ARCHIVE 17 is the third book in the Inspector Pekkala series by Sam Eastland. In EYE OF THE RED TSAR, Pekkala is working for Tsar Nicholas Romanov. Ten years later, Pekkala is carrying a SHADOW PASS from Josef Stalin that allows him to go anywhere and do anything as long as it it in the best interests of the dictator. ARCHIVE 17 begins a short time later, in the fall of 1939. Germany has invaded Poland and Stalin realizes that war is inevitable. He doesn’t know which side the Soviet Union will be on but he knows that he doesn’t have the money to outfit an army. He is sure that he does know where he can get the money he needs. Stalin believes the rumors that there was a great deal of gold hidden for the Romanovs beyond Russia. Stalin sends Pekkala to a gulag as a prisoner to discover the location of the treasure.
Pekkala is ordered to get the truth about the gold from prisoners but he is up against a small group of prisoners, the Comitati, who are loyal to the tsar. But there is something more important hidden at the camp. This is a secret file hidden in Archive 17, a file that hides the details of Stalin’s bureaucracy.
Inspector Pekkala is trusted by all sides because his loyalty is not to the Romanovs nor to Stalin. Pekkala’s loyalty is to Mother Russia and, so far, the reader has seen Pekkala support whoever is in charge. Whether Pekkala can follow Stalin as his control of the country becomes a boot on the neck will remain to be seen in subsequent books that I hope are in the pipeline.