The Translator by Harriet Crawley

The Translator by Harriet Crawley

Having studied Russian and Soviet Studies at University, I have always been fascinated by the country and its politics. These days with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, we are talking about Russia on a daily basis, with everyone wondering what could happen next. So I was fascinated by the premise of this book and keen to read it.

It’s September 2017 and we meet our hero in the Scottish Highlands. He is forty-one year old Clive Franklin, who works as a Russian language expert in the British Foreign Office. He unexpectedly receives a phone call saying he has to go to Moscow the next day. He’s been asked to be the interpreter for the British Prime Minister, Martha Maitland, at a meeting with President Serov. Although Clive is soon asked to listen to what the Russians are saying. Maybe the gap between translator and spy is not so big after all?

While he’s in Russia, he is reunited with Marina Volina, his former lover and now the interpreter to the Russian President. Marina is forty years old and is suffering the recent death of her foster son. Both Clive and Marina are great characters and you care about them straight away and hope things turn out well for them.

I don’t want to write too much about the plot, because I think it’s better to discover it through reading the book itself. But it all gets rather exciting and there’s a lot at stake! And Clive and Marina have to work together to try to sort it all out.

Being set in 2017, the novel feels contemporary, but the subject matter doesn’t have to deal with the war against Ukraine, which would be a different kind of book. I liked the modern feel though and enjoyed reading about Russia and how it all looks and feels. The descriptions feel very authentic and I could easily picture the settings. The author’s love for all the good things about Russia really shines through.

The story was easy to get into. I liked Clive from the first page and I was interested to see what was going to happen. The font in the book is a good size too and the chapters are ideal – not too long, not too short. The novel is a really well-written and well-paced political thriller with a bit of everything in there – romance, spies, drama, all sorts.


“A classic thriller of the new Cold War!” Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad

A novel about a Russian plot to cut the undersea communication cables linking the US to the UK. Also, a passionate love story between two people determined to stop this cataclysmic act.

Written by an insider: Harriet Crawley lived in Moscow for many years, working in the energy sector at a time of exploding wealth concentration and increasingly violent political repression.

A genre-bending story that sustains the difficult balancing act of melding a rekindled yet passionate love story with a tale of espionage.

Behind the scenes in Moscow, from the Kremlin to the Lubyanka, by way of wonderfully satirical set pieces of extravagant parties on the shores of Crimea, where the President’s yacht dwarfs the cruiser Moskva, the Russian Black Sea flagship.

The Story: Moscow, September 2017. Clive Franklin, a Russian language expert in the Foreign Office, is summoned unexpectedly to the city to act as translator for the British Prime Minister. His life is turned on its head when, after more than a decade, he discovers that his former lover, Marina Volina, is now the interpreter to the Russian President.

At the embassy, Clive learns of a Russian plot to cut the undersea cables linking the US to the UK which would paralyse communications and collapse the Western economy. Marina stuns Clive with the news that she’s ready to help stop the attack, betraying her country for a new identity and a new life.

The Author: Harriet Crawley has been a journalist, writer, and art dealer, worked in television and radio, and stood for the Westminster and European Parliaments. For almost twenty years Harriet had one foot in Moscow where she launched a technical publishing business for a Russian oil and gas company. She speaks five languages and this is her fifth book.

Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My second novel is out now - a second chance romance set at the seaside - STARTING AGAIN IN SILVER SANDS BAY.

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