Child 44

Child 44

by Tom Rob Smith
Child 44

Child 44

by Tom Rob Smith

Paperback

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Overview

In a country ruled by fear, no one is innocent.

Stalin's Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law. But when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State's obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer-and a country where "crime" doesn't exist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446572767
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 12/13/2011
Series: The Child 44 Trilogy , #1
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 347,770
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

About The Author
International #1 bestselling author Tom Rob Smith graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 and lives in London. His novels in the Child 44 trilogy were New York Times bestsellers and international publishing sensations. Among its many honors, Child 44 won the ITW 2009 Thriller Award for Best First Novel, The Strand Magazine 2008 Critics Award for Best First Novel, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Hometown:

London, England

Date of Birth:

February 19, 1979

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

St. John's College, Cambridge, 2001

Read an Excerpt

His only ambition was a general one: to serve his country, a country that had defeated fascism, a country that provided free education and health care, that trumpeted the rights of workers around the world, that paid his father -- a munitions worker on an assembly line -- a salary comparable to that of a fully qualified doctor. Although his own employment in the State Security force was frequently unpleasant he understood its necessity, the necessity of guarding their revolution from enemies both foreign and domestic, from those who sought to undermine it and those determined to see it fail. To this end Leo would lay down his life. To this end he'd lay down the lives of others.

What People are Saying About This

Nelson DeMille

This is a truly remarkable debut novel. CHILD 44 is a rare blend of great insight, excellent writing, and a refreshingly original story. Favorable comparisons to Gorky Park are inevitable, but CHILD 44 is in a class of its own.

Scott Turow

CHILD 44 is a remarkable debut novel-inventive, edgy, and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last.

Robert Towne

Achingly suspenseful, full of feeling and of the twists and turns that one expects from le Carré at his best, CHILD 44 is a tale as fierce as any Russian wolf. It grabs you by the throat and never lets you go.

Lee Child

An amazing debut—rich, different, fully-formed, mature...and thrilling.

Raymond Khoury

"CHILD 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of postwar Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale."--(Raymond Khoury, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Templar and Sanctuary)

Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion
1. Leo's character evolves over the course of the book. What do you see as the most significant catalyst for change?

2. What propels Leo to go forward in his quest for the murderer: fear, compassion, or a sense of justice?

3. The relationship between Vasili and Leo is contentious from the beginning. Does Vasili feel pure hate, contempt, or jealousy for Leo? Why?

4. When Raisa reveals the truth of their marriage to Leo, were you surprised at his reaction? Would you have made similar choices under the circumstances? When does personal conviction trump duty and loyalty?

5. Who do you think was ultimately responsible for incriminating Raisa. What would it be like to live in a society in which everyone is under suspicion of crimes against the state?

6. Does the book's portrayal of life in a totalitarian state remind you of any other books?

7. In 1953, the year of Stalin's death, there were 2,468,524 prisoners in the Gulag system. Do you think that legacy affects Russian culture today?

8. Which character's duplicity or innocence did you find most surprising, and why?

Further Reading
Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
I Want to Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalinist Russia by Nina Lugovskaya
The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
A Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine by Robert Conquest
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Montefiore
Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times -- Soviet Russia in the 1930s by Sheila Fitzpatrick

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