um, "entertainment." But Ghelfi, an undisputed master of action, is a talented and intelligent author. Ghelfi's Russia is one of nightmarish cityscapes of broken bottles and bloody syringes and wet fast food wrappers. He colors his mayhem and ambiguous issues with a rich atmosphere of "stale cigarettes, mold, and men too long between showers". In other words, this isn't "Mamma Mia". But if you're looking for some escapist pop fiction, want some cynical insight to modern Russia and the Chechnya conflict, and tire of the bland and predictable boredom of most best selling "thrillers", give Ghelfi a try. But fair warning: you may want to start on an empty stomach.