Authors Showcase: Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone
April 12, 2015
The Book: Birth of an Assassin
The Author: Rik Stone
The Story: Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
Given the order to disperse and arrest a crowd of Jewish demonstrators in Red Square, Jez breaks up the rally but discovers his sisters in their ranks. Rushed for a solution, he sneaks the girls from under the noses of secret police and hides them in downtown Moscow. But he knows they will no longer be safe in Russia. He has to find them a safe route out.
The journey begins, but he is unaware that his every move is being observed and that he has set in motion a chain of events that will plunge his life into a headlong battle to stay alive.
About Rik Stone:
Rik Stone worked in the shipyards on a local river, spent time in the merchant navy, and then went on to work in quarries in South East England.
The time came he yearned for change and began studying. He worked through the lower level stuff and went on to gain a BSc. degree in mathematics and computing.
But he loved reading and because of it, fiction writing had always been his want. After an early retirement he was able to pursue the dream seriously and from that dream came his debut novel, Birth of an Assassin, the first in a series.
Review by Review Writer:
Stone packs some powerful imagery in Birth of an Assassin, and a tantalizing plot like no other author I’ve ever seen in this genre.
This suspenseful thriller takes place in Moscow, Russia 1947, and the main character, Jez Kornfeld, a young Jewish recruit, gets a heaping dose of reality in the cruel world that surrounds him. Jez goes to an army recruitment center thinking he’s signing up to become a soldier, and learns quickly this is not “the man’s” army. By the time he figures out what’s going on, he’s already caught up in a world of crime and corruption. And the only way out is to kill your way out. When Jez realizes this is the hand life has dealt him, he becomes the ultimate killing machine turned assassin and seeking revenge. He settles the score with his enemies in the most ruthless ways you could ever imagine.
The historical part of Birth of an Assassin didn’t spark my interest that much, but I did find intriguing the way Jez Kornfeld carries out assassinations. How he kills a perpetrator is directly related to their importance, and right down to the method or weapon he chooses to kill them was seen in some instances as an honor. I’m reminded of the eerie feeling I got when Jez grabs Nikolas by the wrist and slowly twists it to a grind. I mentally can still hear the sound of bones popping and grizzle cracking in Nikolas’ arm.
The book gave me a new perspective on human trafficking. I thought I knew a lot of details about the subject, but the book is filled with new details. The story is long and could take a week to read, if you have the time. But the good news is it’s a pace read, and it will hold your attention to keep you turning pages throughout the story. If you like thrillers filled with danger, revenge and life like characters, Birth of an Assassin is the book for you. I found the story suspenseful and well worth the read, and would highly recommend it.
Review by Merlyn:
Author Rik Stone sets Birth of an Assassin in 1947 Russia. The protagonist is a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy, Jez Kornfield who wants to become a part of the Red Army.
Stone takes readers, along with Jez, to Moscow where happenstance brings the slight young man to the attention of a KGB officer who decides to take the eager kid under his wing.
The author’s understanding of the Soviet Union’s stifling security apparatus and layers of secret police will be an education for those who haven’t read the history of these malevolent organizations.
The settings are clear and well described. Jez Kornfeld’s character grows as he grows from a naïve recruit to a deadly combatant. Scenes in which Kornfeld’s martial arts expertise is featured are accurately and clearly presented.
So is the leitmotif of the love story between Jez and Anna, that Stone expertly weaves throughout the creation of this engaging novel.
The antagonist is well drawn and is believably evil without being a cardboard boogieman. Secondary characters come to life and contribute greatly to the book’s narrative.
When I saw the length of the book, I wondered about the time it would take to read it. Surprisingly, once I was able to start, I was immersed in the fast-moving story and delighted with the experience. Highly recommended.