Under a Blood Red Sky by Kate Furnivall

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Word PressI’m afraid that I wasn’t impressed with this.  The best thing about it was the title … and that was nicked from U2!  In the Soviet Union in the 1930s, two women, Sofia and Anna, are amongst the prisoners at a Siberian gulag.  Anna is seriously ill with TB, so Sofia decides that she’s going to escape from the gulag and find Anna’s childhood sweetheart Vasily, who will then rescue Anna, whereupon they will all live happily ever after.  As you do.  So Sofia escapes from the gulag, avoids being recaptured, treks across Siberia alone with no food and nothing but the clothes on her back, without encountering any major problems, and finds Vasily living in a small village under an assumed name.  Also living there is Mikhail, the man who shot dead Anna’s father and saw Vasily shoot dead a communist officer immediately afterwards.  Because obviously two men who’d been involved in the same shooting incident St Petersburg would both have ended up living in the same small remote village. Sofia gets Mikhail confused with Vasily. And gets involved with him.

In the middle of all this, there’s some weird stuff involving pentangles and mysticism.  What on earth have pentagles got to do with the Stalinist Soviet Union?!  Maybe the author had been reading The Da Vinci Code.  And there are some jewels hidden in a church.  And none of the local or regional officials seem bothered about Sofia’s lack of ID papers.

Then Sofia and Mikhail take off in a small aircraft, which is handily lying around, and go off to the gulag and rescue Anna, because it’s all just that easy, and she makes a miraculous recovery from TB, marries Vasily and presumably lives happily ever after.

What a load of utter tripe!!  OK, some of it’s quite entertaining, but it’s just utter rubbish.  There is no way all this could have happened!   How can anyone write such drivel and present it as a serious historical novel?  Not impressed.  Don’t bother reading this: there are much better books to read.

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