Synopses & Reviews
A cultured city scarred by war.
An eastern émigré with scars and secrets of her own.
A young woman who claims to be a Russian grand duchess.
A brazen killer, as vicious as he is clever.
A detective driven by decency and the desire for justice.
A political movement growing in power...
Deeply atmospheric, peopled with rich, complex characters, City of Shadows is an enthralling novel of historical suspense set in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s a decadent, turbulent time in which a proud nation scarred by defeat, deprivation, and debauchery will become the fertile breeding ground for the rise of National Socialism.
Berlin, 1922 one of this troubled city's growing number of refugees, Esther Solomonova survives by working as secretary to her fellow Russian émigré, "Prince" Nick, a scheming adventurer and cabaret owner. Always on the prowl for a deal, Nick smells money when he hears of a woman in an asylum claiming to be a grand duchess, daughter of the Czar of all the Russias, who escaped the assassination of the rest of her family by the Bolsheviks. Enlisting a highly suspicious Esther, Nick plans to prepare the woman known as Anna Anderson to claim the Romanov fortune.
But Anna is being hunted. Or so she claims. At first Esther believes Anna's fear to be just in her imagination until innocent people around them begin to die. So in a Berlin stricken by hyperinflation, Esther enlists the help of a German police officer a dogged inspector named Schmidt to try and find out who wants Anna dead and why. Yet the deeper she and Schmidt dig, the more they realize that their own lives are at risk.
"British author Franklin (the pseudonym of a veteran historical fiction writer) makes the most of an original premise in this engrossing thriller that opens in 1922 Berlin. The German government is in crisis, inflation is staggering, anti-Semitism is rife, citizens are starving and Hitler has begun his rise to power. Horribly scarred Esther Solonomova works as a secretary for fake Russian nobleman Prince Nick, the owner of several Berlin nightclubs (think Cabaret) catering to the rich, the foreign and the deviant. Nick finds an inmate in a local asylum who claims to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia's royal family. Prince Nick renames the inmate Anna Anderson, installs her in an apartment with Esther and sets in motion plans to get his hands on the money and jewels that Anna will claim as the heir to the Russian throne. But a mysterious Nazi is trying to murder Anna, and those near her begin to die. Franklin deftly orchestrates her characters on and off the world's stage, building suspense to a dramatic, surprising finish." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The pace effectively mirrors the social and political upheaval that took place in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, turning up the tension in the plot as the Nazis rise to power. Franklin's characterization is strong and believable." Library Journal
"Like Gorky Park
, another story big on romance and location, there is a lot to enjoy in this well-researched, atmospheric novel." The Washington Post
About the Author
Ariana Franklin is a former Fleet Street reporter who lives in Hertfordshire, England.