Author: Graham Hurley
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: 8th July 2021
On Sunday 22nd June 1941 at 03.05, three-and-a-half million Axis troops burst into the Soviet Union along a 1,800-mile front to launch Operation Barbarossa. The southern thrust of the attack was aimed at the Caucuses and the oil fields beyond. Kyiv was the biggest city to stand in their way.
Within six weeks, the city was under siege. Surrounded by Panzers, bombed and shelled day and night, Soviet Commissar Nikita Krushchev was amongst the senior Soviet officials co-ordinating the defence. Amid his cadre of trusted personnel is British defector Bella Menzies, once with MI5, now with the NKVD, the Soviet secret police.
With the fall of the city inevitable, the Soviets plan a bloody war of terror that will extort a higher toll on the city’s inhabitants than the invaders. As the noose tightens, Bella finds herself trapped, hunted by both the Russians and the Germans.
As the local saying has it: life is dangerous – no one survives it.
I’ve read quite a lot of WWII based books but never about this particular subject. I found it incredibly fascinating. Kyiv throws the reader straight into an intense, harrowing and complex situation where everyone is suspicious and has an agenda. I found Bella’s story particularly intriguing – she is an enigmatic character which makes her so interesting to follow as she finds herself trapped in a city under siege. Kyiv is a sharply written, well paced and gripping espionage thriller that encompasses the brutality of the war and immerses its reader in the confusion and terror of not knowing who to trust. Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction!
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.