MLA Gold Award Site

BookBrowse Reviews The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith

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

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Tom Robb Smith's thrilling sequel to Child 44

The historical context for The Secret Speech is a presentation by Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev of a paper entitled The Personality Cult and its Consequences, delivered to the 20th Party Congress on February 24-25, 1956. The speech condemned Stalin, his policies and the people who carried them out. It was called "The Secret Speech," because it was delivered behind closed doors and, in theory, no one outside the room was to know of its contents (although it was widely – and probably deliberately – leaked to the public). Smith's novel focuses on the wide-ranging consequences of the speech.

Like its predecessor Child 44, The Secret Speech is top-notch historical fiction showcasing Smith's excellent grasp of 1950s Soviet politics. He is particularly good at illustrating the complexities that pervaded the era; there is no black and white, decisions and...

The Vory-v-zakone

Leo Demidov's prime antagonist throughout The Secret Speech is the leader of a Russian criminal gang known as the vory.

The vory, or more officially the vory-v-zakone, is a criminal organization that arose in the gulags during the Stalin years. Over time this group has morphed into a powerful international organization referred to as the Russian Mafia. (The 2007 movie Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen, concerns a modern-day vory cell in London.)

Vory-v-zakone translates as "Thieves in Law" – i.e., thieves who follow a code. The organization of the 1930s to mid-1950s was based on a system of discipline, tradition and rank which originated in the Soviet labor camps in the 1920s. Any activity that suggested that the state had power over the vory was forbidden.  All proceeds had to be gained by theft and members were ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today


Member Login


Library Patrons

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday
    by Susan Rivers

    A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Conclave
    Conclave
    by Robert Harris
    Although best known for his fact-based historical thrillers, in Conclave, best-selling author Robert...
  • Book Jacket: Conclave
    Conclave
    by Robert Harris
    Although best known for his fact-based historical thrillers, in Conclave, best-selling author Robert...
  • Book Jacket: A Question of Mercy
    A Question of Mercy
    by Elizabeth Cox
    Authors leave little gifts for readers, which seem to turn up at the exact right moment. Perhaps a ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

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.