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The Romanov Cross


Nearly one hundred years ago, a desperate young woman crawled ashore on a desolate arctic island, carrying a terrible secret and a mysterious, emerald-encrusted cross. A century later, acts of man, nature, and history converge on that same forbidding shore with a power sufficient to shatter civilization as we know it.

Army epidemiologist Frank Slater is facing a court-martial, but after his punishment is mysteriously lifted, Slater is offered a job no one else wants—to travel to a small island off the coast of Alaska and investigate a potentially lethal phenomenon: The permafrost has begun to melt, exposing bodies from a colony that was wiped out by the dreaded Spanish flu of 1918. Frank must determine if the thawed remains still carry the deadly virus in their frozen flesh and, if so, ensure that it doesn’t come back to life.Frank and his handpicked team arrive by helicopter, loaded down with high-tech tools, prepared to exhume history. The colony, it transpires, was once settled by a sect devoted to the mad Russian monk Rasputin, but there is even more hiding in the past than Frank’s team is aware of. Any hope of success hinges on their willingness to accept the fact that even their cutting-edge science has its limits—and that the ancient wisdom of the Inuit people who once inhabited this eerie land is as essential as any serum. By the time Frank discovers that his mission has been compromised—crashed by a gang of reckless treasure hunters—he will be in a brutal race against time. With a young, strong-willed Inuit woman by his side, Frank must put a deadly genie back in the bottle before all of humanity pays the price.

The Romanov Cross is at once an alternate take on one of history’s most profound mysteries, a love story as unlikely as it is inevitable, and a thriller of heart-stopping, supernatural suspense. With his signature blend of fascinating history and fantastic imagination, critically acclaimed author Robert Masello has once again crafted a terrifying story of past events coming back to haunt the present day . . . and of dark deeds aching to be unearthed.

Foreign Rights have been sold to:
Italy  (Newton Compton)
Germany  (Fischer Verlag)
Poland  (JK Publishing)
U.K.  (Vintage/ Random House)
Japan (Take Shobo Ltd.)

Praise for The Romanov Cross

“Masello takes the medical thriller, the historical novel and the ghost story and makes them into a coherent whole, permeated by a delicious sense of creeping dread . . . tense, taut, and impossible to put down.”   —  Kirkus (starred review)

“All  these elements shouldn’t work together, but they do.  The love story between Anastasia and a young recruit to the Red Guard tears at the heartstrings, and would make for a terrific stand-alone novel . . . But Masello weaves all the different threads together in a story that holds the reader’s attention from the beginning to the very end.”  — The Washington Post

”  . . . a terrifically intriguing and quickly evolving thriller . . . 500 pages of well-composed and simply but effectively plotted prose. . . Scene by scene, chapter by chapter, this book rushes along.  For all of its frozen setting, the novel seems like the perfect story to keep you turning pages through the end of winter, whether tethered to your bed by the flu or on some southern island where you might be hiding out to escape the cold.”   — Alan Cheuse, The Dallas Morning News

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