Tuesday, April 7, 2009 By: Suzanne

Audio: The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry

I have made a habit of not listening to books that I know I would love if I read if they're not unabridged. At first I tried to make sure I was not listening to abridgements at all but that narrows the list of books I can listen to considerably so I opened up my "policy" to abridged audio books if they are ones I wouldn't normally read. Maybe this has played into my not liking a few of them. Maybe they would have better if it wasn't abridged. I don't know. Maybe it simply left out the stuff I REALLY would have hated! Whichever it is, Steve Berry's book The Romanov Prophecy was interesting in the concept but fell flat in the actual telling. From the box:

Atlanta Lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country's history, is thrilled to be in Moscow on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen among the distant relatives of Nicholas II, and Miles' job is to perform a background check on the tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen.

Suddenly Miles is racing across continents, shadowed by nefarious henchmen. At first his only question is why people are pursuing him. But after a strange conversation with a mysterious Russian who steers him toward the writings of Rasputin, Miles becomes desperate to know more. His only guide is a cryptic message from Rasputin implying that the bloody night of so long ago is not the last chapter in the Romanov's story.

This summary sounded wonderful. I am not the only one who is still fascinated by the Romanovs it seems. However, after I started this book I had a few questions that were never quite resolved. Why exactly is an American so involved in the return of the Tsar to the Russian throne? Simply because he is well versed in their history and language? That's just not a good enough reason. The reason given other than that is because his boss is deeply involved, but that only makes me wonder why that particular American is involved with what they call the Tsarist Commission. It's never answered. Another problem is at one point Miles and a Russian woman who is on the quest with him flee to San Fransisco on the trail of the Romanovs. I won't say why, but the reason given just didn't hold water with me. Seriously, San Fransisco in 1918 just doesn't seem like it would be the banking mecca for anyone, but I might be wrong here. The part about this that really bothers me is that supposedly there are many people after them. These are not just the typical "bad guys" but people in power. Miles is later told that they are able to get the FBI involved and he has been charged with murder. Ok, great! So how did he get out of Russia with his own name on the plane ticket? How did he enter the US through customs and no one stopped him or the Russian woman? How did she just happen to fly through into the US without any questions? Does she even have a passport? THEN they get on another plane from San Fransisco to Atlanta after running from the Russian embassy and having the FBI on their tail. WHAT???!! Who let these supposed criminals on the plane? What happened to heightened security? I won't give anymore away but I will say that for a lawyer, Miles Lord is not very smart in the common sense area. It's amazing he doesn't die in the first chapter.

But I actually kind of enjoyed the story. Except for the parts that were a little frustrating, it was fairly interesting. I just think maybe I should go back to reading what I know I like, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and thrillers. Right now I'm reading one I got an ARC of from LibraryThing and it's another that I think "maybe I should just stick to genres I know I like." I'll tell you about it in a few days.