“Leo Demidov is no longer a member of Moscow’s secret police. But when his wife, Raisa, and daughters Zoya and Elena are invited on a “Peace Tour” to New York City, he is immediately suspicious.
Forbidden to travel with his family and trapped on the other side of the world, Leo watches helplessly as events in New York unfold and those closest to his heart are pulled into a web of political conspiracy and betrayal-one that will end in tragedy.
In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands only one thing: to investigate the killer who destroyed his family. His request is summarily denied. Crippled by grief and haunted by the need to find out exactly what happened on that night in New York, Leo takes matters into his own hands. It is a quest that will span decades, and take Leo around the world — from Moscow, to the mountains of Soviet-controlled Afghanistan, to the backstreets of New York — in pursuit of the one man who knows the truth: Agent 6.“ (tomrobsmith.com)
Sometimes you read a book series that starts off with a bang and continues along in the same fashion. Then there are other times when you read a series that starts off ok and gets better the further you go along. THEN. Then there are those series that blow your mind to begin with and by the end of them you wish you’d stopped at the first one. Unfortunately that’s what happened with me in reading Agent 6 – the final instalment of the ‘Leo Demidov Trilogy’.
I didn’t hate Agent 6. In many ways I think it was a fitting end to the trilogy, particularly in terms of seeing how Leo ends up in later years as the Russians moved into Afghanistan, and seeing how his family life has evolved since the end of the second book in the trilogy, The Secret Speech.
The let down for me was the lack of suspense and the thrill I felt when I was reading Child 44. As the first book in the trilogy, Child 44 was, put simply, brilliant. For readers of crime thrillers I think it had just about everything, and from a personal point of view, it promised so much for the next two books. Because of this, I truly wish that Child 44 and Leo Demidov had been left as a standalone book, because nothing else involving that character was ever going to live up to expectations – regardless of how well written it is.
With Agent 6 I felt that perhaps a little too much was crammed into one book – I think dragging the story out over a period of around twenty years meant that there was a sense of urgency lost. The titular character of the book appears reasonably early on, but is then all but forgotten until the last few chapters. While the blurb promised a “quest…span[ning] decades”, for the most part it felt like the events in the book had very little to do with the quest. When Agent 6 and the truth were finally uncovered, it felt a little anticlimactic because so much had happened in between that kind of made me forget what the point of the book was.
If you’ve only read Child 44, you can easily get away with stopping there, and imagining whatever you want for Leo and the rest of his life. But if you’ve read The Secret Speech then you need to read Agent 6 as well, if only to find out the eventual fate of Leo Demidov and his family, and in historical terms it was interesting to read about the Russian occupation of Afghanistan as I’ve only read a little bit about it, and nothing from a Russian perspective.
For me, the book is not what I had hoped for, and neither was the trilogy for that matter. While us readers don’t always get what we want, there is usually some semblance of satisfaction to be gained from finishing a series. In this instance, I’ll simply remember how good the first installment was, and leave it at that.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – As above. If you’ve read the first two books then you should definitely take the time to finish the series. While it may not have gone the way I was expecting, it wasn’t a bad read.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – I was a bit sick of everyone in this book, especially Leo. Which is a real shame for me as after reading Child 44 I’d fallen head over heels for him. I think as the series went along, he lost something.
FAVOURITE QUOTE – “Advertisements aside, Leo found the subway the one place where life in Moscow and life in New York were not so dissimilar. Commuting served as a great leveller of men.”