Cold Blood by James Fleming
The Russian Revolution is breaking out all around him, but Charlie Doig has a private war to fight. Even if he dies in the attempt, he's going to track down and kill Prokhor Glebov, the Bolshevik who raped and tortured his beautiful wife Elizaveta. Certain that Glebov will sooner or later turn up at Lenin's side, he and Kobi, his Mongolian henchman, make their way to St Petersburg. There, amidst the chaos of the Revolution, Charlie discovers that Glebov has been put in charge of the political re-education of the Tsar and his family in Ekaterinburg.The chase begins. There follows an adventure story of the sort they don't write any more. Having captured an armoured train, Charlie and the ragtag private army he has recruited fight their way towards Siberia. Near Kazan, he hears rumours that the Tsar's gold reserves are in the city and that Glebov is also after them. He determines that he'll avenge Elizaveta and grab the gold in one swoop. James Fleming is one of modern fiction's great stylists. His prose is marvellously robust and vivid, his plot breathtaking in its pace and excitement, and his protagonist, as the "Independent" said of the previous Doig novel, "White Blood", is 'the right kind of hero: virile, ruthless, adventurous'.