To take back life, one must first face death...
One man stripped of his freedom, his morals...his life.
Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unremorseful, unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. Death and brutality are the masters of his fate.
After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge...bloody, slow and violent revenge.
Revenge on the man who lied.
Revenge on the man who wronged him.
Revenge on the man who condemned him and turned him into this: a rage-fueled killing machine. A monster void of humanity; a monster filled with hate.
And no one will stand in the way of getting what he wants.
One woman stripped of her freedom, her morals...her life.
Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Triad’ bosses of New York's Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring—The Dungeon—ensures too many enemies lurk at their door.
She dreams to be set free.
Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. As manager of her father’s death match enterprise, only grief and pain fill her days. Her mafia boss father, in her world, rules absolute. And her fiancé, Alik Durov, is no better; the Dungeon’s five-time champion, a stone-cold killer, the treasured son of her father’s best friend, and her very own—and much resented—personal guard. Unrivaled in both strength and social standing, Alik controls every facet of Kisa’s life, dominates her every move; keeps her subdued and dead inside...then one night changes everything.
While working for her church—the only reprieve in her constant surveillance—Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone. He’s a man beyond saving, and a man she must quickly forget...for both their sakes.
But when weeks later, out of the blue and to her complete surprise, he’s announced as the replacement fighter in The Dungeon, Kisa knows she’s in a whole lot of trouble. He’s built, ripped and lethally unforgiving to his opponents, leaving fear in his wake and the look of death in his eyes.
Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man...this man they call Raze.
Review by Amanda
WOW! After reading this book - I literally had to put down my kindle and walk away. This story is not for the faint hearted. It is gritty, hard core and almost painful to read at times. It is dark story telling at its finest and I promise will leave you reeling - asking yourself "What did I just read?"
This is the story of the Russian Mafia leaders children and centres around Kisa, Alik and Luka. Kisa is the daughter of the leader of the Russian Mafia. She is engaged to Alik - he is the son of Abram, the muscle of the mafia. Alik is also the prize fighter of the mafia. He fights in the underground, and is known as The Butcher. He takes pleasure in killing, is brutal and INSANE. The only person that calms Alik is Kisa - but she is also deathly afraid of him. She is not allowed out in public without him, unless it is to go to church. She is not allowed to wear clothing unless it is approved by him. Alik controls her, and by acquiecsing to his will, she knows she saves herself from his wrath.
Kisa had always felt that she was destined to be Luka - he was the other half of her soul, and they were a matched pair. They have been promised to one another since Kisa was born. Although when we meet them they are both only teenagers, we see that they are connected and that they are destined to be together.
"They were always mean to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds. Years would pass. They would both be hurt. They would both be sad, but one day, when they least expected it, they would stumble into each other's paths. The question is: would they recognize each other's sould? And would they find their way back to love....?"
However, an event when they were teenagers leaves Luka and her brother dead. Although she is initially petrified of Alik - there is no one left to turn to and she takes solace in his arms and his friendship. She is claimed by Alik. They develop a dysfunctional relationship where Alik cannot see any reason without Kisa with him. He wants to marry her. He wants her with him at all times. He wants to rule her, dominate her, and he wants her chained to him.
We also get introduced to Raze/818. He fights in the Gulag, an operation run by the Georgian's. They recruit boys, train them to fight, fill them with testosterone and all kinds of other drugs to make them fighting machines. These boys are tortured and trained to within an inch of their life. Memories are wiped clean and soon fighting is all they know. Only 1 thing keep s 818 going all these years... REVENGE and the name Alik Durov. He has written this name inside of his cell - and although at this point he has forgotten what it means, because of all the drugging and torturing that has occured, he knows revenge is the only thing that will save him.
Only the victorious survive - the rest are cast aside. Known only by numbers - their humanity is stripped from them and they become unrecognizable from the boys they once were. As he grows up in these Gulag's, 818 is taken under the wing of 362. Both are fighting demons - they also fortunately never have to fight one another, as they are both champions of the Gulag and the Georgian's realise if either of them die, they will lose a lot of money.
One night at the Gulag - things go horribly wrong and the fighters are allowed to escape. Both 362 and 818 are freed and each of them follow their own path to get their revenge.
818 arrives in Brooklyn where Alik is fighting in his underground Dungeon, and manages to secure a spot. He is drawn to Kisa and the two strike up a kind of friendship. Kisa cannot understand initially why she feels so drawn to him - but soon the truth is revealed... IT WILL SHOCK YOU! A truly WTF moment.
The fighting scenes are brutal - and they are so well written, it feels as though you are sitting in the front row, and you can almost smell the sweaty bodies of the fighters.
818 is perfectly written. I actually don't know what more to say than that. He is abused, damaged, fragile but at the same time he is this maniacal fighting machine that wreaks chaos and destruction on the other men he fights. I was petrified of him, but at the same time, my heart ached for everything he had endured.
Kisa is a character that I couldn't really relate to, I wished that she had a bit more of a backbone, especially considering that she is a mafia princess and that her father is the head of the Bratva. I know she is damaged because of how she is treated by Alik - but I wish she had been a bit stronger.
I am giving this book 4 stars. I love Tillie Cole and her writing. Her books seem to be getting darker and darker. She has found a genre which she just excels at. This book will leave you gutted, and with a book hangover rivaling none!
Meet Tillie Cole
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish, which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.
Having been born and raised as a Teesside Smoggie, Tillie, at age nineteen, moved thirty miles north to the 'Toon', Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where she attended University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Religious Studies. She returned two years later to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching High School Social Studies. She regards Newcastle to be a home from home and enjoyed the Newcastle Geordie way of life for seven 'proper mint', 'lush' years.
Tillie, from a very young age has been part of the theatre community and loves nothing more than to entertain through the mediums of cheerleading, dance, drama and singing (sometimes in the rain). She can also be found in nightclubs around the world imitating her favourite artists alongside her crazy BFF's - The Teesside Massive - or, sat on the front row at the theatre bopping along to her favourite musical, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show ', clad in a only a maids outfit, clutching a bag of rice and sporting a vibrant shade of red lipstick.
One summers day, after finishing reading her thousandth book on Kindle, Tillie turned to her husband and declared, "D'you know, I have a great idea for a story. I could write a book." Several months later, repeating the same tired line, she was scolded by her husband to shut up talking about writing a novel and 'just bloody do it!' Immediately she set off on a crazy journey, delving deep into her fertile imagination. Tillie, ever since, has written from the heart. She combines her passion for anything camp and glittery with her love of humour and dark brooding men (most often muscled and tattooed - they're her weakness!).
After years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or in her dream of pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap, Stetson-wearing cowgirl... Ye-haw
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