Synopses & Reviews
The explosive debut introducing Russian gangster Alexei Volkovoy—not since Robert Ludlums Jason Bourne has a hero shifted so effortlessly between hunter and hunted
A firefight reverberates through Moscows dark, rain-soaked streets; shattered glass and screams echo in the air. In the lawless ways of Russias capital city, the gunmen melt away into the night. Two men are dead, the targets not what they seem.
A shadowy figure lopes along the riverbank outside the Kremlin walls. Known to all as Volk, a battle-hardened veteran of Russias brutal war in Chechnya, he prowls Moscows grim alleyways, a knife concealed in his prosthetic foot at all times.
As both a major player in the black market and a covert agent for the Russian military, Volk serves two masters: Maxim, a psychotic Azeri mafia kingpin with hordes of loyal informers; and a man known only as the General, to whom Volk is mysteriously indebted. By his side is Valya, an exotic beauty charged with protecting her lover from his unsavory associates. Valya is the most dangerous weapon in Volks arsenal.
Together they are commissioned to steal a long-lost da Vinci painting called Leda and the Swan from St. Petersburgs Hermitage Museum. Ledas ethereal radiance is undeniably captivating and incalculably dangerous. Volk must choose which powerful man he will betray in order to escape with the painting—and with his life.
With the high-octane rush and vivid intensity of a feature film, Volks Game delivers at every turn, announcing Alexei Volkovoy as the boldest hero of a new generation.
"'Former attorney Ghelfi's impressive debut introduces a compelling antihero, Alekei 'Volk' Volkovoy. A brutal killer maimed in Russia's war against Chechnya, Volk leads two lives one as a powerful gangster with a hand in virtually all underworld rackets, the other as a covert military operative. When Volk gets the chance to steal a previously unknown Da Vinci painting, Leda and the Swan, which has been concealed beneath another painting in a St. Petersburg museum, Volk enlists the aid of Valya, a beautiful assassin, in plotting the theft. After an ostensible ally sabotages the operation, Volk seeks vengeance. The twists and turns accumulate at an almost dizzying pace, building to a satisfactory resolution. Frederick Forysth fans will appreciate the crisp writing. This thriller could mark the start of a successful long-running series. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Brent Ghelfi writes like Dostoevsky's hooligan great-grandson on speed. Highly recommended."--Lee Child
"State of the art . . . Its characters are colorful, its descriptions of Russia are vivid, and its suspense is palpable. In terms of sheer entertainment, Volk's Game is an impressive debut."--The Washington Post
"Moving at breakneck speed through Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Manhattan, leaving a slippery trail of body parts and exploded vehicles, Ghelfi handles the conventions of his genre like a pro."--Newsday
"The Russia described in Volk's Game is a sad, hopeless place, corruption and poverty are everywhere, no one can be trusted, everyone is capable of betrayal. Volk is a complex character . . . Ghelfi is adept at describing the places and the ambience of the 'new' Russia."--Mystery News
"Thrillmaster Ghelfi's deft and controlled writing viscerally describes the snarling Russian underworld. This blazing tale opens a new series, so expect Volk to join Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko in the top ranks of hyperbolic heroes."--Library Journal (starred review)
"A gritty view of post-Soviet Russia . . . I hope this is just the first of many excursions through Russia guided by Volk."--The Roanoke Times
The explosive debut introducing Russian gangster Alexei Volkovoy delivers at every turn, announcing Volk as the boldest hero of a new generation.
Alexei Volkovoy--known to the underworld as Volk--is a hardened veteran of the conflict in Chechnya, a gun-for-hire now living in a lawless Russia, serving two corrupt masters: one is Maxim, a psychotic Azeri mafia kingpin, the other a mystery man known only as "The General." When Volk and his lover, a wild-eyed, white-haired young Russian named Valya, are hired by both men to steal the same lost painting from the Hermitage Museum, Volk must choose which to betray, and what that betrayal will cost him. His decision will lead this honest thief into the dark heart of the new Russian oligarchy, where only cash and violence can open doors.
About the Author
Brent Ghelfi has served as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals, been a partner in a Phoenix-headquartered law firm, and now owns and operates several businesses. He has traveled extensively throughout Russia, and lives in Phoenix with his wife, a former prosecutor, and their two sons. Volk's Shadow is due out in July 2008, and Brent is currently working on the third book in the series.