In his debut, Thompson delivers a Cold War thriller with an unusual twist.
In a desperate attempt by the dying Soviet Union to boost its failing economy in the 1980s, its leaders devise a plan to create revolutionary fervor in Great Britain. The ultimate goal: bring about a regime change that will ally the U.K. with the USSR. To that end, Soviet operatives convince radical members of the British coal miners’ union to foment unrest among the working classes, hoping to provoke a general strike that will, in turn, lead to governmental collapse. To accomplish this goal, the head of the KGB uses moles in the British secret service and other resources at his disposal. In an adventure reminiscent of a John le Carré novel, a few of the heroes steal documents outlining the Soviets’ nefarious plan and are then chased by KGB agents, British MI6 agents and corrupt union members across Russia, Poland and England. Thompson portrays the protagonists as good people caught up in events beyond their control, motivated mainly by a desire to stay alive, with the agents of evil driven by personal greed and a lust for power. The story moves along at breakneck speed, but some events and, especially, character names may be somewhat difficult for some readers to follow; in particular, readers unfamiliar with the U.K.’s coal-mining labor issues may sometimes find it challenging to get up to speed.
A strong, fast-paced thriller exploring unique facets of the Cold War, with an intriguing international scope.