Aside from this, I have very little experience with anything even remotely Russian, unless you count the reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 7th grade, which I don't because I remember nothing about it. That is until I was sent Tea with Rasputin by Rolf Richardson to read last month.
The book begins with Terry, a low-ranking member of a flight crew, being sent to locate missing pilot Gregory who disappeared along the Alaska-Russia border. Travelling to the US state, he investigates the pilots unexpected vanishing, meeting his future wife Coral along the way, and eventually discovers the pilot was killed and buried in Russia.
Unconvinced by this explanation, Terry continues to investigate the pilot's disappearance only to find that he had faked his own death in order to start a new life in his native Russia, leaving behind his wife in the UK to whom he left a large life insurance policy.
From then on, the novel recounts Terry's relationship with the former pilot, both personal and professional, and he and his family's own time spent living in Russia. With details about corruption in the country, Grigori as becomes known is killed by a suspected poison dart whilst attempting to flee the country for England with his children and Terry's family.
What I liked most about the book was that I had very little experience with reading literature focused on Russian heritage. Whilst the story of Terry's life and how it became intertwined with Grigori's was the main focus of the plotline, there were also pieces of information regarding the development of Russia during the 1990s that I did not expect. Turning against the traditional form of fictional text, elements of interesting non-fiction were included to both entertain and educate the reader. It was also unlike anything I had ever read before, which is always a bonus when being sent texts to review.
However, my understanding of such events was not always what it could have been, and a little extra information about the influencing Russian politics may have been useful as a means of expanding my understanding of the text. Plus the title had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the book unless you count the two of so pages towards the end where Grigori is found dead at an installation depicting Rasputin's meeting with the Tsar at a popular museum. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its title, but it felt very much as if the connection had been tacked on unnecessarily because the author liked the title.
Overall, this is definitely a novel I'd recommend. Both interesting and unusual, it was unlike anything I'd ever read before and I'd happily read someone of the author's other texts. 8/10