Henry Holt and Co.
An international cabal drives Volk back to blood-soaked Chechnya, where he confronts an old nemesis and reunites with his lost love in this gripping sequel to the acclaimed series debut
The headquarters of an American oil company hemorrhages chemical-pink smoke into the Moscow night, the aftermath of an apparent terrorist attack. A Russian army captain carrying a priceless Fabergé egg and digital evidence of horrific wartime atrocities is murdered and relieved of both these prizes. And in the snowy mountains of southern Russia, a terrorist named Abreg—who once held Volk captive in a Chechen mud pit—hatches a plan to lure him back into his grasp.
Volk’s Shadow finds Colonel Alexei Volkovoy—covert agent of the Russian army and major player in the Moscow underworld—once again struggling to stay afloat in the swirling currents of Russian political and economic intrigue. This time, however, he is without his sidekick and lover, the ethereal Valya Novaskaya. Aching for the soul mate he pushed away, Volk begins to doubt himself, becoming even more detached from the brutality of his actions. When he takes out his inner pain on the wrong man, he gains a powerful enemy in the highest reaches of the Kremlin, and only after he travels back to Chechnya to eliminate his old nemesis, Abreg, is Volk’s debt finally repaid.
"Like a bullet, Col. Alexei Volkovoy (Volk's Game) goes where he is pointed and doesn't stop until he hits something. Brutalized by training, war, and captivity, he has criminal tendencies and a capacity for explosive violence that hide a deep loyalty to Russia and to the few people he trusts. When a series of seemingly unconnected crimes begins pointing to a single source, Volk (Russian for wolf) takes on Kremlin power players, the Russian mob, and Chechen rebels to resolve them. Volk is less Arkady Renko than a Russian Jack Reacher, making Volk's Shadow as noir as a winter night in Saint Petersburg."—Library Journal (starred review):
"In Ghelfi's mesmerizing second Russian thriller (after Volk's Game), Alexei "Volk" Vokovoy, an ex-army colonel with a prosthetic leg who does the dirty work for a paranoid Kremlin official known as "the General," receives what appears to be a simple assignment: find a missing Fabergé egg. The hunt quickly leads Volk into a raw, uncivilized world in which even the most basic needs of common Russians go unmet. Crime bosses work hand-in-hand with the government. The riches of oil trump all other priorities. Sexual violence surges uncontrollably. While the complicated plot can be hard to follow in places, and the Rambo-like Volk may not engage much reader sympathy, crisp characterization and strong visual prose keep the story moving to its harrowing climax in Chechnya. Those seeking a tour of the dark side of contemporary Russia will be more than satisfied."—Publishers Weekly