Vendetta

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

Decent spy mystery for anyone who is looking to step outside the big name authors. I enjoyed the characters and the adventure.
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Possessing expert marksmanship, Yury Antonov was assigned as a Russian sniper during World War II. Considered the best of the best, Karl Meister was an elite sniper recruited by the Germans. Little did they know that destiny had set a future date for their lives to cross. They'd been given orders to terminate the other. May the better man win - live.

The snipers came from contrasting backgrounds. The German, Meister, hailed from the city and was trained by the best. Antonov, a Russian country boy had the hardwired instincts of a great hunter. They represented two opposing yet dynamic forces. When assigned the assassination, they both had twenty-three kills to their name.

Most of Stalingrad had been occupied by German forces. But to their surprise the Russians put up a fierce fight with wary street fighters on every corner. The defending Russians knew the city like the back of their hand. It was their greatest advantage. 

Heated sniper rivalry was ignited from a column in the Soviet Army newspaper pitting them against each other. Both countries were depending on their local hero to boost their Army's morale. Like in ancient Roman gladiator fashion, a duel to the death was on.

It was a game of cat-and-mouse. The roles of predator and prey were exchanging all the time. Rules of engagement were simple; kill the other shooter before he killed you. 

The day was dawning. A final showdown was in the works. There would be no shooting in the back. The combatants met in a field of honor one last time. The leaders of Russia and Germany held their breath.

I offer my thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse and Killer Reads for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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From WW2 to cold war, Derek Lambert has written a vast range of stories. There is something about each of his stories that captures a reader's attention.

The plot of Vendetta is very interesting. It is more of a cat and mouse chase - Meister and Antonov are in a race - who will kill whom first? Vendetta is not a nail-biting adventure that pumps your adrenaline to a high but at the same time, it keeps you hooked on to the story till the end. After all, you do want to know who won, don't you?

Misha, a 9-year-old boy is an Angel in disguise. What starts as an innocent-looking boy serving food to the hungry soldiers, Misha plays a much bigger role towards the end. The two snipers have mentors - Razin (Russian) and Lanz (German). They are appointed to motivate the snipers and make sure that they kill their target. 

Antonov and Meister's background is an interesting touch to the story. Meister is a rich German while Antonov is the son of a farmer. Their lives before the war and how they gained fame forms the story's chassis (framework). The Russians would go to any extent to publicize their hero - Tasya, Antonov's love interest features with him in all the photographs and newspaper headlines. Meanwhile, Elzbeth, Meister's love interest plays a silent role - their relationship is not given as much publicity as Antonov's.

The mentors - Lanz and Razin also play an important role. Not wanting to fight the war - many innocent people are dying and the war crimes are at a high, these two seem to be affected by it.

Vendetta is a slow but engaging read. The ending is unexpected and touching. Even the best (or, should I say worse?) killers can sometimes be kind-hearted... The book concentrates more on the publicity that the Soviets and Germans gave to the two snipers. The war turned into more of a publicity stunt at some point in time. I was expecting this book to be a fast-paced action series, something like a mixture of Day of the Jackal(Frederick Forsyth) or Never Go Back (Lee Child). Although it wasn't, I loved it. The ending was the best part of this book - unique and touching. Of all the Derek Lambert books that I have read so far, the ending of this book was a 7 on the emotional scale.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, atmosphere, and characters.  I would recommend the book to friends and family for their reading pleasure.
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Not your usual WW2 story, it begins amid the devastation of the battle for Stalingrad, with the onset of Winter both the Russians and the Germans need a champion, and two young snipers, Antonov and Meister fit the bill.

The story follows their lives and gives a real insight into the ravages of war and the pressure on the young men and how they cope. It's a poignant story, with an unexpected ending.

I received a copy of this book from Collins Crime Club - Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Lambert's tale of two snipers hunting each other during the Battle of Stalingrad is a hell of a page turner. His lean, unadorned prose perfectly captures the feeling of the beleaguered city.
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