Moscow, 1938. As Stalin's economic plans roll out across the country, and the unions buckle beneath impossible targets; as Europe rumbles on towards war, and the NKVD tightens its stranglehold on the nation, the star striker for Spartak, champions of the USSR, and the workers' football team, is struck down by a virulent strain of love-sickness and refuses to get out of bed. The eyes of Moscow are upon him, and with a critical game against Dynamo (the team of the secret police) in only a few days time, Spartak's unbeaten run looks set to end. Which would, perhaps, be no bad thing. For the eyes of the secret police are unwaveringly trained on Copic and Tomsky, the manager and trainer for Spartak, who are faced with the choice between throwing the championship, or placing their lives, and those of their team mates in unequivocal, terrible danger. Love affairs, conspiracies, vodka-soaked evenings, the settling of old scores and the making of impossible choices, are all played out against the frozen Moscow landscape in this sparkling, suspenseful and vibrant second novel.
Tariq Goddard was born in London in 1975. He studied philosophy at King's College London and the University of Warwick. He is currently writing his third novel, 'War Pigs.'