Rasputin’s Shadow: Raymond Khoury
Two men decided the fate of so many and their identities and whereabouts never revealed. Unsuspecting coal miners playing their last hand of poker never realized what was about to occur. A friendly game turned deadly but why? The fear within the eyes of the players real, the danger palpable and the two men that pulled the detonator to hide their handiwork will come back and haunt many in the present.
Sean Reilly is an FBI agent and has a bone to pick with one of his own. Forcing his son Alex to be brainwashed this rogue agent is still out there and Sean is aiming for him at all costs. But, before he can go after him events that transpire will send him and others all over the globe as the Russians have their own agenda in mind and the end result might be catastrophic. One man falls out of a window to his death while another watches his decent. Did this Russian embassy attaché commit suicide or was he pushed? An elderly woman finds herself held captive by some dangerous people while her husband, living under the guise of a high school teacher, desperately tries to find her. One man’s quest to hide his past and yet having to deal with the prospect of no future.
Leo Sokolov is living a double life. When we learn more about his past we realize he has ties to what happened to the coal miners in 1916. Finding three journals belonging to his grandfather would reveal some but not all as the reader has yet to become privy to what is written within the worn pages. Leo Sokolov is desperate and needs to find someone to help him before his wife is killed. But, the players are dangerous and when things get out of control, his van spotted the end result is seven bodies.
As a curious 14 year old Sokolov found the journals in the cellar of his “ancestral home.” Revealing information about his father, his grandfather Misha, we learn more about his life before coming to America and how he became an educator. As you read his story you begin to understand his relationship with his wife and students. Within the pages of Chapter 8 you will hear many voices and learn about a story told to him by his mother about a discovery at the Yusupov Palace and once the home of Felix Yusupov one of the self confessed murderers of Grigory Rasputin. When entering a secret room in Felix’s great grandmother’s apartment what they find will shot readers and what lies within the pages of the journal will set these events in motion. Within the pages of walls of Chapter 13 you will learn more.
Things start getting out of control as Reilly, his partner Aparo and one member of the Russian FSB need to team up to find a killer before the body count rises. Daphne Sokolov is in the presence of a dangerous man who wants information that she does not have. Using his own power of persuasion she stands firm, steadfast but will not show her fear. Undergoing whatever he hands out he realizes her knowledge about her husband’s past is limited. Two detectives dead, two Russians too and one man who seems to have murder under his control. Just who is Koschey and how and why can he get a powerful man called The Sledgehammer to bend to his will? Within this powerful story we hear the many sides and opinions of the Russians, their goals not withstanding greed, and the corruption that has them all swept up. Koschey is dangerous, not careless and leaves no stone unturned or anyone alive that can possibly link anything to him. Invisible you might say. Perfect soldier programmed to do as his superiors say but will he. To “safeguard this superior’s cushy lives and their bank accounts.” What is his real agenda? But, within this story let’s not forget that Reilly still wants to find the man who hurt his son and his resources being many we soon learn about his plan. Rasputin’s Shadow: there are many hidden ones to find!
Rasputin infiltrated himself within the court of the tsar and tsarina. He cleverly used his skill to brainwash the gullible public, the clergy and even the royal family. With the help of a special device created by Sokolov’s grandfather, Misha, he was able to convince everyone that he was a healer, their friend, could help the hungry, fix the ill, and bring many to their feet. Cunning and slick he soon convinced those in power that his abilities were so strong that he could predict things that would happen, change the outcome of events and bring people to their knees. Using Misha’s device he was able to convince the royal family that he could heal their ailing son, the Tsarina was highly religious and he used this to his advantage. The events and the descriptions described in Chapter 28 graphically depict just how Rasputin was able to become so invaluable to so many. But, without Misha’s invention so much would not have been accomplished. His actions although questionable always provided flair and dramatic quality engulfing his audiences where some would try and discount his actions most were mesmerized and could not. Becoming invaluable to the royal couple and needed for their son’s survival Misha and Rasputin were an integral part of their lives. Brain entrainment: Imagine having bad headache, feeling nauseous, feeling disoriented and not knowing why. Imagine feeling lost, feeling so sick that you wretch and your stomach hurts. But, what about the feeling that you want to kill someone and have to destroy him/her? What would you do if someone took over your mind, your emotions and thoughts and you could not stop what was happening to you?
“Brainwave Entrainment is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state (for example, to induce sleep), usually attempted with the use of specialized software. It purportedly depends upon a “frequency following” response on the assumption that the human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG frequency towards the frequency of a dominant external stimulus. Such a stimulus is often aural, as in the case of binaural or monaural beats and isochronic tones, or else visual, as with a dreamachine, a combination of the two with a mind machine, or even electromagnetic radiation.” Wikipedia. Think of the past or just maybe in the present: Brainwave Entrainment!
Think about this and wonder what would happen if someone let this lose on our population, at an event with thousands of people. Throughout the novel we learn more about Misha’s invention, how Rasputin used it and what effects it had on anyone that tried to destroy him. The ability to find out what someone is thinking without their knowledge as they divulge information to you. Scary, yet not so far fetched. When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat for example, the rhythm is reproduced in the brain in the form of these electrical impulses.
As Sokolov explains is a rhythm becomes fast and consistent enough, it can start to resemble the natural internal rhythms of the brain, called brainwaves. When this happens, the brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the same rhythm. This is commonly called the Frequency Following Response (or FFR): The technology described and the lengths they would have to go to in order to stop Koschey would endanger many people. Will they stop this mad man? What about the Russian FSB agent who seems to know just so much but is telling nothing? Who is she really and what role does she play?
Author Raymond Khoury’s research into the field of mind control, brainwaves, brainwave entrainment is extensive. As you hear Sean Reilly’s account of the information given to him by another agent, you won’t believe what he learns from the articles he receives as the reader is taken inside this dangerous science that allows people to act, react, behave in certain ways by “using auditory pulses flashing lights, electromagnetic waves or other stimuli to entrain their brains into particular states.” What can stop this might seem simple but it’s not. The incident described in Brighton Beach, the kidnapping of a young girl, and the deaths of so many people that no one could stop. Tampering with your mind and making you become something you are not! Imagine killing someone because you are programmed to do so.
The author takes us back once more to 1926 as we hear Misha’s final thoughts, what happens to Rasputin and the effect it has on Mother Russia. The book is replete with the history of Russia, the rise and fall of communism, the important part Rasputin played within the Royal family and the corruption within the Russian government. Hear Misha’s voice and understand his life when you read Chapter 64 and his journal.
The pieces of the puzzle come into place, the clarity crystal clear as Reilly races the clock with Aparo and his team to stop this madman before he uses this device one more time. Testing it, trying it out his delusions of grandeur would far surpass what many might think and just whom he wanted to join forces with would make a terrorist attack look like a walk in the park if he succeeds.
An ending so explosive, so terrifying, heart stopping and thought provoking that many questions are left unanswered, many avenues unexplored as author Raymond Khoury leaves readers with on question: What If? While Reilly races to stop a killer in the back of his mind he wants to find the one man responsible for what happened to his son. But, links are connected and some will surprise the reader and his past comes into his present and the end result will have to wait until the author writes the next chapter for Reilly. From the Cold War to Imperial Russia going inside the palace of the Royal Family, hearing the voices of those close to the tsar and tsarina just how powerful was Rasputin and where will his shadow be cast next? Imagine what he wanted? Imagine what Misha created? Imagine what Sokolov recreated and imagine that it could happen again!
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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