Moscow, 1936, and Stalin's Great Terror is just beginning. In a church, a woman is found dead, her body on display. Captain Alexei Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia is assigned, but the NKVD is watching and exile is a real possibility. Committed to the case, Korolev enters the realm of the Thieves, rulers of Moscow's underworld. But as more bodies are found, Korolev begins to question whom he can trust and who are the real criminals.
With Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him the truth.
Praise for The Holy Thief
“Without a doubt, The Holy Thief is one of the best historical mysteries I’ve read in the last ten years.”
“One of the year’s most exciting [debuts] . . . While the search for Russian icons will bring to mind Martin Cruz Smith’s brilliant Gorky Park, Ryan puts a fresh, original spin on the briskly paced The Holy Thief.”
—Oline H. Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel
“Ryan, who merits comparison to Tom Rob Smith, makes palpable the perpetual state of fear. . . . Readers will hope Korolev has a long career ahead of him.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)