A journey into the sinister heart of Stalin's regime of terror, where paranoia reigns and no one is safe
Stalin's Russia, 1950. Brilliant young artist Pasha Kalmenov is arrested and sent without trial to a forced-labor camp in the Arctic gulag. This is a camp like no other. Although conditions are harsh and degrading, the prisoners are not to be worked to death in a coal mine or on a construction project. Their task is to forge the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. There is a high price to be paid for failing to reach the required standard of perfection; particularly as the camp commandant has his own secret agenda. When the executions begin, Pasha realizes that only his artistic talent can protect him. But for how long? Worse horrors are to come—if he survives them, will life still be worth living?
The Leonardo Gulag journeys to the sinister heart of Stalin's regime of terror, where paranoia reigns and no one is safe, and in which the whims of one man determine the fate of millions. Ultimately, the novel presents a moving portrait of the indomitability of the human spirit.
Perfect for fans who love the artistry of Daniel Silva and the passion of Greg Iles
On a freezing winter night in 1950, in a small town north of Moscow, 20-year-old artist Pasha Kalmenov, the hero of this grim thriller from British author Doherty (Patriots), and his mother are awakened by a group of rifle-wielding soldiers, who barge into their apartment, confiscate Pasha's identity papers, and hustle him out to a waiting truck. Along with others with specific artistic skills, Pasha is bundled onto a train to one of Stalin's camps in the Arctic gulag. Their orders are to copy with precision the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Those who don't measure up are executed. Three years into his ordeal, Pasha realizes that his only option is to escape. Escape he does, and heads to England. A subplot involving Sir Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and Soviet spy, adds to the intrigue. This relentless tale of cruelty and survival provides a sobering look at Stalin's Russia. Fans of Kafkaesque historical fiction will be satisfied.