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2010 Thriller

Bequest – A.K. Shevchenko


I was a massive fan of Child 44 so when someone on twitter suggested that Bequest was similar I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately Bequest was much simpler than Child 44 and I think the two books will appeal to a different group of readers.

Bequest is a thriller that centres on the Ukrainian legend of the lost Cossack gold, a large quantity of gold that was rumored to have been deposited in the Bank of England in the 18th Century. The gold would now be worth enough to bankrupt the Bank of England and change the balance of power within Europe. Many Ukrainians dream of finding a connection to this inheritance; finding a secret document that links them to this fortune. It is this that happens in Bequest, leading to a race to secure the fortune before it lands in the wrong hands.

Bequest is fast paced and easy to read, but the book lacked any real tension. There was the occasional heart stopping moment, but it was all over too quickly for me.

The story switched between several time periods, including the 18th century, but the whole book read in the same way. This meant that apart from the odd reference to their situation there was no period atmosphere.

‘Can you read to me, Alexy?’ she said gently. ‘I have trouble making out the letters today. I still have a headache from all that dancing.’
Razumovsky knew perfectly well, as did the whole Court, that Yelizaveta not only abhorred reading, but she considered it dangerous – and was convinced that too much reading was the cause of her beloved sister Anna’s death.

The majority of the book was set in dusty libraries/archives. I enjoyed learning a bit about Ukrainian history, but prefer to become immersed in someone’s life and emotions rather than to chase a large amount of money through long lost documents.

This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys fast paced investigative thrillers,  especially those who’d like to learn a bit more about Ukrainian history.

Other bloggers loved it:

 Bequest glistens with as much gleam as a 24 carat nugget Rob Around Books

an intriguing and enjoyable novelEuro Crime

15 replies on “Bequest – A.K. Shevchenko”

Hmm… I like the sounds of the mystery, and Ukrainian history and legend, but not the sound of no period feel, over too quickly, etc. Might be one to put on the wish list but down at the bottom?

Amy, It depends what sort of thing you look for in a book. Fans of investigative thrillers seem to love this one. Perhaps you should add it to the list if you’re after something fast paced?

I like books about going through documents in archives to find clues, but one of my pet peeves about historical fiction (or, I guess, part historical fiction) is when the historical times don’t feel like the past. I like for the author to have discovered small, interesting details about the period s/he’s writing in, which make it feel real to me.

Jenny, I agree. It was a good job that the dates were given at the start of each chapter – otherwise I might have struggled to know when each chapter was set. I like to become immersed in a different period of time, not have all sections reaing the same way.

I love reading about the Ukraine, so thanks for telling about this. However, I think I’ll start with Child 44 as you liked that one so much. I’ve heard of neither, so I’m glad to know about these titles.

Well, the story sounds fascinating! I think there is a huge missed opportunity though, that the author didn’t add more period immersion (especially in THAT period). It isn’t easy to duplicate the most awesome Child 44!

I still haven’t read my copy of Child 44, but I think I’ll prioritize that one before I tackle this one. Elements of it do sound appealing, but as I already own Child 44, it wins! :)

anothercookiecrumbles, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a Ukrainian before either, so I guess that is the main benefit of this book. I hope you enjoy whichever you decide to read.

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