Books: Archangel

By Robert Harris

"The dead weight of the past lay across him like a toppled statue," a dejected cop reflects blearily, well short of the end of Robert Harris' new thriller. He could be speaking for Russia. Our cop is bone tired, trying to track the lurching progress of Fluke Kelso, an academic who has dug up the diary of Stalin's last days. The failing dictator got a woman pregnant, the papers suggest, and she may have returned to Archangel, her home in the north. Kelso and a TV reporter head up there, followed by the cop, followed by military thugs. What they find,...

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