Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone

 

 

Birth of an Assassin

2015 Finalist of birth of an assassin

2015 Finalist

Rik Stone grew up amidst the slum-lands of fifties North East England, and left school at fifteen without academic qualification.He worked in the shipyards on a local river and later went into the merchant navy. Coming ashore, he worked in quarries in South East England.

The time came when he yearned for change and began to study. Beginning with lower level stuff, he worked through to gaining a BSc. degree in mathematics and computing.

Fiction writing was always his want and after an early retirement at fifty years of age, he was able to pursue his dream seriously. To the point, he is now offering up his debut novel, Birth of an Assassin, the first in a series, followed by The Turkish Connection.

Description Birth of an Assassin

The time, post second world war; the backdrop, Soviet Russia; the hero, Jez Kornfeld. We follow the transformation of Jez, from wide-eyed recruit to elite soldier to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, Jez is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

 

Ordered to disperse and arrest a crowd of Jewish demonstrators in Red Square, Jez breaks up the rally but finds his sisters amongst the protesters. He sneaks the girls from under the noses of secret police and hides them in downtown Moscow. But they are no longer safe in Russia, and the rescue has compromised his own security. He has to get them out. Crossing into the Ukraine, he finds a port on the Black Sea and bribes passage from Soviet soil for his sisters, but is unaware that his every move has been observed and that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will plunge his life into a headlong battle to stay alive.

 

A report on his activities is written, but Jez’s commanding officer, Michel Petrichova, has it stored in the Kremlin without further action. A corrupt captain, Otto Mitrokhin, gets hold of the document and, tricking peasant girls into thinking they are headed for a better life, uses his civilian accomplices to setup the route to traffic them into prostitution. One of the young women discovers what is going on and escapes. She reports the abductions to the authorities. Michel suspects Otto’s involvement and gives him the task of investigating, hoping he will make a mistake and incriminate himself.

 

Otto sees through the subterfuge and covertly passes the mission over to Jez. Framed for trafficking and murder, Jez realizes the evidence is stacked against him and that he won’t be able to convince anyone of his innocence. He escapes, decides to get away from the collective, but then the person closest to him is shot down. Eventually, the grief subsides and Jez is overcome by a deadly and unforgiving anger. He’s had the training. He’s had the preparation for every aspect of war. And now he is about to unleash it against a host of powerful and evil enemies.

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Reading pleasure at it’s best…, February 3, 2015
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This review is from: Birth of an Assassin (Kindle Edition)
Most of this book’s reviews tell you about the story and they do it beautifully so I find no need to repeat what everyone else is saying. Instead I’ll explain what the book did for me.
One of my favorite authors is Jeffery Archer, who we all know is an excellent story teller. I liken Rik Stone’s `Birth of an Assassin’ to the quality and story telling ability of Jeffery Archer in respect to it holding my attention from beginning to the end. The tempo had my heart pumping fast as it built and kept building by the page, adding more and more excitement as the story progressed. This continued right up to the end and when I finally put it down, my reader’s brain felt well sated. It is a book I gladly recommend to readers looking for an action packed tale that has the heart racing and the pages turning – it’s definitely one you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story of the birth of a Russian assassin., February 3, 2015
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This review is from: Birth of an Assassin (Kindle Edition)
Good character development, which accounts for the story taking a bit more time to pick up the pace. Some of the language is perhaps more easily understood by a UK audience. The story opens the door for some interesting sequels.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Page Turner, January 29, 2015
on August 16, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This isn’t my first tango with a Rik Stone novel and it probably won’t be my last. His writing is always filled with action and has me glued to the pages with all of the gritty and dark details he includes into his tales.
Birth of an Assassin follows a Jewish soldier who wants to join the Soviet Army. His path is rough and he falls into darkness along the way, but, it makes for a great story that will leave you mesmerized by his character and endurance.
I’ve come to really love the way Stone tells a story. I can picture everything very well in my mind and the story never gets confusing due to poor sentence structure. There is a whole lot details in the mix though, so you have to pay attention or you may miss something that leads to a major component of the story.
A definite for fans of war and action packed novels.
on August 16, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Birth of An Assassin is my second suspense thriller written by Rik Stone. After reading The Turkish Connection I grew to truly appreciate Stone’s writing style, so when I saw another one of his books listed I knew I had to read it. Birth of an Assassin takes place in 1947 Moscow, Russia. Our protagonist is a 15 year old Jewish boy who is a recruit for the Red Army. His name is Jez Kornfield and this book follows him as he grows from a young recruit to a deadly assassin. What is great about this book is that Jez has multiple dimensions. In addition to being a lethal killer he is also a loving brother and family man. On top of that was also a plot of a secret love between Jez and our female lead Anne. Only neither of them knows how the other feels for 20 years. That part of the book is really quite touching. If you are looking for a suspense filled novel with depth and romance then you have come to the right place.
on August 16, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
If you are like me and you enjoy characters with some depth then Birth of An Assassin by Rik Stone may be right up your alley. Birth of An Assassin takes place in 1924 Moscow, Russia where 15 year old Jewish Jez has become a recruit for the Red Army. Early in his career a high ranking official takes and interest in him and becomes his mentor. He helps him to advance more quickly and makes sure that he gets all of the best training. In addition to a well-paced and suspense filled plot Birth of An Assassin also has an element of romance to it through the unknown shared love between Jez and Anne. It is quite beautiful and also sad that they love each other for 20 years without the other one knowing about it. I have enjoyed both of the books that I have read by Rik Stone so far and look forward to reading more of his work.
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on August 16, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

The story starts in the early Brezhnev years with a young Jew, Jezer Kornfeld, in Moscow looking for a recruiting office for the Red Army. A soldier plays a joke on him, and sends him to the large yellow building in Dzerzhinsky Square (from memory, number 2). Unlikely. One of the soldier’s names had been mentioned, and incorporating that building into a practical joke was as likely as not to have you incorporated in theirs. However Jez goes there, and is taken under his wing by the future General Petrichova, and Jez gets trained as a Spetznaz soldier. However, Jez blots his copy book by smuggling his sisters out of the country, to save them from the gulag. Petrichova suppresses the report, but Captain Mitrokhin, who hates Jews, finds out, and sets into motion a plan to have Jez killed, and at the same time have him blamed for his own corrupt practices. Jez, being somewhat naïve, lands squarely into the plot. Jez wants revenge, but he also has to stay alive.

The story is well-written, and moves at a really fast pace. One could argue the plot has holes, in that Mitrokhin’s plan is so bad that any reasonable policing would uncover the truth, but Stone’s premise is that Russia at the time had little or no effective policing. I don’t think that is true, nevertheless it makes for a good story. The story then proceeds to uncover the rottenness of the late Soviet system. Again, I don’t think it was that bad, but I don’t actually know, and the picture that Stone paints is certainly full and seems realistic enough to fully involve the reader. With one exception, the action scenes are credible, and all are exciting. (The exception is one hand-to hand kill strike. While you should not try it at home, it should not kill as described.) Further, the plot is quite intricately put together, and at the end, it all makes sense. An excellent thriller.

5Author Has A Wonderful Writing Style!!
on August 14, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Birth of an Assasin is the second book I have read by Rik Stone, the first being The Turkish Connection. Rik Stone has a gift for telling a story. The words jump right off the pages as you are reading. You can sometimes feel as though you are right there in the action. And I love that about his books.

Birth of an Assassin is an action-packed thriller set in Moscow, Russia. The story follows Jez Kornfeld who runs away to become a part of the Russian military. He has wanted this for a long time. He ends up being taking in by a high ranking officer and becomes a trained assassin.

I really enjoyed the book. It was filled with action, drama, suspense, intrigue and more. The author really seemed to know what he was writing about. You really felt like you were right there in the thick of it with the characters.

 
5An Assassin’s Ode to Mother Russia
on August 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
When Birth of an Assassin starts out, Jez Kornfeld is a scrawny, idealized young Jewish kid who has dreams of joining Mother Russia’s army. Thanks to a fluke encounter with two soldiers on his way to find the army recruitment office, Jez is sent by the soldiers to the KGB. The KGB decide to take him on and train him and by the end of the book, Jez has transformed into a weary, cold-blooded killing machine who has ultimately chosen family over all else. The author, Rik Stone, has done an excellent job in portraying the autocratic Russian system, where the pillage of human life is merely a means to an end and where human life is an expendable commodity for the glory of Mother Russia. Although I’m not a huge fan of copious violence – and there’s certainly a huge share of it in this book – it’s done with almost a clinical detachment rather than with gory zealousness. It’s also fair to say that everything Jez does in carrying out his orders is done with a technical detachment which again emphasizes the fact that killing is simply what Jez does; that he’s almost like a machine that does what he is told to do. It’s later in the book, when his family is threatened, that Jez begins to question the choices he has made. Birth of an Assassin is an excellent, provocative tale well worth reading.
5A Tour de Force Thriller
on August 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Right off the bat, I need to say that Jez is one hell of a cool character. I have always dug historical fiction, and I particularly like Soviet Union stories, but this one about takes the cake. This was as detailed a look inside the elite and secretive corners of power as I’ve had in quite a while. I know that there was plenty of dramatic cloak and dagger fiction in here, but nothing seemed too impossible, which helped keep the illusion alive for me as I watched Jez develop from a wet behind the ears rookie to a terrifying and masterful assassin, but harboring a dark secret. He must not only wrestle with what he does now, but also with where he came from and where his real roots lie. This is as much a psychological exploration into the mind of a trained killer as it is an exciting espionage thriller. While I feel that there were some weak points in the plot, Stone generally nailed it, particularly in the dialogue and character interactions. I felt like they weren’t forced or unrealistic. Sometimes conversations are brief and people are rude, but it can be hard for some authors to be honest about what human interaction and behavior look like. Stone wasn’t afraid to show us that, in addition to taking us through a wild ride of murder, betrayal, and ultimately redemption.
 
4Surprisingly good read
on August 12, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I was a bit hesitant to try this title, since I wasn’t a big fan of anther of this author’s books. The synopsis was interesting, though, so I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, since this was an interesting read.

The main character, Jez, runs away from his bucolic life to join the military because he thinks his destiny is to be a soldier, even though he’s Jewish in a place in the world where that’s not a good thing. He immediately stumbles into a relationship with someone of high rank who sees something special in him. This man becomes his mentor and benefactor. He shepherds Jez’s training and helps him to advance quickly. Ultimately Jez finds the military life he dreamed of isn’t quite what he expected, and neither is the world at large.

The plot is interesting and moves at a relatively good pace, but I sometimes had issues with the Jez character – he is supposed to be specially trained and extremely competent, but makes obvious, naïve and stupid mistakes that a trained military person should not make. Putting that aside, though, the rest of the story was compelling.

The pace of the story steadily increases as you progress through the book. There are lots of twists and surprises and multiple layers to the story. As the story unfolds, the main character is faced with re-evaluating how he feels about his religion, family and his beloved military.

Readers who like Cold War-era military stories filled with suspense and intrigue will enjoy this book since it includes quite a bit of history as the backdrop for the story.

This is an interesting book that’s definitely worth taking a chance on.

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5A spell binding, heart pounding read!
on August 11, 2015
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Jez and Anna are the main POV in this book along with come other dicey characters that have a hatred for Jews (Jez being the main one affected, although Anna does get caught up with it somewhat). Jez, has his heart set on joining the Russian army and is disillusioned with any type of religious zeal his family has. Through some (for him) fortunate circumstances, he finds his career skyrocketed through the ranks with choice posts wherever he wants and thus he comes into the spotlight of Otto, who will stop at nothing to destroy Jez.
Having read the other book by Mr. Stone, (The Turkish connection), I had high hopes for this book and Mr. Stone sure didn’t disappoint. The story telling was superb and the plot was believable. Even though there are references and connections to the Turkish Connection, you do not have to read that book to enjoy this one. I am hoping that there will be another book in this series, I truly enjoy the world building and the unique characters. I recommended that book and I recommend this one as well.
 
4Powerful and informative thriller of a book!
on August 11, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is another gritty and interesting book by Rik Stone. In this one, we learn about a young boy named Jez who wants to be a Soviet soldier. He is not the average demographic for such a job, which is how we learn about his being of a certain religion and upbringing. At first he is a wet behind the ears trainee but then he morphs into something more dark and calculated, due to everything he is taught and the things happening around him. There is literally intense action written on nearly every page of this title. Numerous times Jez has to reevaluate how he feels about his countrymen, his family, himself, and come to real life and hard realizations. There are also numerous conversations he has with his father that have chilling details about World War 2. I would recommend reading this if you are interested in historical thrillers.
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This review is from: Birth of an Assassin (Kindle Edition)
Birth of an Assassin pulls you in by making the story personal. Rik Stone has a real handle on characterization. You can feel what Jez (the main character) is feeling as if you were there. The coldness of the air, the embarrassment of his circumstances, and his dogged determination to fulfill what he believes to be his destiny. Once on his chosen path his character grows in many ways and I really enjoyed the journey with him, albeit some of it wasn’t pretty, but then whose life is all pretty?
Stone pulls and pushes the characters in a dance of love, loss, hate, vengeance, desperation and more. It isn’t just Jez, but all of the characters. You see the weaknesses that gave them their strengths, as well as the weaknesses that are their undoings.
Stone also has an excellent talent for making setting come alive. Even such boring spaces as hotel rooms. He obviously did his research on the time period, Russia, and all levels of the society at that time.
I look forward to the next installment by this up and coming author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conflicts enough to keep you reading until the end, January 27, 2015
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This review is from: Birth of an Assassin (Kindle Edition)
In 1947, at the age of 15, Jezer Kornfield, a non-observant Jew, makes his way to Moscow, seeking to join the Red Army. When two soldiers, as a joke, give him directions to KGB headquarters at Lubyanka instead of the army recruiting station, he meets Colonel Michel Petrichova, a Spetsnaz officer, who sees potential in the undersized youngster.
Taking the young Jez under his wings, Petrichova sends him for special training where he meets Anna Puchinsky, another trainee, and Jez finds, in addition to his love for army life, the love of his life. After training, though, Jez and Anna are sent their separate ways, him to service in the Soviet Union’s wars abroad, and her into limbo as far as Jez knows.
In the field, Jez’s career takes off like a comet, and he’s soon a lieutenant assigned to KGB headquarters. From this point, his life takes a series of strange and deadly turns. First, his sisters are arrested when they take part in a demonstration, and Jez violates his oath as a soldier and helps them flee the country. This brings him to the attention of Otto Mitrokhin, a corrupt KGB officer with a deep hatred of Jews. Mitrokhin at first uses Jez’s skills to further his own corrupt plans, and then sets himself the mission of bringing Jez down.
Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone is a riveting tale of life in Soviet Russia as those who, though they see the eventual demise of Communism, still love their country, are pitted against those who are only in it for gain. He doesn’t know who to trust as he finds himself hunted by the very army he loves, and torn between love for his family and love for Anna, who is also playing a deadly game.
Stone weaves a compelling tale of love, honor, and betrayal as he takes us into the underbelly of a country in turmoil. Full of action and drama, this is a book that, once you start, you will not be able to put down until the final climactic confrontation
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Noir 19 May 2014
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This author’s debut novel is a fast-paced thriller that carries you along at breakneck pace as you impatiently wait to find out what happens next. I really liked the unusual setting in the Cold-War USSR. Think James Bond and then darken it several shades! The protagonist, a professional and sometimes ruthless soldier when the occasion demands, is likeable though (and not conventionally big, beefy and macho, which is refreshing) whereas most of the villains, who are engaged in large scale corruption and dastardly, murderous deeds, are painted very black indeed.

But having said that, Rik Stone shows a gentle side too when he describes the love affair, expressed mostly as separation and longing, between hero Jez and beautiful heroine Anna.

I don’t know whether the author has first-hand knowledge of Russia, but he writes with great credibility. It’s either that or he’s an assiduous researcher.

If you enjoy a thrill-a-minute ride that nevertheless has depth and intelligence, you will, I’ll bet a bagful of roubles, like this. Kudos for an excellent book, Mr Stone!

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good 17 May 2014
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This is not the type of book I usually read but have to say that I just couldn’t put it down. Although I’m usually no fan of super- heroes, I found myself both liking and sympathising with Jez.
Congratulations to Rik Stone, who has produced a fascinating, gripping first novel, really well written. I hope he goes on to produce many more and to achieve the success he deserves
I can’t wait for the next one!
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING BOOK 19 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Really surprised this author isn’t more well known. This is such a great book that I really struggled to put down. The plot and setting are amazing and really well thought out. Would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

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