It is December of 1991, and the Soviet Union has just collapsed. Muscovites are used to lines and empty shelves, but now they have to cope with a dangerous power vacuum and a war between brutal mafia gangs for control of the city. Alice Liddell, an American banker, has come to Moscow to oversee the privatization of Russia's most famous vodka distillerythe Red October. Faced with the charismatic, ruthless Levdistillery director and head of one of the warring mafia gangsAlice's very difficult job is starting to look impossible. Lev's archenemy has vowed revenge on him, and a series of bizarre child killings is only adding to the complicationsand the terrorof this dangerously volatile time....Continua
After a while the story does tend to give a feeling of too much happening to too few people - something I often get when I enjoy a new episode of the brilliant TV-series "24"... I thought another similarity with the Kiefer Sutherland starrer is the fact "Vodka" has characters that have to sometimes do bad stuff in order to get things done.
All in all, the book made me want to learn a little more on the fall of Soviet Union and on what happened during the transition to capitalism. Coincidentally, a few days after I finished the book I read a twin interview to Gorbachev and to the guy who organized the coup that erased him from the political scene. I was grateful to Boris Starling for giving me a fictional background to give some context to the period.