TOWER OF SECRETS by Victor Sheymov

TOWER OF SECRETS

The Inside Story of the Intelligence Coup of the Cold War
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The suspenseful, eye-opening memoir of a Soviet spy who came in from the cold. Writing in the third person, Sheymov offers a riveting account of his upwardly mobile career with the KGB and the factors that led him to defect to the West in 1980. In 1969, after graduating with an engineering degreee from Moscow's prestigious Technical University, the author joined a Defense Ministry institute that was researching military uses of space. Recruited by the state's intelligence service in 1971, at age 25, Sheymov eventually became the Eighth Chief Directorate's principal troubleshooter. In this sensitive capacity, he traveled far afield, ensuring the security of enciphered KGB communications throughout the world: During one sojourn, for example, he was able to figure out how the technologically backward Chinese had managed to eavesdrop on the USSR's Beijing embassy. Along the way, the author also learned about his agency's penetration of the Russian Orthodox Church, its role in the plot to assassinate Pope John-Paul II, and its involvement in other unsavory projects. But the higher Sheymov climbed, the more disillusioned he became with Communism and the Kremlin elite's corruption. Resolved to inflict as much damage as he could on the system, the author, while on a Warsaw assignment, evaded his minder and made contact with the CIA. The latter third of the narrative provides a detailed briefing on how Sheymov's knowledge of KGB tradecraft, as well as the professionalism of US operatives, allowed him to slip across two closely guarded borders into Austria with his wife and young daughter. The exfiltration was so skillfully executed that the author's erstwhile masters long believed that he and his family were dead. While the story ends abruptly with Sheymov's escorted arrival in N.Y.C., it seems likely that the information he subsequently furnished American officials hastened the cold war's end. A top-level insider's dramatic, stranger-than-fiction disclosures in the great game of espionage. (Maps and photographs- -not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55750-764-3
Page count: 430pp
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993




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