Any fascinating book should be read to the end sooner or later, and it is hardly worth resorting to a childish trick aimed at slowing down the process of reading as the final approaches. In general, this novel by Rainov can be attributed to the engrossing literature, although it can not be considered one of those literary handicrafts that are ranked as a so-called "light genre" or "mass fiction". This book, with all its apparent ease, orientation to the tastes of broad masses of readers, can be considered a model of a modern classical spy detective story, and therefore there is every reason to believe that it will easily outlive more than one decade and hundreds of reprints.
This bold prediction can be made on the basis of how deeply the author has thought the plot through, how many little things he connects, how harmoniously all these fleeting scenes, apt characteristics, hints, and guesses are strung on the main storyline. Sometimes you even wonder how Rainov did not forget closer to the middle or the end of his rather long narrative what happened at the beginning. On the contrary, - events develop logically, interconnectedly, naturally and consistently. What is worth even a brief appearance of Anna Ferrari on the storyline scene near the end of the book, which, perhaps, even the writer demanding the drawing of the plot outline would have thought unnecessary, given how much attention was paid to the relations of Boyev with this woman at the beginning of the novel.
It would seem that her function has long been exhausted, and she can be safely sent to a well-deserved rest, but tireless Rainov unexpectedly, though for a short time brings Anna into the spotlight in one of the final chapters. He does not lose sight of the executioner Rovolt too, who, as if shimmering, now suddenly appears, then just as quickly disappears both at the beginning of the book and at its end. A great surprise is also caused by how multifaced the picture of the world drawn by the author is in this novel, which action takes place in nearby European cities and therefore, it would seem, should more resemble not a versatile and complex symphony, but a simple and understandable play. On the contrary, the one that the reader recognizes Boyev at the beginning of the book little reminds Boyev in the middle of the book and quite a bit looks like the one how the main character appears to be at the end.
On the first pages, which take place on the streets of Venice, he is an attentive, though weary, observer, a slow thinker, a sarcastic critic of the surrounding reality, at some moments even an art critic and philosopher. Some time later he becomes insidious seducer, a malicious scoffer, not too flattery about the readiness of women to build relationships with lavish rich, prone to reflection faithful campaigner, was very upset by failure to comprehend it during the quest. But this is by no means all the features of his character, since Boyev, boldly jumping rooftops on a rainy night to get to the Zodiac archive, also appears as a desperate daredevil willing to risk his life for the sake of achieving his goal, and his relationship to Edith reveals in him a deep heart, lyricism, romanticism, the ability to tender feelings.
You can make sure of this during Emil's communication with Edith in business issues, and during their leisure time at the artist's party, and, of course, at the time of their secret kiss on the evening street, and during their forced return from the suburbs on a bicycle. In the end, the reader will learn that Boyev can coolly look into the face of death when the Zodiac's employees actually kidnap him and that he is able to calmly, perhaps forever, part with a woman who has long become for him much more than a colleague, and therefore separation from which for him, too, in some measure is equal to a small death. But Boyev's most amazing ability are not his versatility, ability to be cruel, sentimental, unhurried and impetuous, but his ability to constantly think about his actions in every detail and from time to time look round his whole life from the beginning of childhood.
Of course, the whole novel is based on how Boyev sees the world around him, what he thinks about it, how he assesses what is happening around him, what common moral tendencies stand out and what human qualities he focuses on. Nevertheless, the author's method of presenting the story, which makes the protagonist a constant interlocutor of the reader, is rather non-standard on the background of novels, the description of events in which comes from a third party. This allows you to be in constant psychological contact with Boev, learn about all his doubts, guesses, memories, regrets, feelings, sufferings. I must admit that the author limited Emil's emotional world to gloomy, gray and, at the best cases, lyrical moods, completely depriving him of reverie, and sending his rich imagination not to create pictures of a happy future, but to present difficult conversations with the leaders of his reconnaissance mission.
Perhaps this gray emotional series was due to the author's vision of the world and the life of the secret service agent in particular. That is why the novel seems to be so close to everyday reality, it seems to be taken from it as a bucket of water from sea waves, and can also instantly dissolve into the surrounding world if it is " thrown in " there. By the way, this is exactly what happens in the imagination of the reader who, after reading this book, does not feel at all that separation from reality, which often occurs after reading novels more based on a fictitious picture of the world. This novel is part of everyday life - rainy, cruel, full of murder, insidiousness, cunning plans, sufferings, partings, regrets. Perhaps, that is why, after its reading to an end, you can experience something like the famous catharsis, that is, the emotional purification experienced by the spectators of the ancient Greek tragedies.
This book does not lead the reader into the world of solar dreams, but constantly pours on him the rain of harsh reality, which is created in the novel by Raynov by ruthless, low, creepy people. That is why it is necessary to read it, and to the last page, to the very scene of Emil's farewell to Edith at the railway station, which has nothing to do with a happy ending pleasant to the reader, but has much in common with true life in which even people that are satisfied with their social and material situation usually want to get even more from destiny and, unable to meet this need, suffer softly. Really, there is nothing better than bad weather - after all, the bad weather exactly reflects psychological condition in which a person is immersed in everyday life - and thereby facilitates the perception of the world around him, which, like his inner world, is shrouded in gray clouds and not illuminated with bright sun.