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Escape from the Soviet Union to the West--in a passable first novel that's hampered by grossly contrived plotting and belabored anti-Communist flag-waving. Dr. Kiril Andreyev, frustrated menial assistant to Russia's top heart surgeon, is obsessed with escaping to the West; his latest hopes have been dashed by the failed Berlin-bridge escape of a fellow undercover-dissident, But then Kiril sees a picture of US super-surgeon Kurt Brenner--who just happens to be Kiril's virtual double! Furthermore, Brenner's on his way to Europe for a conference in West Berlin, so Kiril--hoping to pull off a switcheroo--manages to arrange for Brenner's appearance at an earlier such conference in East Berlin. Unbeknownst to Kiril, however, his brother Aleksei--who just happens to be a secret-police colonel--also has his eye on Dr. Brenner: using blackmail-knowledge of G.I. Brenner's WW II bretrayal/murder of Ukrainian refugees, Aleksei plans to force Brenner to defect to the USSR! So everybody winds up in East Germany, including Kiril's girlfriend (who's secretly reporting to Aleksei) and selfish Brenner's shrilly virtuous journalist-wife Adrienne. Aleksei unleashes his blackmail on Brenner; Kiril, overhearing, knocks Brenner out and takes his place, pretending to go along with the defection scheme (thus escaping to Zurich); Adrienne gets understandably confused. And then it's revealed that Brenner is the long-lost brother of both Kiril and Aleksei!!--as Kiril returns to East Germany to rescue Brenner, a double-escape is planned, Brenner turns implausibly noble. . . and Adrienne winds up in Kiril's gallant arms. Weighed down by flashbacks and cold-war speechifying: a thoroughly implausible, occasionally lively reworking of familiar plot-lets from Anthony Hope to lack Higgins.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1983
ISBN: 0595176968
Publisher: Putnam