Saturday, October 31, 2009

Red to Black-Alex Dryden

Red to Black
Alex Dryden
Ecco, Aug 2009, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061803864

In 1999 Moscow, Russian FSB intelligence Colonel Anna, daughter of a KGB spymaster meets Finn, a British M16 operative who allegedly is a trade secretary, but everyone in the field knows his real vocation, which he does not bother to conceal. He is aware of who’s who like his peers are. He knows who Anna is and she knows who he is. Each is aware of the Putin “Plan”.

Finn arranges for his return to England where he retires; knowing full well the suspicious Russians will not believe he is out of the cold. Like Pavlov’s dogs, Putin’s KGB followers want to know what they deem a ruse so they send his former Muscovite lover Anna to seduce him in London in order to extract his high level Russian contact. Over the years the two spies make love and elude war as they dream of a life together without lies but eventually unravel a scheme to launder money that supports the Putin Plan.

The espionage scenes are incredibly terrific as the focus on international fiancés by the FSB will stun the audience as Alex Dryden enables the reader to look into Putin’s eyes and see a ruthless soul. The romantic subplot pales in comparison to the big picture schemes although watching two people in love lie to each other with the knowledge the other knows makes for an intriguing courtship. Although the writing at times feels stilted, readers will enjoy the frightening Red to Black as the audience obtains a deep look at a merciless Russia during the beginning of the Bush Administration.

Harriet Klausner