The Secret Speech

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Former state security officer Leo Demidov is struggling to change as the Soviet Union changes around him. The two young girls he adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the death of their parents, and they are not alone; now that the truth is out, Leo and his family are in grave danger from someone consumed by the dark legacy of Leo's past.

Tom Rob Smith - the author whose debut, Child 44, has been called "brilliant" (Chicago Tribune), "remarkable" (Newsweek) and "sensational" (Entertainment Weekly) - returns with an intense, suspenseful new novel: a story where the sins of the past threaten to destroy the present, where families must overcome unimaginable obstacles to save their loved ones, and where hope for a better tomorrow is found in the most unlikely of circumstances . . . 

The Secret Speech

Soviet Union, 1956. Stalin is dead, and a violent regime is beginning to fracture - leaving behind a society where the police are the criminals, and the criminals are innocent. A secret speech composed by Stalin's successor Khrushchev is distributed to the entire nation. Its message: Stalin was a tyrant. Its promise: The Soviet Union will change. 

Facing his own personal turmoil, former state security officer Leo Demidov is also struggling to change. The two young girls he and his wife Raisa adopted have yet to forgive him for his part in the death of their parents. They are not alone. Now that the truth is out, Leo, Raisa, and their family are in grave danger from someone consumed by the dark legacy of Leo's past career. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance.

From the streets of Moscow in the throes of political upheaval, to the Siberian gulags, and to the center of the Hungarian uprising in Budapest, The Secret Speech is a breathtaking, epic novel that confirms Tom Rob Smith as one of the most exciting new authors writing today.



My review:


This novel was a lot more politically motivated then the previous one and serves a good sense of the internal conflict the citizens felt under Stalin's reign. The plot and events of this novel lead to the 1956 uprising in Hungary 3 years after Stalin’s death.

“The system required the consent of everyone, even if they consented by doing nothing.” 
― Tom Rob Smith

Leo Demidov is now leading his own homicide department and lives with his wife Raisa and two adopted girls Zoya and Elena whom they try to parent the best they can. They have their issues as a blended family and Zoya, the older one of the two girls, is actually plotting to kill Leo to avenge the death of her birth parents.

In the meantime, Khrushchev’s (Stalin’s successor) secret speech has leaked and is spreading like wildfire, exposing henchmen of the former regime. Forward comes Fraera from Leo’s past trying to hunt him down and using old and new secrets against him and his wife. The action takes the reader from Gulag transport ships to Budapest into the middle of the uprising where Stalin’s stature is taken down and destroyed. Fraera is playing them all and using Zoya’s hatred to tear the family apart. Can Leo save his family?

“I had no choice" with those words thousands died, not with bullets but with perverse logic and careful reasoning.” 

― Tom Rob Smith

This book was action packed with adequate timing in my opinion. This would make a great movie. It never went over the top but kept me interested as the plot went on evenly spaced the entire time. I enjoyed the thriller combo with the historical elements and descriptions. It never got dull and seldom did I anticipate what would happen around the corner. Looking forward to the next book in the series.