Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 2 August 2013

Book Beginnings (7) - The Twelfth Department - William Ryan

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays

The idea, as stated on the host's blog, is 'to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.' There's a hash tag #BookBeginnings for twitter etc too, and a master linky list on the host's blog. I've got a couple of books on the go at the moment so I've just picked one out to mention here.

My Book Beginning

The Twelfth Department by William Ryan

Published by Mantle, an imprint of Pan Macmillan

'Patriarch's ponds was one of Korolev's favourite corners of Moscow - a small park with a square shaped lake around which, especially on a hot summer's day like this, white-shirted men and their befrocked womenfolk strolled with slow steps. At the southern end a white colonnaded pavillion stood where, for a reasonable price, a citizen could sip a glass of tea and sit and watch the ducks. '

I'm really excited to be reading this and I can't wait to see what challenges Captain Korolev will face in this latest installment - I loved the first two novels in this series set in 1930s Russia (see below for links to my reviews). I think it's safe to assume that as we meet him again, Korolev will have more on his mind than just sitting and watching the ducks...

Here's the synopsis from goodreads:

Captain Alexei Korolev has nothing to complain about. He has his own room in an apartment, a job in the police force that puts food on the table, and his good health. In Moscow in 1937, that’s a lot more than most people have to be grateful for. But for the first time in a long time, Korolev is about to be truly happy: his son Yuri is coming to visit for an entire week.

Shortly after Yuri’s arrival, however, Korolev receives an urgent call from his boss—it seems an important man has been murdered, and Korolev is the only detective they’re willing to assign to this sensitive case. In fact, Korolev realizes almost immediately that the layers of sensitivity and secrecy surrounding this case far exceed his paygrade. And the consequences of interfering with a case tied to State Security or the NKVD can be severe—you might lose your job, if you’re lucky. Your whole family might die if you’re not. Korolev is suddenly faced with much more than just discovering a murderer’s identity; he must decide how far he’ll go to see justice served . . . and what he’s willing to do to protect his family.

In The Twelfth Department, William Ryan's portrait of a policeman struggling to survive in one of the most volatile and dangerous eras of modern history is mesmerizing.

You can read my reviews of the first two novels featuring Captain Korolev here:


  1. I like this sets up the scene nicely and gives us a context.


  2. I love the descriptive nature of that beginning!

  3. This series sounds like it is right up my alley. I am going to pin this to my Pinterest Books to read board!

    Thanks for sharing this on Book Beginnings on Fridays.

    Rose City Reader

  4. Oooooooo...excellent beginning.

    ENJOY, and thanks for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  5. Quite enticing. I hope you enjoy it start to finish. I will have to give this series a try.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)