The Twelfth Department

  • by William Ryan
  • Narrated by Sean Barrett
  • 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev returns....
Moscow, 1937: Captain Korolev, a police investigator, is enjoying a long-overdue visit from his young son Yuri when an eminent scientist is shot dead within sight of the Kremlin and Korolev is ordered to find the killer. It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power.
When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors' dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he's caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD. And then his son Yuri goes missing....
A desperate race against time, set against a city gripped by Stalin's Great Terror and teeming with spies, street children, and thieves, The Twelfth Department confirms William Ryan as one of the most compelling historical crime novelists at work today.


Audible Editor Reviews

"This is a well crafted mystery that’s worth a read"


What the Critics Say

"Ryan handles mystery with great aplomb and depicts Stalinist Russia in an utterly realistic way making this a book not to be missed" (Daily Express)
"Pre-war Soviet Moscow is described in satisfyingly detailed complexity without ever losing the reader" (Irish News)
"Ryan is an author growing in confidence and capability. He plays off the complexities and contradictions of Korolev’s character against an addictive, high-tension atmosphere in which suspicion, surveillance and secrecy are the constant by-products of Stalin’s ‘Great Terror.’ This is superb historical crime fiction with chilling plotlines, exciting and authentic investigative narratives and a truly impressive grasp of pre-war Soviet Russia’s oppressive, fear-fuelled society" (Lancashire, Yorkshire and Isle of Man Evening Post)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The most interesting one in the series

The Twelfth Department is definitely the most interesting book in the Captain Korolev series.

Korolev's personal and professional lives cross each other's paths and it's a very uncertain, most stressful period for everyone involved. With Stalin's rise to power came the terror and expanded powers of the secret police: citizens spying on one another, everyone could be investigated, arrested and sent to the Gulag often by using only extrajudicial punishment without further explanation. With that in mind, when Korolev finds out that he and his family are under investigation/surveillance it makes him cautious, willing to have the outcome of his current investigation influenced and fearful for his loved ones. He is trying to solve a double murder, figure out why his ex-wife might be in trouble and spend some quality time with is son, Yuri all at once. His most trustworthy comrades (some of whom would even qualify as friends?) come to his aid and they start the difficult task of finding the culprits responsible for the killings and his personal troubles.

I'd love it if there were more than just 3 books in the series. I came to like Korolev, the other returning characters and the insight into life in the late 1930s Soviet Union. I would recommend these books to anyone interested in this era and location.
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- Timi

Great struggle in the Politics of the Communists

A truly good old story of right and wrong and the abuse of position and power. The story is well written and the characters run true through the intricate storyline.
Sean Barratt provides the icing on the cake, voice and the craft give the story a meaning that draws you into the pre-war world of the Soviet Union.
I would recommend this book.
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- R

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-04-2014
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd