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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Queen K by Sarah Thomas

This highly anticipated debut novel uncovers the hidden secrets of the Russian super-rich.

On a balmy evening in late March, an oligarch’s wife hosts a party on a super yacht moored in the Maldives. No expense has been spared in styling the ostentatious event with fresh orchids, priceless art and place cards for celebrity guests. There’s even a red carpet on the landing dock, flanked by uniformed staff. This is what Kata has wanted for a long time – acceptance into the world of high society. But who is coming between Kata and her goal?

Queen K follows Mel, a young English woman, who is employed to tutor Kata’s daughter and navigate her through the class codes of English society. Now, as hired help to the wealthy, she’s resentful. As an observer, close to the family but above the staff, Mel is transfixed by the family’s endless wealth. Author Sarah Thomas also explores the family’s origin story, explaining how they obtained their wealth in Russia.

However, as Mel visits some of the most luxurious places in the world, she also witnesses corruption and violence. Chapter by chapter, the ambition, exploitation and betrayal builds towards a dramatic finale. Can a story of insatiable material desire and wealth without limits end any other way than in tragedy?

Queen K is enjoyably voyeuristic and a great compulsive holiday read. The novel was inspired by the author’s experience working for billionaire families as a private tutor. Sarah Thomas lives in London and this is her first novel.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Serpent’s Tale


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