Excerpt from The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Secret Speech

by Tom Rob Smith

The Secret Speech
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2009, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2010, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The five domes did not fall, aloof from the petty chaos of the world below. While the church remained standing, scores in the crowd were bleeding, wounded, weeping. As surely as if the sky had clouded over, Lazar sensed the mood change. Doubts surfaced. Had some unearthly power intervened and stopped this crime? Spectators began to leave, a few slowly, then others joined them, more and more, hurrying away. No one wanted to watch anymore. Lazar struggled to suppress a laugh. The crowd had broken apart while the church had survived! He turned to the married couple, hoping to share this moment with them.

The man standing directly behind Lazar was so close they were almost touching. Lazar hadn’t heard him approach. He was smiling but his eyes were cold. He didn’t wear a uniform or show his identity card. However, there was no question that he was State Security, a secret police officer, an agent of the MGB — a deduction possible not through what was present in his appearance but what was absent. To the right and left there were injured people. Yet this man had no interest in them. He’d been planted in the crowd to monitor people’s reactions. And Lazar had failed: he’d been sad when he should’ve been happy and happy when he should’ve been sad.

The man spoke through a thin smile, his dead eyes never moving from Lazar:

—A small setback, an accident, easily fixed. You should stay: perhaps it will still happen today, the demolition. You want to stay, don’t you? You want to see the church fall? It will be quite spectacular.

—Yes.

A careful answer and also the truth, he did want to stay, but no, he didn’t want the church to fall and he certainly wouldn’t say so. The man continued:

—This site is going to become one of the largest indoor swimming pools in the world. So our children can be healthy. It is a good thing, our children being healthy. What is your name?

The most ordinary of questions and yet the most terrifying:

—My name is Lazar.

—What is your occupation?

No longer masquerading as casual conversation, it was now an open interrogation. Subjugation or persecution, being pragmatic or principled — Lazar had to choose. And he did have a choice, unlike many of his brethren who were instantly recognizable. He didn’t have to admit that he was a priest. Vladimir Lvov, former chief procurator of the Holy Synod, had argued that priests need not set themselves apart by their dress and that they may throw off their cassocks, cut their hair, and be changed into ordinary mortals. Lazar agreed. With his trim beard and unremarkable appearance, he could lie to this agent. He could disown his vocation and hope that the lie would protect him. He worked in a shoe factory or he crafted tables — anything but the truth.

The agent was waiting.

Excerpted from The Secret Speech by Tom Robb Smith. Copyright © 2009 by Tom Robb Smith. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!