The Russian Federation is planning to celebrate its 25th Anniversary Jubilee, and Vlad Petrovsky is at the center of the public relations effort. It’s a plum assignment; long hours away from his family and dealing with crisis after crisis will all be worth it to Vlad if he succeeds. In the midst of this, he is pulled away from his assignment and tasked by the Prime Minister himself to support a vital, secret mission that threatens the future of all Russia.
At the center of Chocolate Lenin is a race against time to prevent a scientifically reproduced version of Vladimir Lenin from instigating another revolution. A special team of scientists, police, secret agents and the likable Vlad has been cobbled together to counteract a brilliant scientist’s radical plot to use Lenin to bring down Russia. The elements of the pursuit read like a thriller as the team works to track down the rogue revolutionary and his supporting cast. The disparate strengths and weaknesses of this ad-hoc team, coupled with the maneuvering of high-level politicians, add realism to the plot. Let’s face it, who doesn’t expect a politician to leverage a disaster to further his own career?
Graham Diamond’s writing is fine, and his understanding and knowledge of both Russia and current politics really adds a lot to the story. While I am not a fan of investigative thrillers as a rule, I have to give Graham Diamond a lot of credit for creating tension, and for leveraging both known and emerging tools like social networking as means to disseminate unrest and call for revolution. The exact science of bringing Lenin back remains carefully opaque, but its heart is the mythical combination of chocolate and rum.
On the whole I found Chocolate Lenin to be passable. While I would not race out to buy another book like Chocolate Lenin, readers whose taste runs more to thrillers will likely enjoy it more.