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The Secret Speech
Sequel to Child 44

by Tom Rob Smith
Read by Dennis Boutsikaris


The prologue to this story takes place in Stalinist Russia.  Leo Demidov, whom we met in Child 44, has been assigned to spy on a priest of hte Russian Orthodox Church, named Lazar.   Leo poses as a young monk, Maxim, studying under Lazar.  He even tries to seduce Lazar's wife, pleading with her to leave her husband and go into seclusion with him. With Stalin cracking down on religion, it will only be a matter of time before Lazar is arrested, leaving his wife vulnerable.  She refuses to denounce Lazar, and both are sent to the gulags in Siberia.

Seven years later, Leo has left his job of spying on innocent Russian citizens.  Now, he heads the Soviet Union's only homicide division.  Though the idea hadn't been well received, Leo has solved the murders of fifty-three children.  Now, he solves murders full time, quietly covering them up, so the "perfect society" won’t have to admit that its "happy" citizens were so miserable they killed each other.  Then, those who served Stalin's murderous MGB receive a copy of the secret speech Khrushchev gave denouncing Stalin's government as murdering thugs. And those named therein begin to die.

This is another Tom Rob Smith masterpiece.  As in his first novel, Child 44, the suspense mounts with each event, and death is just a breath away. The characters are fully human.   They laugh, cry, hurt, heal, love, hate, make mistakes, and grow wiser, sometimes painfully.  The settings are historically accurate, as is the political climate of the time.  The ending is not a totally happy one, and there is plenty of room for several more stories about Leo and Raisa Demidov and their two adopted daughters, Zoya and Yelena.

Reviews of other titles in this Trilogy

Child 44 [audio] [book]
Secret Speech [audio] [book]
Agent 6 [audio] [review]

The Book

Hachette Audio
May 19, 2009
Unabridged Audio book / 10 CDs
Suspense Thriller
More at
NOTE: Contains violence, profanity

The Reviewer

Jo Rogers
Reviewed 2009
© 2009