DEADLY ILLUSIONS by John Costello

DEADLY ILLUSIONS

The KGB Orlov Dossier--Stalin's Master Spy
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An absorbing and persuasive argument that a celebrated Soviet turncoat duped the US when it gave him shelter from his stormy past. Drawing on still-secret KGB archives, Costello (Ten Days to Destiny, 1991, etc.) and Tsarev (a former Soviet state-security officer) relate the tale of Alexander Orlov, one of the highest- ranking operatives ever to defect from the USSR. A Byelorussian Jew, Orlov caught the attention of Feliks Dzerzhinsky (founder of the Soviet secret police) for his guerrilla activities during and after WW I. Orlov proved a natural spy and, according to his 17- volume Kremlin file, played a leading role in the creation of the UK's Cambridge network (Kim Philby et al.) as well as the Berlin section of the ``Red Orchestra,'' a band of underground agents whose feats helped determine the course of WW II and, early on, its cold war aftermath. Having run afoul of Stalin, however, Orlov fled Spain (where he had been posted as Rezidentura) in 1938 to escape assassination. Finding a safe haven in the US, he made a splash during the early 1950's with a sensational book on Stalin's crimes. Though he subsequently slipped out of the limelight, Orlov was reckoned a splendid catch by the intelligence officials and lawmakers who constantly debriefed him. But as Costello and Tsarev make clear, the former spy was more refugee than apostate, never betraying, for example, any of the 60-odd moles of whom he had personal knowledge--knowledge that kept KGB hit men at bay. On the evidence of his dossier, moreover, Orlov was considered a hero of the Soviet Union well before his death in 1973. Nor was he held in less esteem by America's establishment, which eulogized him in the Congressional Record. The stranger-than-fiction account of a master spy who lived to a ripe old age by playing both ends against the middle. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-517-58850-1
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




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