Study Guide

Child 44 Chapter 6

By Tom Rob Smith

Chapter 6

Thirty Kilometers North of Moscow, 15 February

  • The mood is tense on the road to Kimov. Leo's crew (Vasili especially) is skeptical of Leo's decision—Leo even takes the wheel himself because he suspects the driver of getting lost on purpose.
  • They arrive at the small village. Before getting out of the truck, Leo ingests some methamphetamines—a habit he picked up during WWII from his Nazi foes.
  • The MGB officers locate Mikhail's property and begin "searching the house" (2.6.47). Brodsky is no longer in the barn; Leo discovers footprints leading into the fields.
  • Leo sprints towards the tracks in a drug-addled haze, two officers trailing far behind. He can see Brodsky in the distance, though it looks like he'll reach the forest before Leo can catch up.
  • Suddenly, Brodsky stops. Leo's confused until he gets closer and sees the "ice-covered river" separating them from the woods (2.6.66).
  • Brodsky decides that he'd rather die than be captured, stomping on the ice until it cracks. Bravely—and foolishly—Leo dives in after him.
  • Somehow, Leo manages to pull Brodsky out alive. His two comrades finally catch up to them and build a fire.
  • On their way back to the farm, Brodsky tells Leo that the family refused to help him. Leo claims to have "no interest in [his] friends" (2.6.105).
  • To Leo and Brodsky's shock, they find Mikhail, his wife, and their two daughters on their knees in the snow, hands tied behind their backs. Vasili is holding a gun.
  • Leo orders him to stop, but Vasili doesn't care: he shoots both adults in the head. "Pretending to be satisfied," he tells the daughters that they should have learned their lesson (2.6.115).
  • Suddenly, Leo walks up to Vasili and pistol-whips him in the face. Well, we don't typically advocate violence, but if anyone deserved it…