I have been a fan of Frank Schildiner's tales of Frankenstein's Monster and Napoleon’s Vampire Hunters for some time. Recently I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy of Schildiner's latest novel - an historical novel entitled The Klaus Protocol, and I have to say this this his best work yet.

Opening in 1938 (the year my late father was born, which made the story all the more interesting for me on a personal level) then flashing back to incidents that occurred two years previously, the novel follows the adventures of one Konstantin Kalinin, Captain in the Soviet Army, who finds himself investigating the murder of three military men  who appear to have been trailing Kalinin. Of course the killings are just part of a much larger drama, and during the course of his investigation Kalinin and a young woman named Ekaterina Lepyokhin find themselves immersed in a tale of danger and intrigue worthy of Ian Fleming himself. (Fitting, given Schildiner's stated fondness for the creator of James Bond.)

To say any more would be cheating the reader (no spoiler alert necessary - the reader deserves the opportunity to experience this tale for himself). But suffice it to say that I was highly impressed both with the skill of Schildiner's storytelling and the complexity of the story itself. It is a testimony to that skillful storytelling - and the manner in which the protagonist Kalinin is depicted - that I came away from this book hopeful that we may find ourselves treated to further adventures of the character at some point.

Peppered with appearances by actual figures from Soviet history (including one who also appeared in one of Fleming's 007 thrillers) and chock full of the kind of historical color that have made me such a fan of such writers as Max Allen Collins and Louis L'Amour, The Klaus Protocol is one of the finest works of its kind that I have read in some time. His governmental ties notwithstanding, Konstantin Kalinin is both a likable and believable character and in the end every bit as heroic as many of those in our own culture.

In summary: If you are an aficionado of historical fiction or detective stories well told, you owe it to yourself to read The Klaus Protocol. It really is that good.