On February 25, 1956, Nikita Khrushchev delivered a speech to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The speech, which was formally titled “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences,” criticized Josef Stalin, his prosecution of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), his multiple purges of the armed forces and party leadership, and other politically driven crimes against the Soviet people.
Tom Rob Smith uses Khrushchev’s speech as his point of departure in The Secret Speech, the second volume in his Child 44 trilogy. The question it ponders is this: When the State becomes criminal, can criminals exact justice? As always, Leo Demidov is at the center of the action, traveling from Moscow to Kolyma to Budapest to uncover the truth and protect himself and his family in the process. As with Smith’s other volumes in this series, the pacing is swift and the plot twists are sharp.
Highly recommended, but read the books in order of the series!
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