William Ryan is an Irish writer, living in London - having worked as a lawyer in the City for a number of years. In his spare time, he wrote on an occasional basis for television and film before completing a Masters in Creative Writing at St Andrews University in 2005.
His debut novel, THE HOLY THIEF, is the first in a series of cases and adventures for Alexei Korolev, a detective working for the Moscow Criminal Investigation Division in 1930s Russia.
Author photo copyright © Kate Eshelby
Captain Alexei Korolev returns ...but lives in an uneasy peace his new-found knowledge is dangerous, and if it is discovered what his real actions were during the case, he will face deportation to the frozen camps of the far north. But when the knock on the door comes, in the dead of night, it is not Siberia Korolev is destined for. Instead, Colonel Rodinov of the NKVD security service asks the detective to look into the suspected suicide of a young woman: Maria Alexandovna Lenskaya, a model citizen. Korolev is unnerved to learn that Lenskaya had been of interest to Ezhov, the feared Commissar for State Security. Ezhov himself wants to matter looked into. And when the detective arrives on the set for Bloody Meadow, in the bleak, battle-scarred Ukraine, he soon discovers that there is more to Lenskaya's death than meets the eye.
Shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for Best Historical Crime Novel of the Year Shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year Moscow, 1937. Captain Korolev, a police investigator, is enjoying a long-overdue visit from his young son Yuri when an eminent scientist is shot dead within sight of the Kremlin and Korolev is ordered to find the killer. It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power. When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors' dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he's caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD. And then his son Yuri goes missing ...A desperate race against time, set against a city gripped by Stalin's Great Terror and teeming with spies, street children and Thieves, The Twelfth Department confirms William Ryan as one of the most compelling historical crime novelists at work today.
One of our Debuts of the Year 2011. March 2011 Debut of the Month. The Holy Thief brilliantly evokes a society that has broken down and rules of human behaviour that are hard for us to imagine. We are in Stalinist Russia between the wars. Everyone has to be careful of what they say and who they say it to .Young people have to learn when not to say what is on their minds. 'Even the innocent (are) jumping at shadows these days'. Rank is important. 'The colonel placed a slight emphasis on Korolev's rank, just enough to remind Korolev of the thinness of the ice under his feet'. In this world, Korolev is ordered to solve a gruesome murder but does the culprit exist inside or outside the system? Who can he trust? Where can he turn? Whatever he does, he has to tread carefully. This beautifully written, finely judged novel is up there with the likes of Le Carre, thoughtful and thought-provoking: intelligently written and thoroughly readable.
Learn the craft of effective storytelling with the Writers' & Artists' Guide to How to Write. Novelist William Ryan introduces the techniques needed to construct, craft and draft a novel. He provides tried-and-tested examples and details on what to consider when writing for any audience, across any genre. Each chapter tackles a key aspect of the writing process, including how to: structure a novel, develop central and subsidiary characters, create atmosphere and tension, write punchy dialogue and pacey scenes. This is the perfect guide for any writer looking for clear and informed advice on getting their ideas on to the page from the bestselling and trusted creative writing brand.
What if all time were present, if that were the ultimate gift of consciousness: to know it and to walk among its phantasms, fears, constructs, contentions, and wild inscrutable junk? Who would even dare to imagine such a result for the human project? William Ryan, that's who, and he has done it in this magnificent and sinuous sequences in which the poems grow from fourteen line sonnets to sixteen line sonnets and culminate in a Coda of over 300 lines. It is a monumental work of the imagination, all of it delivered in a language of dark and surreal speed that teaches a whole new form of thoughtfulness.
Moscow, 1936, and Stalin's Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD-the most feared organization in Russia-becomes involved. Soon, Korolev's every step is under close scrutiny and one false move will mean exile to The Zone, where enemies of the Soviet State, both real and imagined, meet their fate in the frozen camps of the far north. Committed to uncovering the truth behind the gruesome murder, Korolev enters the realm of the Thieves, rulers of Moscow's underworld. As more bodies are discovered and pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust and who, in a Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevail, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life. William Ryan's remarkable debut will storm into ten countries in what is sure to be an international publishing event. With Captain Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us-the truth.