“The Kremlin Conspiracy” by Joel Rosenberg hit a home run with me. It was published in 2018, and could be characterized as a political-military thriller. Although the characters have fictional names, it is based on current events and thinly-disguised current political leaders. The plot involves a U.S. ex-Marine, ex-Secret Service agent, and a young Russian lawyer of about the same age as their careers develop. Rosenberg’s creative structure involves alternating between the two careers and showing pivotal events in their respective lives as the two characters are drawn closer together as a result of large political forces as well as the events in their respective lives. Rosenberg did a great job with this one. His knowledge of the Russian political scene and internal operations seems very deep. I believe his expertise is the result of extensive research, and he cites a very impressive list of sources he says were “very generous with their time”. If he made it up, I applaud his imagination. What he wrote was very believable, and I was drawn into his plot by this plausibility, his finely tuned characters, and by his writing style. After the first part of the book, I was hooked and had a very difficult time putting the book down. It was simultaneously thrilling and finely crafted.
Rosenberg had a few minor points I did not quite understand. There were some things that happened to his American character early in the book that did not seem to advance the story. I found them as a bit of a distraction and were not necessary to the development of the plot. They were probably intended as character development, but I found them a little superfluous. Also, some of the minor characters that were involved in a military action at the beginning of the book all seemed to turn up later in the American main character’s life. They all seemed to land in high places that the American main character interacted with throughout the book. I found this a little too coincidental, and frankly not necessary. I thought the plot could have moved forward without them. The American character seemed deeply religious at times in the book, but I didn’t feel the religiousness moved the plot forward or added much to the American character or the decisions he made. None of these criticisms are major, and they did absolutely nothing to get in the way of my enjoyment of this excellent book.
This was the first Joel Rosenberg book I have read. I was not aware of Mr. Rosenberg until I came across it in the new book section of my local library. I was glad I stumbled on it. I will seek out more of Mr. Rosenberg’s work and would recommend it to someone looking for a political-military thriller based on current events.
I also posted this review in Goodreads.