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Victory Square Hardcover – Aug 21 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (Aug. 21 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312369719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369712
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Edgar-finalist Steinhauer's fine fifth and final entry in his series set in an unnamed Eastern European Communist country (after 2006's Liberation Movements), homicide inspector Emil Brod, now chief of police and three days from retirement, reluctantly investigates the death of Lt. Gen. Yuri Kolev. Though Kolev apparently died of a heart attack, the coroner finds deadly levels of cocaine and heroin in his blood, and a flier in Kolev's car suggests he may have been murdered by members of an underground prodemocracy group. Soon Brod uncovers a wide-ranging plot involving old friends and enemies, all of whom are frantic to take advantage of the situation when their fellow citizens, inspired by the recent fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of governments in neighboring countries, rise up to overthrow their Communist leaders. Employing an intricate story, characters both sympathetic and despicable as well as a remarkable sense of place, Steinhauer subtly illuminates an unforgettable historical moment. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the fifth and final installment of Steinhauer's masterful Eastern European series, the story is once again told by Emil Brod. In The Bridge of Sighs (2003), it was 1948 and he was an inexperienced 22-year-old inspector in the People's Militia; now, in 1989, he's a tired 64 and its chief. Like Brod, his unnamed country has grown old. And over the course of six days, as Brod's final case leads him back to his first, the government will fall—and the fight for the future may be over before it's begun. If previous books upped the narrative ante, depicting the trials of crime solving in an iron curtain country, this one goes all in: Brod must find out why his own name is on a hit list while dodging riots, road closures, and sniper fire. This is remarkable storytelling, exploring the life cycle of a state through the eyes of political idealists, government informants, and good cops like Brod who just want to solve crimes. Steinhauer also offers a convincing portrait of the psychological shock that accompanies the downfall of even a hated dictator. Totalitarianism may have been intolerable, but as we see today in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, uncertain times can make citizens nostalgic for known evils. Graff, Keir

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By ladyblues on Sept. 19 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't yet discovered this gem of a series, I can't recommend them enough. Start with his first book The Bridge of Sighs.(2003)
It's the history of a nation through the eyes of its police and spies.

Victory Square is the fifth in this brilliant series set in Eastern Europe just after the Second World War...It marks the end to Olen Steinhauer's grim but fascinating police procedurals set in an unnamed Soviet-bloc nation very much like Romania.

As the Soviet Union falls apart, and the rest of Eastern Europe with it, homicide detective Emil Brod is just focused on his upcoming retirement. As his last case progresses, though, he and his coworkers are forced to navigate the politics of the new revolution. Brod in particular finds out that a new government won't stop the past from haunting the entire country. This is a juicy maze of a story, with interesting characters, and gives a thought-provoking look at not only Soviet-bloc Communism, but also the Wild West democracy that replaced it.
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Format: Hardcover
Steinhauer's entire series set in an unnamed Eastern European Communist country has been a fantastic journey. Each has been set in a successive decade commencing in the 1940's and ending with the fall of Communism in this last entry. I am going to miss Sev, Brod, Kolyeszar, Noukas, and the other engaging characters who were woven into an intricate tapestry of crime, espionage, personal conflict, and ideological confusion. This specific book has great pace and mirrors the downfall of Nicolae Ceau'escu's Romania. The author's notes at the back regarding his research add great credibility to this fictional version of events. The plot seeks to tie loose ends from the previous works and this adds to the overall intrigue. Truly a wonderful series that I look forward to re-reading again in the coming years. It has also sparked my interest in reading some non-fiction on Ceau'escu's Romania.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Great Concluding Chapter to the Saga Jan. 28 2009
By Jeffrey Utter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I hesitated before purchasing this, due to several disappointing reviews. I couldn't diagree with them more. This books wraps it all up in a very moving, evocative way. I was able to place myself in Steinhauer's Iron Curtain country as the wheels came off in the late '80s. The author conveys the sense of disorientation that must have been common to entire generations of people who had lived through those decades.

My only quibble is that the point of view seems to shift from time to time without warning; sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. It's a little strange to switch from 1st person to 3rd and back again so abruptly. I don't know if this was always intentional, or just a lack of thorough editing.

In any case, I found this to be a thoroughly compelling conclusion to a masterful, unique series. Bravo!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Solid Thriller; 3.5 Stars Aug. 1 2010
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The conclusion of a series of mystery novels set in a fictional Eastern European country. The fictional nation, whose name we never learn, is a synthesis of several central European states. Steinhauer has used a police procedural type approach to explore the history of these states under Communist rule. These books have been generally solid with a cast of recurring characters. This final book is set during the period of collapse of Communist rule. Events in the book are modeled closely on the collapse of the Romanian dictatorship. Steinhauer's plot involves many of the characters of his prior books and reaches back and forth to construct a plot involving events in the prior books. The quality of writing and characterization is solid. The plot is a bit far-fetched but this is probably the best book in this series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Behind the Iron Curtain Aug. 24 2009
By Claire Mooers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazon introduced me to Olen Steinhauer - the idea of police procedurals set in Eastern Europe was intriguing. Beginning with "The Bridge of Sighs" thru all 5 books and ending with "Victory Square", you follow the same characters as their careers progress and their experience widens. Excellent way to be reminded of the history we have lived thru in a part of the world most of have little familiarity with. As with Russian novels, I made NO attempt to try to pronounce any of the names !!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An Important Series based on Historical Fact July 14 2010
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For those of us who lived through the 'Cold War' and spent our childhood being taught to hide under desks and to 'duck and cover', these books are like a memoir of the other side of the coin. We now know how while America was enjoying the growth of the most consumer-friendly society the world has ever known, those behind the "Iron Curtain" were suffering the continuation of WW Two. All of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations, spent so much on the military and their internal security services, that little was left for the 'proletarian worker'.

When I was in Prague and West Berlin in 1968, what struck me most, was to 'darkness and drabness' on the other side of the curtain. You could look into East Berlin and see buildings that still had bullet holes in them and how the streets were covered with a grey dust. The people all had a look in their eyes that was a mixture of fear and hunger. East Berlin looked like a post-apocalyptic city, but the apocalypse was communism. In Prague the people told me they listened to the BBC and watched American and British TV shows that were broadcast in West Germany. They couldn't believe the way people in the West lived. They were especially amazed when they watched Western documentaries that cited the plight of the poor in the West. Even the poor seemed to have cars, food, housing, running water and heat. Now granted that urban housing was run down, but to those in the East, the 'poor' lived pretty well, compared to the average mid-level communist bureaucrat.

Steinhauer has done a magnificent job in documenting the life behind the Iron Curtain in its' day to day drabness and that's what makes this series of five books so important. Those of the new Post-Cold War generation, find the whole situation we lived through for forty years to be unbelievable. When I talk to my daughter's college friends, they are baffled by the stories I tell them of having been in Spain under Franco and Yugoslavia under Tito. They think of totalitarianism as nazis and fascists or some African despot, they find it incredible the lengths that the East Germans went to, to win medals at the Olympics and that one in five people worked for the Stasi (the East German secret police). When I read to them from Solzhnitsyn, they say they feel like I'm reading from an alternate universe.

This is the real importance of Steinhauer's five books, they make the implausible real and readable.

Zeb Kantrowitz
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Transcends the genre Jan. 29 2011
By Domestic Gnome - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great series. Have exhausted all of the superlatives in my previous reviews. An extraordinary achievement that captures perfectly life in Eastern Europe. Steinhauer takes his cast of cops and secret police and spies and citizens, dreamers, revolutionaries, and artists and carries them forward from 1947 to 1990, providing the reader with the full sweep of the Cold War. What begins as a simple police procedural becomes a brilliant portrait of an entire nation. In past reviews I have mentioned Koestler, Dostoevsky, Greene, le Carré, Mankell, Nesbo, et al. Each novel in the series leans toward one or more of these authors - some are more introspective; others, more political.

The books move slowly, deliberately, but elegantly, capturing the setting, the characters, the language, the atmosphere and sustaining these throughout the whole of the series. It has been fascinating to see and feel how Steinhauer creates, builds, and maintains tension despite the slow pace.

Overall, I highly recommend these novels (along with his more recent, "The Tourist"). Stay with them, savor them, enjoy them. Bravo, Steinhauer.


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