CHRIS RICKABY & BARNEY THOMPSON, aka BEN CREED chat to Paul Burke about A TRAITOR'S HEART their new historical thriller featuring post WWII Leningrad and detective Revol Rossel.
A TRAITOR'S HEART Winter, 1952: Leningrad's icy streets are haunted by a murderer. The name is whispered everywhere – Koshchei has returned, the people say, Koshchei the Immortal. Koshchei, named after a sinister figure from Slavic folklore, is an invisible killer who cuts out the tongue of his victims and replaces it with a scroll of paper containing a few lines of what seems to be Italian verse.
Three thousand kilometres away in a labour colony above the Arctic Circle, threatened by the Thieves who rule the camp, former militia lieutenant Revol Rossel is close to death. As helicopter blades whip the snow into hallucinatory flurries, Rossel watches the arrival of a saviour he hates: Major Nikitin, the man who once cut off the former virtuoso violinist's fingers.
Along with skilled aviator Tanya 'Vassya' Vasilievna, the two men must hunt Koshchei down. On the trail, they uncover more riddles, including one centred on the ruins of Hitler's bunker, the Fuhrer's own copy of a Renaissance manual for tyrants, and secret code hidden within that leads to a weapon of unimaginable power. A weapon coveted by the scheming plotters of Stalin's Kremlin.
What Rossel and Nikitin do not know is that the mystery and the murderer are inextricably linked. And to save themselves they must not only catch Koshchei but also uncover the identity of another ghost – a ghost hiding among the remnants of Hitler's once all-powerful Third Reich.
CHRIS RICKABY worked in advertising for 20 years. He has written and produced various TV programmes for ITV and 5 and created a cross platform novel called Shuffle. Chris is from Newcastle.
BARNEY THOMPSON harboured ambitions of becoming a conductor and studied under the legendary conducting professor Ilya Musin at the St Petersburg Conservatory, before diverting to a career in journalism. He has worked at The Times and the Financial Times, and is now editor and writer at the UN Refugee Agency.
KOLYMA TALES Varlam Shalamov
KOLYMSKY HEIGHTS Lionel Davidson
THE NORTHUMBRIANS Dan Jackson
THE BERNIE GUNTHER SERIES Philip Kerr
Produced by Junkyard Dog
Music courtesy of Southgate and Leigh
Paul Burke writes for Crime Time, Crime Fiction Lover and the European Literature Network.