Reader, Writer, Reviewer

Moryak by Lee Mandel

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Published 2009 by iUniverse ****

Mandel certainly exhibits his broad knowledge of military history in this epic “Novel of the Russian Revolution.”  It is a sweeping story, outlining the covert mission of Naval officer Stephen Morrison which evolves into a life-changing experience.  The first part of the book involves Morrison’s recruitment to join forces with a British agent.  Their purpose is to kidnap Tsar Nicholas II in order to destroy the autocracy and establish peace between Russia and Japan.  Morrison returns to Russia only to have the mission collapse around him.  The second part of the book goes back to Morrison’s childhood as the son of an immigrant Russian rabbi, then adopted son of a U.S. Senator, his training at the naval academy, and his early career in the Navy.  The final third of the book has Morrison infiltrating the highest levels of the Bolsheviks after a stint in a Tsarist prison camp.  He becomes simply known as Moryak, or Sailor, a ruthless killer with a hidden agenda.

This novel is as much a historic epic as it is a character study of Morrison.  His evolution from dutiful American patriot to hardened criminal revolutionary is skillfully portrayed, yet his loyalty is never in doubt.  The story itself wasn’t lacking, but this self-published book could have used some editing and could have been trimmed down by 100 pages or so.  Despite this, for his first novel, Mandel has demonstrated his talent at constructing engaging historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.

Author: Julie Merilatt

I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband and a house full of books. Book collecting, reading, and reviewing consume my life. I have a special affinity for all things Alice in Wonderland. I began my education at Carthage College, wanting to be an English teacher. Eventually I decided that Carthage and I weren’t a good fit anymore, so I transferred to North Park University, where I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I finished my education with a degree in English with a writing concentration. I was always a voracious reader and wrote my first review in April 2007. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to write a review, only that I had just finished The Agony and the Ecstasy and had a strong feeling that I needed to express how I felt about it. This inspired me to write reviews about each book I wrote and after posting on Amazon for two years, I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. I am also an active reviewer/member of Goodreads and enjoy being an active member of the online book community.

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