Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .
My take: 2 looks
Great premise, along the lines of “Sliding Doors”, but at about 100 pages too long, this was a bit of a bore. Traveling with alternating storylines of Alex (New York bound) and Sasha (London bound), the chapters going back and forth are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. However, too much detail is given as the two roads start to veer toward one another. The political career minutia becomes like trying to read through concrete, and had no impactful effect on the ending.
And speaking of the ending … it was one that readers seem to love or hate. I found it predictable, not shocking, and a bit of a parlour trick. I was not impressed, and will be a little hard-pressed to read another by this very prolific author.