Siberian Red / Trembling Fire (Book 3)
It is September 1939. The Second World War has begun.
Even as the fighting rages in Poland, Stalin’s long time obsession with the missing treasure of Tsar Nicholas II continues to haunt him.
After years of searching, Stalin’s dream of recovering the missing gold of the Imperial Reserve seems finally at an end, but then, from an informant in an isolated Gulag, deep in the wastes of Siberia, comes a clue which rekindles Stalin’s obsession.
An informant in the Gulag has offered, in exchange for his freedom, to reveal the location of Colonel Kolchak, the man entrusted by the Tsar with hiding his gold from the Bolsheviks. The informant is a former White Russian officer, part of a group whose soldiers remained loyal to the Tsar until finally overwhelmed during the Revolution. Those who did not escape from Russia were either summarily executed or found themselves prisoners in Borodok, Stalin’s most notorious labor camp. There, they formed a brotherhood known as the Comitati, and earned a reputation as fearsome to the other convicts as it was to the men who guarded them. Even after many years, their old loyalties remain intact, which causes them to be singled out for particularly harsh treatment by the camp authorities. With each passing year, fewer and fewer of the Comitati remain alive.
No sooner does news of the informant’s offer reach Stalin’s ears than he learns that the informant has been knifed to death. Convinced that Kolchak is somehow behind the killing, Stalin summons Pekkala to the Kremlin and orders him to solve the murder. To accomplish his mission, Pekkala must return to Borodok, the same notorious Gulag where he spent many years as a prisoner. There, he must pose as a prisoner, sentenced to 20 years of hard labor, in order to unravel the mystery.
Leaving behind his trusted assistant, Kirov, Pekkala returns to a world of nightmares he remembers all too clearly from his last visit to Borodok. Many of the faces have changed, but the brutality of Gulag life has stayed the same.
Arriving in Siberia, Pekkala soon realizes that he has as much to fear from Stalin as he does from the Comitati. Even if Pekkala does locate the Tsar’s missing treasure; he is unlikely to survive to tell the story.