reviews

May 11, 2015

Book Review: Moscow Bound

“English solicitor Adrian Churchward’s novel combines the tension of an action thriller with the insight of a lawyer who lived and practised in Moscow, Budapest and Prague from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s.”  For the full review click here.

Jonathan Rayner The Law Society Gazette

September 16, 2014

A thriller well worth your time

According to his biographical note, Adrian Churchward lived and worked in Moscow, Budapest, and Prague as an East-West trade lawyer between 1984 and 1998. He was “one of the few Western lawyers working in the day-to-day arena of President Gorbachev’s liberalization process of perestroika and glasnost.”

Scott Mitchell, one of the two point-of-view characters in Moscow Bound, is a young British human-rights lawyer who is living and working in Moscow. When the book opens, Scott, flying back to Moscow, has just won a significant case against the Russian army in the European Court of Human Rights for its crimes in Chechnya. This has had two effects: Scott is a hero to Chechnyians (which gives him at least a few people he can trust in Moscow’s house of mirrors), and he has pissed off the Russian army (which removes him from the plane under guard and interrogates him).

Now add a gorgeous young Russian mother, separated from her oligarch husband (powerful enough to dine occasionally with Putin). Ekaterina, who with good reason does not trust the Russian government, asks Scott to help her find the father she never knew, someone spirited away by the KGB years before. Scott reluctantly decides to help her.

Now add a second POV character, Lieutenant-General Pravda of the GRU, military intelligence. A body has been fished out of the Moscow River, someone who Pravda knows should not have been in Moscow, someone who has been assassinated in a particularly suspicious manner. When an elderly pensioner is murdered in the same way, Pravda, an honest and patriotic soldier, realizes an explosive military secret is at risk.

The book is a lot of fun and I gobbled it down. How is it possible for an English human-rights lawyer, even one who speaks fluent Russian, to penetrate the various circles within circles to find a long-vanished father? What is the connection between the GRU and the murdered men? Who are the puppet masters above Pravda and his competitors in the Russian Federation Security Service? If you can’t trust the government, if you can’t trust the police, if you can’t trust the military, how can you live?

Moscow Bound may be Churchward’s first novel, but he handles the various threads competently and his knowledge of Russian life in the 21st century adds depth and color to the story. I noticed only one or two unfortunately convenient coincidences among the events, and there seemed to be one or two threads that he never tied off—although that may be my fault because I was having so much fun on the ride and wasn’t paying attention. Nevertheless, it’s a thriller set firmly in a world very much like our own, one of my criterion for a book worth my time.

Wally Wood Amazon

August 26, 2014

A Spell-Binding Thriller

This story connects on so many levels. It uses the post cold war Russia as a backdrop to show that the human nature involved in cruelty to and exploitation of your fellow man never changes. Through the first half of the book, the basis for the violence and murder is not known. The reader can’t tell the good guys from the bad, and your opinion keeps changing as the story unfolds. The bitter cold of Russia is a solid allegory for the cold hearts of all the major players. The central character, a human rights attorney, is surrounded by sharks in the form of competing Russian dark organizations, rich Russian criminals, and American agents who don’t seem to be what they claim they are. The chaotic action and many players draw the reader in and make the book very difficult to put down. You finish it with a feeling of great relief, and then want to go back and read it again.

Cave Creek Amazon

June 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: MOSCOW BOUND BY ADRIAN CHURCHWARD

Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward, as far as I’m concerned, is nothing short of a masterpiece of political fiction. Straying drastically outside my comfort zone – I will openly admit that while I adore crime novels, I know little to nothing about politics – the novel suckered me in from the opening chapter and once I was drawn in, I literally couldn’t pull myself away from this fascinating, intriguing, and often startling plot. 

The novel is based around abuse of state power in Russia, with various nods to other countries along the journey. While Human Rights lawyer Scott Mitchell is drawn into a world of corruption and intrigue by the glamorous Ekaterina Romanova, is quickly becomes apparent that, naturally, not everything in this novel is as it initially appeared to be. While Romanova has enlisted the help of Mitchell in order to find her father, who she believes has been unlawfully detained by the government for years without a fair trial, the couple soon stumble into a world of terrifying political and governmental cover ups that not only complicate their search for Romanova’s father, but also lead to them being accused of murder (and many other crimes) too.

Along the way there are unearthed secrets and political cover-ups-gone-bad that will have you itching to the turn the page just to see what the next chapter has to offer. A crime and thriller novel rolled into one, Moscow Bound promises political corruption and abuse of state power, and it certainly does not fail deliver. 

Churchward has created a vast array of fascinating and engaging characters, many of whom have shady pasts that will make your eyes water – although in some instances, that’s indeed part of their charm. Admittedly, Romanova and Mitchell are the characters that have stuck with me the most since finishing the book. Their intricate and often-amusing power-play relationship that they develop over the course of their time together adds an interesting layer to the novel as a whole, and, while I don’t suspect there is a romantic future for the characters, it certainly added an interesting dimension to this opening novel. 

As Churchward flits from one scene to another throughout the chapters, often using these location changes to signal a character change too, he allows us to drift in and out of the consciousness of many of the central characters. We are constantly changing perspectives ourselves as readers, making for a well-rounded novel altogether. 

Additionally, the use of location in this novel is authentic and stunning, which adds to the overall authenticity and credibility of the text as a whole. It is apparent that Churchward is experienced in this area, and his wealth of knowledge has aided greatly in this book. 

Without question, Moscow Bound is certainly a novel worth adding to your bookshelf. Never in my life have I been so disappointed to finish a book, plagued by the knowledge that I would have to wait a year for the next instalment of the trilogy. A stunning political thriller that succeeds in raising as many questions, if not more questions, that it even manages to answer, Moscow Bound is a worthy read for anyone looking for an eye-opening plotline that comes complete with a surprise around every corner. 

Don’t forget to head over to Performance & Arts today where you can read our interview with Adrian Churchward too. 

Charlotte Barnes Mad Hatter Reviews

June 9, 2014

Marvellous! Can't wait to read the next one

There’s a new author called Adrian Churchward
Whose story’s particularly good
I liked it a lot
Especially the plot
So please buy it, I think that you should

Neil Deverill Amazon

June 3, 2014

RUSSIAN ROULETTE

This is a deeply, well-plotted espionage novel which more than matches any other I have read in a long time. The story is convoluted and one has to concentrate to follow the problems which beset the hero, Scott Mitchell, a British Human Rights Lawyer living in Moscow.
The author, Adrian Churchward, clearly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Moscow and things Russian. We get furtive insights into the internal conflicts between the various Russian Intelligence Services and glimpses of the distorted world in which they play out their venomous activities; these are mixed in with the power and ruthless anarchy of the oligarchs. The pace of the story builds up as does the suspense.
Scott Mitchell’s adventures are labyrinthine and compelling: just the combination to make this a very exciting thriller which, once you start it, you cannot put down.

Dr. J. Gold Amazon

May 28, 2014

Superb and brilliantly written

Once past remembering the Russian characters names, it was a fantastic read. Although set in modern Moscow, it still had the feel of the nineteen fifties about it, no one really knowing the whole story and so much undercover, surreptitious things happening. A real page turner and unputdownable. I can’t wait for the next part and I feel a movie may be in the mix too.

dawn essex-dalton Amazon

May 26, 2014

Straight off the top shelf!

A truly fascinating, in depth story which keeps you guessing until the very end. Mr Churchward has created a complex story of fantastically dark political injustice as well as linking in a touchingly deep tale of his own; Moscow Bound plays with your emotions vigorously, leaving you guilty whenever you put this page turner down. Could easily make it to film or television and I simply cannot wait for the sequel.

Ronnie Mewes Amazon

May 26, 2014

Rich plot line, easy read and one mighty twist you won't expect

Finished the book in two sittings and thoroughly enjoyed the Friday night in doing so.

The main setting is modern day Russia, with the spectre of communism haunting the corridors of power. The Russian secret service, whilst fighting amongst itself, is investigating a prominent British lawyer, who is running his own investigation against the Russian state and against the clock. As the two approach a common point, a secret of such tantamount importance risks exposure that all bets are off… and it will be the last man standing.

Finished the final chapter with a smile, many questions and have found myself thinking about it a few days since.

Aimed at those who enjoy an easy read with a cunning plot, fast pace and growing suspense. The author achieves the fine balance of realism, historical fact and entertaining story line.

Yuli Grig Amazon

May 23, 2014

A real page turner

A great story that pulls you in from the first page and keeps you there until the last.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next part of this trilogy.

Michelle Mitchell Amazon

May 12, 2014

Amazing!!

This book is outstanding! There is always a slight wash of suspense flying through the air!! I love it

Ellie C Amazon

May 12, 2014

When's the next one out?!

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down – I had to know what was going to happen next.
I would certainly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading part 2.

Jenny Parker Amazon

May 7, 2014

A truly enjoyable read

An easy read, but requires concentration. The story line twists and turns and demands you turn the page. Whist set in modern Russia the tentacles of the Soviet era give the story spice. Conspiracy,crime and compassion its got it all. A super novel that would be the base of a very good movie script

Nigel Hamilton-Smith Amazon