[ Historical Thriller]


So without further ado, WELCOME RAYMOND!!

Rasputin is known as one of the most elusive figures in Russian history, but what specifically drew you to him as a character for your upcoming novel, RASPUTIN’S SHADOW?


RK: As with previous novels, it was an unplanned convergence of influences. Very early into my research on the central theme of this book, mind control and how much we know about the way our brains work, I read about a Russian scientist who had been carrying out some pretty shocking “Manchurian candidate”-style experiments during the Cold War. He was described as having “Rasputin-like powers.” And that just lit up inside me. It was the perfect historical parallel for what I was working on, the big daddy of mind control, and the fact that Rasputin’s story had also taken place in Russia was too irresistible to ignore. The story fell into place within seconds. Like Hannibal Smith used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”


   Your novels contain a lot of historical truths, so how do you go about researching your subject before you dive into the story?  Did anything surprise you during your research for this book?


RK: I probably do a lot more research than I need to for my novels, for several reasons: part of it is simple curiosity: I just find it interesting to educate myself about the topics and themes I’m curious about, and it’s so easy to get swept up in surfing from one link to the next. Also, I have this obsession with wanting every detail in my books, historical or otherwise, to be accurate. I remember being on a panel with Harlan Coben once, and he said, “we’re fiction writers, we can just make things up.” And he’s right, of course, we do—a lot. But I feel a need to know exactly what a Turkish horse-trader in the 13th century would have been wearing, what he would have eaten, what his sword (scimitar!) would have looked like, before writing him into a book. And that takes a lot of research that can only end up as a sentence here or a word there. The big scene at the end of The Templar Salvation, for instance, the plane and the sea, or the one where the Italian gets chucked out of it earlier on: I went through every detail of those sequences with a pilot who owns that exact plane, and we made sure everything I wrote was not only correct, but doable.


    In past reviews your writing has been called “cinematic.” Do you consciously try to write this way? Or do you think that thrillers naturally lend themselves to this style of writing?


RK: I see my stories visually, it’s hugely important for me. I see the scenes unfurling in my mind as I’m writing them, and I often sketch out storyboards for the big set pieces to “direct” them as I write them out. Thrillers naturally lend themselves to this style, and to be frank with you, I’m often disappointed by thrillers that turn out to have limited scale in their visuals. What I mean is that as a writer, you can almost take any scene and ratchet up the suspense and the scale without necessarily turning it into ridiculous, comic-book-like, over-the-top mindless action. Think of a director like Michael Mann, for instance, and the bank robbery scene from “Heat.” Or any scene from “Collateral.” Or read “Marathon Man,” which is exactly similar, beat for beat, to the great movie it spawned. In my mind, a real thriller should have a ‘cinematic’ aspect, but it’s crucial to keep it within the confines of reality.


   What impact, if any, do you think your experience as a screenwriter and producer has on your ability to paint a vivid description in your novel writing?


RK: Huge impact, no doubt. I’m always told by readers that they could “see” the book like a movie while reading it. I don’t believe in taking shortcuts. If the FBI is shadowing a hostage trade-off between a group of Russian mafia thugs and some Korean gangsters in some remote Brooklyn shipyard in the dead of the night, that’s an opportunity for a major set-piece with a lot of suspense, it deserves to be cinematic. I believe good writing should conjure up vivid visuals in the mind of the reader and should kick up as much adrenaline in him or her as a great movie would.


    What types of characters do you most enjoy writing?


RK: I enjoy spending time with all my characters. RASPUTIN’S SHADOW probably has the largest cast of characters I’ve used in a novel, and I really enjoyed creating them and exploring their own foibles. That said, I usually enjoy writing the main antagonists most: characters like Vance in THE LAST TEMPLAR, the Hakeem in THE SANCTUARY, Zahed in THE TEMPLAR SALVATION, and El Brujo in THE DEVIL’S ELIXIR (no spoilers about the new book here!). They’re never clear-cut bad guys, nothing’s black or white. They have histories, they have reasons for doing what they’re doing, we need to wonder what we’d have done if we had been in their situation. The grey area of human nature is very interesting to me. I also hugely enjoy writing the historical characters: Rasputin and Misha, or course, in the new book; but also, Sebastian and Theresia’s love story in THE SANCTUARY and Conrad and Maysoon’s one in THE TEMPLAR SALVATION are particular favourites.



Website: http://raymondkhoury.com/
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By Raymond Khoury


by Raymond Khoury

Dutton; October 8, 2013
384 pages; $27.95 U.S./$29.95 CAN.


What gave a madman the power to control the Tsar? New York Times bestselling author Raymond Khoury has made a name for himself as the master of cinematic, contemporary suspense novels steeped in long-lost historical mysteries. After his hugely successful breakout novel, The Last Templar, Khoury has gone on to explore the rainforests of South America, the abyss of Antarctica, and now, in his latest novel, RASPUTIN’S SHADOW (Dutton; October 8, 2013), Khoury delves into one of Russia’s biggest mysteries: Rasputin’s meteoric and bizarre rise to power.




Booklist has praised Khoury’s novels as “fast-paced thrill-ride[s]” and Publishers Weekly commends their “unrelenting action.” Without fail, Khoury delivers the same great storytelling in RASPUTIN’S SHADOW. His prose is filled with silver-screen worthy action and intrigue as well as a surprising reimagining of Russia’s secretive past.



Rasputin was a monk blessed by God, a malicious killer, a mastermind, a renegade, a fraud. Even the most lauded historians haven’t decided which of these descriptors best fit the illusive figure from Russia’s past. And no one can understand his incredible rise from a starving, degenerate peasant to the Tsar’s most trusted advisor. No one, that is, except Leo Sokolov. And so begins RASPUTIN’S SHADOW. Khoury’s novel is filled with modern-day action as FBI Agent Sean Reilly and his unexpected partner Russian FSB Agent Larisa Sokolova search to uncover a mysterious device that has led to the suicide of a Russian embassy attaché and the disappearance of a Russian physics teacher, Leo Sokolov. Their adventure leads them into an unexpected rendezvous with the lost journals of Rasputin’s confidant, and to the frightening realization that the device wreaking havoc on modern-day Manhattan may have been used for even greater destruction a century earlier in Russia.




RASPUTIN’S SHADOW delivers in the way a thriller should. It melds historical disaster with modern retribution. The novel is heart-racing and smart, full of twists and turns and action scenes that seem as real as the pages that you’re reading.

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A bit about the author…..
RAYMOND KHOURY is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Last Templar, The Templar Salvation and The Sanctuary. Born in Beirut, Khoury and his family fled to Rye, New York when he was 14 to escape Lebanon’s civil war. Khoury worked as an architect and investment banker before becoming a successful screenwriter and producer for networks such as BBC. Today, he focuses on his writing career. Rasputin’s Shadow is his sixth book.





Website: http://raymondkhoury.com/
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Thanks to Alissa, we are offering 1 print copy of “Rasputin’s Shadow” by Raymond Khoury to 1 lucky commenter. Sorry open to US residents only! Giveaway will run from October 24 until  October 31,2013.
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  1. This is one of my favorite genre. I need to put this on my TBR list.


  2. This is a unique interview which caught my interest as does this book. Many thanks for this chance.

  3. I have been hearing great things about this book and have been wanting to read it. I love that it is a thriller and it sounds so interesting. Thanks for having this giveaway.

  4. Thanks for the interview. It was interesting and I do appreciate an author who puts so much effort into his/her research.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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