Excuse my Russian – The Bookworm by Mitch Silver – Book review for NetGalley

35407567.jpg The Bookworm

Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?

Europe, 1940: It’s late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery’s library and then escapes.

London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery—a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of “a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?” One viewer knows better: it’s all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together—and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent—is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, “Lara the Bookworm,” to her friends. She’s also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.

In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward—actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill. She will understand precisely why that leather Bible, scooped up by the Nazis and deposited on the desk of Adolf Hitler days before he planned to attack Britain, played such a pivotal role in turning his guns to the East. And she will discover the new secret pact negotiated by the nefarious Russian president and his newly elected American counterpart—maverick and dealmaker—and the evil it portends.

Oh, and she’ll reconcile with her husband.


Oh, my, where do I start? I guess I’d start with the easiest part. I’ve read the book. I made myself to finish it. I perceived. I am actually proud of myself for doing so.

I’d wanted to tell you that it (book) gets better with the course of narration. It does not. It actually gets worse.

I think publishers should think twice or even re-think it at all if they want to market this book to Russian-speaking readers. The author should have done his research properly. Oh, an idea, he should have gotten a native Russian-speaking consultants. Mr Silver silvers the narrative with Russian words and phrases. Some of them are so ridiculous they are not even funny. Others are incidental and out of place. The rest… the rest are just plainly stupid.

Starting from the main character: her name is all wrong. A woman like her (Jew/Muslim, a daughter of exiled parents) could have never been allowed to work in Military Archives… Hello…

The rest is even better. Excuse my Russian, but the whole narrative of this book, including all the plot lines are ‘pritianuta za ushi’  are so far-fetched they stop being interesting very early on.

As for the main idea of the book. Hello, please open Google



‘From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people,
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop;
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.’

Also …

‘Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing.’

What happened: On April 20, 1889 Hitler was born in Western Europe, to very poor parents.

Hitler moved Germany to action in the years following WW I, in part, (who by his tongue)through his over the top oratory skills.

(His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.) The Axis alliance with Japan in the East. Hister is believed to be a spelling error.

The German Army invading France (Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers) and the ‘greater battlefield’ refers to the Allied Powers defeating Hitler.

Here it is in black and white. There is no need to make a mystery out of it.

What makes this book is a bunch of ridiculous, unbelievable situations that somehow got wrapped up at the end. Starting from Military Archives, to the convoluted trip around Moscow, to speeding on the Ring Road and firing guns on Red Square.

Yes, Moscow in The Bookworm is a place of decay and ruin…. What the

We live in the global village. We have access to the internet. Why are we still made to believe in ‘bears on the streets’ and ‘rations and shortages’…

Russian salad of ‘beets and cucumbers, no lettuce’ really takes the cake…

Don’t waste your time.


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