Released on 04 March 2011.

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The Holy Thief

3.69 based on 1590 ratings & 222 reviews on Goodreads.com

2011 Long-listed

Waverton Good Read Award

2011 Short-listed

Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award

2010 Short-listed

CWA New Blood Dagger

Synopsis

Moscow, 1936 and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated Church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see.

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD - the most feared organisation in Russia - becomes involved.

As more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevails, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life . . .

In the media

A first-rate crime novel: a genuinely memorable detective, powerful story and a seamlessly convincing setting. William Ryan is the real thing.
A.L. Kennedy
Impressive debut... The Great Terror's atmosphere of fear and paranoia is well portrayed, and Korolev is an appealing hero
The Times
A first novel written with all the narrative assurance of someone who'd been perfecting his art for years. A thriller set amid the paranoia of 1930s Moscow, it was persuasive in all its local and historical details, told its tense story with style and aplomb and had an engagingly troubled hero
Irish Independent