The Red Symbol

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Author: John Ironside
Published: 1909
Language: English
Wordcount: 93,085 / 265 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 65.6
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,572
Added to site: 2010.04.02 27214

One of those once in a while remarkably good stories, with a charming, elusive heroine, with a capital hero, with a perplexing enigma, and with stirring adventures among a secret society of Nihilists, the three elements of romance, mystery, and action are given equal share in the development of a fascinating and complete novel.

Show Excerpt

oked up at me, with a charming smile, in which I thought I detected a trace of contrition for her hasty condemnation of me.

"An accident? You are hurt?" she asked impulsively.

"No, it happened to some one else; and it concerns you, Cassavetti," I continued, addressing him, for, as I confessed that I was unhurt, Anne's momentary flash of compunction passed, and her perverse mood reasserted itself. With a slight shrug of her white shoulders she resumed her dinner, and though she must have heard what I told Cassavetti, she betrayed no sign of interest.

In as few words as possible I related the circumstances, suppressing only any mention of the discovery of Anne's portrait in the alien's possession, and our subsequent interview in my rooms. I remembered the man's terror of Cassavetti--or Selinski--as he had called him, and his evident conviction that he was in some way connected with the danger that threatened "the gracious lady," who, alas, seemed determined to be anything but gracious to me


Average Rating of 5 from 3 reviews: *****
Leah A. Zeldes

An exciting novel that catches you up in its action at the outset and keeps you there till the end. Set amid the Russian revolution of 1905, the story covers the experiences of Maurice Wynn, an American journalist who goes to St. Petersburg as a correspondent for a London journal after his predecessor was murdered. Just before leaving London, he gets a visit from a mysterious old Russian, who tells him that the woman he loves is in danger. Then he finds his upstairs neighbor stabbed to death, and discovers the man was mixed up in a secret Russian radical society.

After arrival in Russia, he hears a panicked call for help from a passing carriage, and realizes it's his English girlfriend, Anne, whom he had thought was in Berlin. She's been kidnapped by the revolutionaries, who say she is Anna Petrovna, an avid revolutionary, who was one of their leaders. They now believe her for a traitor who has betrayed their secrets, and they plan to kill her. Thus Wynn moves from disinterested journalist to an active participant in the fomenting terrors and violent uprisings of 19th-century Russia.

This is the sort of book you want to never end. The ending is anticlimactic and less believable than the rest, but until then it's all breathless action, with a little Russian history thrown in.

Linda Otto

Wow! This was a ride. It is action packed. You will definitely keep turning the pages. Enjoy!


While mystery fans should expect a main storyline heavy with romantic adventure, history buffs will get some revolution action and learn that pogroms are Russian inventions. The murder and the puzzle around A.P. is resolved only at the end of this fast-paced and well-written novel.

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