No sophomore slump for [a:Tom Rob Smith|981834|Tom Rob Smith|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1254868572p2/981834.jpg]. [b:The Secret Speech|6045456|The Secret Speech (Leo Demidov, #2)|Tom Rob Smith|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344268628s/6045456.jpg|6221043] is better than [b:Child 44|2161733|Child 44 (Leo Demidov, #1)|Tom Rob Smith|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326549060s/2161733.jpg|2167258].
“The Secret Speech” continues from where “Child 44” left off. Leo and Raisa are living with their two adopted girls, Zoya and Elena. But Zoya hates Leo for killing her parents and is seeking revenge. Meanwhile, Leo and Raisa are desperately trying to hold their family together.
While the troubles are brewing in the mismatched family, a new character, Fraera, yet another ghost from Leo’s guilt laden past comes back to haunt him. Her retaliatory actions would compel Leo to face the hardships of a transit ship (the infamous Gulag death ships), freezing hells of the Siberian Gulags and finally would plunge him and Raisa into the centre of a people’s uprising against their oppressive Communist rulers.
While “Child 44” suffered from the want of a more tightly woven plot, “The Secret Speech” more than delivers on that front. Initially, the plot seemed a bit far-fetched and unconvincing to me, but Smith wraps it all up quiet nicely in the end. Although this book is written in the same style as “Child 44”, the prose seems much refined here than in the previous book.
It’s a good sign that Tom Rob Smith seems to be improving as an author but I am not sure if a third book was required in the series as even the sub-plots from the first book are nicely wrapped up by the end of “The Secret Speech”. So, even though I liked the first two books, I am not sure whether I would read [b:Agent 6|8501590|Agent 6 (Leo Demidov, #3)|Tom Rob Smith|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344266248s/8501590.jpg|13367518] or not. Maybe it’s time for Smith to write a new book with different characters now. Leave Leo alone.
But as far as “The Secret Speech” is concerned, I highly recommend that you read it.