Follow TBR on TwitterFollow TBR on Facebook

TBR Featured Review

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

Be prepared to take a trip when reading When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss. This trip will be unlike any one you have ever taken before. That is unless you were in your 20s, living in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the East coast, more 

Book By Author:  Audrey Lynn

A Better Man
 A Better Man
 Action / Adventure
 0615449689 9780615449685

The Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse, so is one man. 

Vladimir Verstakov was a 23 year old construction worker when called to serve his country in the fight against  Afghanistan. He emerges the lone survivor after a brutal ambush along the country's rugged Salang Pass. Now home in Russia with his loving wife, Vladimir finds each day a struggle as he is plagued by violent memories of war.

He must find something to believe in, a shred of hope if he is to survive after the war has ended.

A Better Man is one soldier's journey to quell the demons of war. 

Date Reviewed:   



A new unsung hero emerges in this poignant action adventure.


A Better Man by Audrey Lynn surprised me. To start off, it had a very strong prologue that captured the feel of the declining Soviet Union in the early 80s at a solo violin concert. It was a time of transition. The novel then moves into the life of Vladimir Verstakov in Sverdlovsk, Russia, an ex Soviet foot soldier who had recently survived Afghanistan. Vladimir is a married man devoted to his wife but consumed with demons of his past. This is where I think that this novel becomes a winner; through the use of flashbacks, we now have two stories. Vladimir with his army convoy traveling through Afghanistan and Vladimir trying to survive the aftermath back at home in Russia. His love for his wife and need for redemption with her propels him to become a better man.
Lynn, the author, deftly writes the transitions from reality to flashbacks and back again using triggers. These are the demons to Vladimir, never knowing when a certain noise, smell or vision will send him back to the horror of war. We quickly see that he is heading down a dark spiral that he may not ever get out of and he may drag down his loved ones with him. This is where the real story unfolds at the bottom of despair. He is befriended by a policeman that also fought in the war. He tells Vladimir that he needs to find his Iskra, something to believe in, to grab hold of to keep his sanity. Vladimir tries to find his Iskra before it is too late but he runs into many deadly obstacles along the way. At the same time we are following a younger Vladimir with his comrades trying to stay alive in the deadly hills of Afghanistan.
Lynn’s writing style makes it easy go back and forth with Vladimir’s two lives. She also shows a Russia that we rarely read about, at the time of national change from the Russian perspective and the start of capitalism even before the fall. She also shows the Russian view of the Afghanistan war from a foot solider that is similarly being played out right now but by other combatants. History repeats itself.
A Better Man is a story that made me sit back and surprisingly, think about what my Iskra is, or have I found it yet? I think everyone needs to find his or her Iskra. Lynn has created an unsung hero in the character of Vladimir and I am really looking forward to reading the next novel in the A Better Man series, Vital Presence.


Author Details

Back to author listing and Review search

Audrey Lynn Author:  Audrey Lynn