Birth of an Assassin
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!