The Emerald Eye is a man known simply as Pekkala. Private investigator to Czar Nicholas, Pekkala gains a reputation among those in the know in Russia, which proves dangerous when the Czar and his family are killed in the Bolshevik Revolution, and Pekkala himself becomes simply Prisoner 4745-P. After years in prison, he is summoned by Josef Stalin to solve a decades-old mystery — who actually killed the Romanovs, and are there any survivors?
This book starts a bit slowly, but if you stick with it you will be rewarded. By the middle of the book, I couldn’t put it down at all, and I finished the last hundred pages faster than I finished the first fifty. The story is suspenseful, and the characters are memorable, even for someone who doesn’t have Pekkala’s famous memory! If you don’t know much about pre-Soviet Russia, you will learn a lot from this book without even really realizing it.
Parts of the plot were somewhat obvious, especially if you remember Chekov’s Gun, but this is an outstanding introduction to what I hope will become a long-running series.