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The Secret Speech (Leo Demidov 2) - Tom Rob Smith

The Secret Speech (Leo Demidov 2) - Tom Rob Smith

Title: The Secret Speech

Author:  Tom Rob Smith

ISBN:  9781847371287

Weight:  939 g

Signed first edition, first printing



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Our price:  £17.99

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith


Stalin is dead.  With his passing, a violent regime is beginning to fracture – leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent.  The catalyst comes when a secret manifesto composed by Stalin’s successor Khrushchev is distributed to the entire nation.  Its message: Stalin was a tyrant and a murderer.  Its promise: The Soviet Union will transform.  But there are forces at work that are unable to forgive or forget Stalin’s tyranny so easily, that demand revenge of the most appalling nature.

Meanwhile, former MGB officer Leo Demidov is facing his own turmoil.  The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his involvement in the murder of their parents.  They are not alone.  Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa and their family are in grave danger from someone with a grudge against Leo.  Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.

From the streets of Moscow in the throes of political upheaval, to the wintry Siberian gulags and to Budapest, where a revolution will destroy as many innocent lives as the regime it is attempting to end, The Secret Speech is another stunning thriller from the author of the Booker-longlisted Child 44.

Peer & Press Reviews

As a study of betrayal at every level, The Secret Speech is masterly.  It brilliantly portrays a society stripped of every element of love, trust and respect; compassion is a weakness to be exploited and denunciation is accepted with resignation…  Smith’s vision of the past skilfully enables the reader to imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever, and the fact that the boot is worn by the victim’s children opens up a fresh hell unimagined by Orwell.

Sunday Telegraph

As in Child 44, Smith’s plotting is elaborate, and his pacing is relentless.  His characters are wonderfully drawn, and the near-nonstop action is utterly gripping.  Again, as in the earlier book, however, the author’s greatest success is in personalizing the stunning tragedy and brutality of life for many millions of Russians.  The Secret Speech is a harrowing novel, but everyone who loved Child 44 will leap to read it.


Smith’s ability to summon the paranoia and tumult of the post-Stalin period in all its dingy glory is truly astounding, as is his detailed knowledge of both the Soviet-era bureaucracy and its underworld.  His characters, from the relentless Leo, to the petty criminals who populate the underworld, to a lonely guard aboard a frozen prison ship, are perfectly formed.  His depiction of dismal Soviet society feels uncannily real, and his taut plot barrels onward like a loaded prisoner train headed for the Gulag.  Finally, Leo is a fantastic creation: relentless, decent and wonderfully complicated.

Kirkus Reviews

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title The Secret Speech
Book Features
Edition / printing First edition, first printing
Series Leo Demidov – book 2
Overall condition Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed On the title page
Book Stats
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Printed by CPI Mackays, Chatham
ISBN 13 9781847371287
ISBN 10 1847371280
Format Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages 449
Size (h x w x d) 241 x 161 x 36mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph Jerry Bauer
Jacket design Emma Ewbank / S&S Art Dept
Jacket photographs Front: Getty Images (barbed wire) / Millennium Images (landscape) / Arcangel Images (man)
Back: Getty Images
Flap: Getty Images

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