The Metronome

As Pavel Rostin is trying to solve the mystery of his father’s death, he turns up some inexplicable clues. The investigation draws him deeper and deeper into his family’s past – and his country’s future. From starving 1941 Leningrad to free-wheeling Moscow of the mid-1990s to bubbly 2006 Wall Street, Pavel uncovers a web of money, murder, revenge and evidence of a plot involving the world’s superpowers. The choices of right and wrong don’t look as clear cut as in newspaper headlines. But is he just a pawn in someone else’s game?

Review

“As Book One of a trilogy, The Metronome‘s subtitle warns that this will be no light fling and that events will likely be expanded by further books in the series. That said, expect a novel of international intrigue that stands well on its own while providing a prequel to The Great Game.

That the ‘old country’ (Russia) permeates much of The Metronome is evident from its first paragraph, which sets an atmosphere of intrigue: “I hate when phone rings in the middle of the night. It must have come from the old country, where a knock in the dark often meant that a black car is waiting downstairs and someone will disappear.” Pavel’s father was a detective, so Pavel is used to family secrets, even though he’s now far from his Russian homeland.  But the death of his father brings him back to Russia; there to uncover a mystery that will follow him, in turn, back to the U.S.

The Metronome‘s theme of memories that spring up is just one facet of Pavel’s experience that brings readers along for what turns out to be a wild ride of international intrigue, family secrets, and mystery. Don’t expect a simple or easily-defined novel, here: The Metronome is a link between Russia and the West, between long-hidden family secrets and a son’s new life in his new country, and between a detective’s investigation into a murder and its ties to the past and to the future. The book’s twists and turns are multifaceted and delicately woven and will delight readers who eschew the usual shallow leisure read for something richer and steeped in other cultures. In this, The Metronome shines, analyzing Pavel’s life and the final decision that will set him free, once and for all.”

D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Readers’ Comments

What makes great history? I’d list criteria such as 1) important event(s), 2) careful research, and 3) compelling writing. What makes a great story? I’d suggest A) fascinating, page-turning plot, B) well-developed, interesting characters, with one or more that is at least somewhat likable, C) strong setting, and D) compelling writing. The Metronome (The Counterpoint Trilogy Book 1) scores close to 5 stars on each of these criteria.”  By William C. Meade

“This is a great book, well written, far above the average books, not so much i terms of the prose itself, but the depth of knowledge and analysis of world affairs.”  By Martin Kaynan

“The Metronome is a prequel to D.R.Bell’s earlier novel The Great Game. Set in 2006, it foreshadows the events that take place a dozen years later. As in the sequel, the political and personal realms are deeply interconnected. Elements of a long term political intrigue and clandestine financial warfare get exposed through the eyes of the book’s primary protagonist Pavel Rostin, a physicist with no ties to politics. The novel explores the differences between the West and the East, the impact and perception of the U.S. policies in Russia and how these factors impact their actions towards us. Parallels to totalitarian Russia highlight the perils of allowing the government, especially its security apparatus, too much power – one of the most dangerous fallacies that democratic people can fall into – recall Ben Franklin’s “They who can give up essential Liberty, to obtain a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”.”  By Spiros Rally

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From the Author

This was an unplanned book. After publishing The Great Game, I was going to return to my “normal” life. Then questions about a sequel started coming in. The last words in The Great Game are “This is not the end.” I meant it philosophically, meaning that the struggle between good and evil will continue. But I was being too cute by half and the readers called me on it.

Somewhere in the process of working on a sequel I have taken a turn into the past. Events in The Great Game are based on the 2019 financial crisis which in turn is rooted in financial warfare between the US on one side and China and Russia on the other side. I wanted to go back in time and show the beginning of that warfare, show that the seeds have been planted and carefully cultivated well before 2019.

And something else started happening. Some of the events “predicted” in The Great Game began to materialize much sooner than I expected, particularly rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia and growing rapprochement of China and Russia.  Exactly a century after events in Eastern Europe sparked the first World War, another conflict of superpowers is brewing in the same region. Yet again the world is getting caught in a cycle of demonizing each other and ratcheting conflicts by financial, economic and military means. Perhaps before we go further, we should step back and try to look at the world through the eyes of others. Not because we’ll necessarily agree with them, but because the world is complex and to better understand it we should grasp that other points of view exist and that our actions are not always perceived in Moscow and Beijing the same way they are portrayed in Washington, D.C.

These were the intended underlying currents in The Metronome. Because The Metronome and The Great Game are separated by 16 years, by design there are only a few common characters between the two books. One is Colonel Nemzhov who is already planning the eventual financial attack against the U.S. The other is Suzy Yamamoto, whose work will prove to be of paramount importance in The Great Game. The characters of The Metronome are made up but the backdrop of the events is real and factual. The main protagonist Pavel Rostin is a regular, very flawed man who faces difficult circumstances. I knew that the ending will upset some of the readers but I felt it was the only honest way to conclude the novel. What mattered in the trilogy was not his immediate fate or his flaws, but the moral choices he made at the end and their impact on others, such as Jeff Kron and Suzy Yamamoto. Because “even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”