Goodreads ~ It is 1972 and the Soviet Union has succeeded in planting a mole in the top echelons of the Central Intelligence Agency. Three years earlier, CIA officer Chris Holbeck took part in a failed mission to engineer the defection of a Soviet KGB officer who may know the mole’s identity. His name is Sasha Plotkin. When they were both stationed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1969, Chris and Sasha connected on a personal level. Chris was excited to find a KGB officer interested in changing sides. Then, on the day of the Soviet agent’s defection, Sasha was a no-show. Chris would soon discover the full extent of Sasha Plotkin’s deceit.
Now Sasha has
resurfaced and wishes to make another attempt to defect. To Chris’ dismay,
he is the only CIA officer the man will consent to deal with, even though
their once close relationship is now riddled with mistrust. Chris’ wife,
Lisa, has sworn to leave him if he abandons her and the family for one more
perilous mission. His alluring young colleague Bisan seems determined to
seduce him. Despite the risk to his life and his marriage, Chris answers the
call of duty. If Chris succeeds in transporting Sasha to the United
States--come hell or high water--will the Soviet agent reveal the true
identity of the mole? One thing is certain: the lives of the two men will be
This book takes place from 1968 to 1972. I was ten years old in 1972 so wasn't really aware of what was happening with the Soviet Union back then. This book gave me a good understanding of all that went on before the Soviet Union fell.
There are a few stories going on in this book besides Chris trying to convince Sasha to defect. Chris and Lisa are trying to keep their marriage together which is hard considering Chris spends a lot of his time away from home. Then there's Chris' Swedish mom who has lost one son in Viet Nam and wants to keep what's left of her family close to her.
You really get to know the main characters as they take a step back at one time or another and fill you in on their past.
I wasn't crazy about Chris' wife, Lisa. I didn't find her very likable at all. At point, she does something that to me was unforgiveable yet Chris gets over it and they move on almost like it never happened.
I found the book kind of dragged. With tighter writing and a quicker pace, I might have enjoyed it more. But that's just me.
I'd recommend this if you are looking for a detailed spy novel in which they are trying to get the inside advantage on the former Soviet Union.