by Joseph Finder ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 1, 1990
Everything you always knew about the Soviet Union is wrong. Lenin was poisoned by Stalin's order; before he died he drafted a letter condemning the USSR as proof of communism's failure; and the obligatory KGB head who now wants to depose Gorbachev is a mole placed years before by a group of CIA adventurers--in this overblown, entertaining first novel by Kremlin-watcher Finder (Red Carpet, 1983). Soon after Charlie Stone, a patrician CIA analyst whose father did time in the McCarthy days for passing information to the Soviets, first hears about the ""Lenin Testament,"" he becomes convinced that knowing what happened to the letter in 1953 will help clear his father; so even though he's warned off by both Alfred Stone and well-connected godfather Winthrop Lehman, he lures his beautiful, brainy TV newscaster wife, Charlotte Harper, back from separation to help him rifle Lehman's secret files. The files disclose red-hot information about the trail of the letter (which would undermine the entire basis for the Soviet Union if made public) and also ignite a firestorm of murders--his father, his boss, everybody who has any knowledge of the letter's contents or existence. While Stone races from Boston to Washington to Chicago to Paris dodging the police and CIA-financed KGB assassins (touching evidence of warmer superpower relations), and while Finder works like a beaver to emphasize how important this all is (""This was it. At last, after all these decades""), that KGB head is laying a false trail of terrorist violence in Moscow in preparation for his plan to blow up both Gorbachev and a visiting US delegation headed by the President--and to blame the whole plot on the CIA. Hyperbolic and overscaled--but compulsively readable: The elaborate links between the family history of Finder's man-on-the-run and the history of Soviet Russia turn Stone into a think-tank Rambo--an irresistible figure of unbridled fantasy--and his adventures into an escapist knockout.
Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1990
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1990
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