Empires and Kings by A.C. Bextor
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Intense and intricate mafia story.
Vlad is the head of his area in the vast reach of the Russian mafia. He is a force to be reckoned with. Not much for conversation with the air of power that surrounds him. Not only a fierce leader he is protective of those he hold dear. He tries to keep those he cares about out of his business and has no desire to pass his torch to the next generation. He is quite the character; he is bold and a brute, then tender and thoughtful.
"...much like the eagle, is intense, powerful and vast."
At just five years old Klara witnesses something that no child ever should. But that moment in time seals her fate for the next 15 years. Living in Vlad's home with his family she is like a fixture, something meant to be there but one that is mostly ignored by the head of the house. Until she becomes the topic of much debate and is finally recognized as an adult. While living quietly in the shadows of a very loud family she is not a wall-flower. She can be demanding and is not shy about her feelings. A pure and good soul with an understanding beyond her years.
"A piece of you will always belong to me. That will never change."
Besides the push and pull, back and forth, tender and forceful interactions between Vlad and Klara there is a dangerous story unfolding around them. Vlad has an enemy who has been waiting for the right time to strike and that time is upon them. Loyalties and trust are questioned and no one is safe.
This was heavy read, there is a lot of moving pieces and dark corners to explore. There are a lot of characters who all play a part in the overall story. A story which is not yet over, there is still planning happening and a retribution that needs to be handed down. The end is almost unsettling because you don't know what is coming next. This is not the last we will see of the two main characters and one can only speculate how they are going to fare after the devastation they just encountered.
View all my reviews