Book Talk
The Secret Speech
Reviewed by- linda (2009/07/26, 07:17 PM)
As in Smith's debut novel "Child 44" this sequel is fast paced with a very intricate plot; at times the gripping action is so continuous it's almost non stop. Although "Child 44" lays the ground work and provides important historical facts and information about the characters, "The Secret Speech" can be read on its own. It's interesting to note that the historical basis for "The Secret Speech" is a presentation by Nikita Khrushchev given to congress on February 25, 1956 condemning the policies of Stalin and the people who enforced these policies. It is referred to as Secret because it was never officially made public until 1989 although, consensus has it that it was deliberately leaked. During this period the moral, political and legal rules of society are shifting and the consequences grave. Smith does an amazing job of making the tragedy and brutality of these turbulent times personal. However, the novel is overwhelming at times with some of the sub plots not having any real significance to the overall read; you wonder why they are necessary. The main characters are a carry over from his previous novel, but a few new to the reader are shallow and not believable (or likable). Large portions of the book are exaggerated, unnecessary back to back action scenes; you feel as if the author is writing a movie script and not a book. Overall, although The Secret Speech deals with a noteworthy fascinating time in Russian history it is not as engrossing as its predecessor Child 44. A little too much unnecessary action;a few too many incredulous characters and scenes.Back.

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