THE LOST FOOTSTEPS by Silviu Craciunas
Kirkus Star


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When Silviu Craciunas left his native Roumania in 1949 by the escape route he had set up for others, he did not expect to return. He was on the deathlist of the Communist regime. A year later, by request, he had re-entered, again by frontier sabotage, to set up permanent escape routes. His mission nearly accomplished, he was caught, and faced the first of the spot-lit interrogations that were to punctuate his four years of confinement. Pitting himself against his captors, he endured the physiological-psychological modern tortures: scientific nerve-beatings, forced motion, solitary confinement and broken sleep, existence diet, friends turned informer. Struggling to maintain vigilance and sanity, he lapsed into hallucinations that integrated and aided him to obtain a yoga-like control that baffled his captors. He was placed with a talkative man who confessed as he died in Silviu's arms that he was an agent provocateur. Silviu refused to confess; finally his captors sent him to the prison hospital to determine whether he was strong enough to endure further torture. In the few minutes he found himself unwatched, he escaped, to endure two more years in hiding before he could reach Vienna. Cluttered with contacts, contracting the heart with the deadly, ever-recurrent hunt, full of ordinary facts about extraordinary daily life in an Iron Curtain country, this is a human document that reveals the triumph of the individual spirit against the terrifying degradation of collectivized mentality. A psychological, spiritual and physical thriller, somehow containing within the same skin, Orwellian world, Kafka metaphysic, Ambler-Greene suspense.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1961
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy