KRONSTADT '21 by George Malcolm Thomson


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Billed as a ""historical thriller,"" author Thomson (The Ball at Glenkerran, Crisis in Zanat) has fashioned a story of intrigue, world affairs and conspiracies that reads like a fancy travel cruise gone haywire. Michael Simpson, a.k.a. Mikhail Ivanovich, a.k.a. White Russian, is a sometime jewel thief whose real mission in life is to overthrow the Bolsheviks in 1921 Russia. En route, Simpson enlists the aid of Boris the banker, Serge the strangler and Sasha the organizer, in a daring plot of political infighting. Apparently, the White Russians have decided that the Reds need ousting. In order to accomplish same, a counter-revolution is ordered. Counter-revolutions cost money, and Simpson, with the help of beautiful sometime actress Nadya Baranovskaya, late of Petrograd, destined for Paris but dreaming of Hollywood, is engaged to entice Arnold Stein, American rich kid with a love of fine food and a penchant for the Left, into her bed for a night. While they romp, Simpson steals the jewels Stein is supposed to hock for the Reds and then uses the much needed capital the jewels provide to finance the White Russians' insurgence, with Comrade Petrichenko as its appointed leader. We never learn how Simpson knew Stein had the jewels, nor why he favors the White Russian cause. No matter. Rumor has it that the Navy crew docked on the ship in Kronstadt is fed up with Leninist/Trotskyite brutality and ripe for revolution. That's enough to bring every White Russian from Paris to Petrograd to Kronstadt, including Simpson. Along the way, Simpson's travel plans include breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, dinner in Stockholm and conspiracies later that night in Moscow. For all its effort, Kronstadt '21 manages to confound more than intrigue.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Secker & Warburg--dist. by David & Charles