A spellbinding tale of murder and dark intrigue…
A remarkable blend of harmony and discord, Kalns’s latest novel is packed with revelations about the fervent nationalism, the unrelenting pull of danger, and human drama. Autumn, 1986. In the wake of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of more open consultative government and wider dissemination of information, the Soviet Union is struggling to maintain control. Several separatist groups are on the rise, clamoring for independence. It’s been five years since his wife died, and Gustav Ziediņš, the Director at a renowned language academy, is content mingling with the local Latvian community in Toronto, but keeps himself away from the politics. When a leading activist dies under mysterious circumstances, Gustav finds himself drawn in a world of an underground resistance network. His involvement takes him to the occupied capital of Riga. But what he uncovers is sinister beyond belief. High tension fraught with shocking twists marks the narrative, which moves from Toronto, Canada to the bleak streets of Eastern Europe across a whole ocean. Although Kalns writes of cynical detectives, beguiling Soviet defectors, cunning agents, separation movements, political conspiracies, murder, and deception, the story’s main focus stays on the intense relationships among people trying to make sense of a world engulfed in chaos. Gustavs’s relationship with Tatyana and his extended family and friends, especially, are at the center of the book. Set in Toronto, Canada and Rīga, Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, and spread across several years, this is in all ways a substantial novel, a nonstop thrill ride brimming with conspiracies, murder, political intrigue, and human drama as wall as philosophic insight.