“The Steel Barons” by Alex Frishberg
Reviewed By: Avraham Azrieli
Avraham Azrieli writes books and screenplays. His website is: www.AzrieliBooks.com
“The Steel Barons” by Alex Frishberg is a suspenseful novel featuring a young American lawyer who, as an expat in Kiev shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, finds himself involved with a colorful cast of non-law-abiding citizens.
While the hero, who is stranded in Kiev, begins to practice law there, his universe of loan sharks, ex-KGB mercenaries, and love interests are increasingly (and ironically) lawless. In rapid succession of events, he becomes the successful owner of several steel mills and the hunted prey of several enemies. In the end, the hero’s bargains with his morality, while helpful in his rise to becoming a ‘Steel Baron,’ leads to mortal dangers and a Faustian choice between his life and his newly found kingdom. (According to the author, the story is based on real life events.)
“The Steel Barons” opens a literal window into a world that’s little known to Americans and western readers. The stage set is gritty, the plot is realistic, and the story is original and lifelike. Think “The Firm” set in Kiev, and you get the idea!
Mr. Frishberg, the author of several other works (and himself an Ukrainian-born American lawyer with extensive legal practical experience in both countries), succeeded in delivering an entertaining, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable novel. The dialogue fires with human authenticity, the Soviet-era sins (that come to haunt the sinners) are utterly fascinating, the brazen human corruption (as contrasted with human kindness and love) is mesmerizing, and the tone and tenor are genuine and engaging.
In summary, “The Steel Barons” by Alex Frishberg takes the readers on an enthralling literary overseas adventure, filled with tension and humor, thrills and laughs. This book is certain to remain memorable. Fascinating and unique!