A cathartic memoir retracing the lives of the real men behind The Falcon and the Snowman espionage chronicle and the 1985 movie it inspired.
A trio of authors contributes to this historical narrative, which charts the later lives of falconer Christopher Boyce and his boyhood friend Andrew Daulton Lee, both of whom were convicted of delivering classified government documents to the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s. In the introduction, co-author Boyce, “far older than my sixty years,” offers his own first-person version of the events, including his treachery and “self-destructive descent into hell” after working at the National Security Agency and learning of duplicitous governmental actions against an international ally. He then explains how he was caught and sentenced to 40 years in prison (Lee received a life sentence). As compelling as this intimate opening treatment is, the remainder of the book is curiously dictated from the alternating perspectives of both Christopher and Cait Boyce beginning in 2005 and, via a meandering timeline, culminates with a where-are-they-now epilogue and a generous photo gallery. In vivid chapters brimming with immediate, unfettered narration, Boyce and wife Cait share the stories of their lives pre- and post-conviction. Readers learn the fascinating, intricately plotted details of Boyce’s daring escape from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary in 1980, his intention to fly in and break Lee out by helicopter, his recapture, and the horrifically violent and dehumanizing prison conditions he endured while locked away in a “concrete womb.” Boyce also interjects passionate testimony from his days as a security communications engineer as well as the reasons he betrayed the nation. His prison release in 2002 was orchestrated with Cait’s determined efforts, even though she initially only set out to achieve parole for Lee. Cait ended up triumphantly freeing both men and falling in love with Boyce as well, despite her devastating cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Fans of true crime will be riveted by the ultimate destinies of both men, though Lee’s journey isn’t afforded the same scrutiny as Boyce’s.
A compelling, immersive memoir of crime, punishment, and the redemptive qualities of love and atonement.