As the Soviet space-shuttle Dove orbits 150 miles above the earth on its maiden flight, Warsaw Pact troops crash into Poland. The seventy-two-year-old President of America wants to be re-elected, and for that, he needs to win the first stage of the war in space: he needs to capture the Soviet space shuttle. But as the President plans his coup, nuclear-armed shuttle speeds towards target America – and only defection in space can stop it.
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Derek Lambert. The Red Dove is the second book that I have read, by this author and I just can’t stop praising this book! I am a sucker for spy stories, especially the ones that were set during the Cold War. There is good ol’ spy work, espionage, defection, and nobody is whom they seem to be! And of course, there is a competition to win the title of “The Most Powerful Country.” The KGB tactics, and counter-tactics by the CIA or the MI6, the competition is tough. Agents from both sides either defect for good or play a double role.
I have read a couple of spy stories but The Red Dove is one of a kind. Who would have ever thought of defecting a Russian cosmonaut, that too while in space! Yes, you read it right! Defection in Space!!
The story starts with Nicolay Talin and Oleg Sedov. two Russian cosmonauts landing Dove I, a Russian space shuttle. Talin learns about the invasion of Poland while in space and he seems disturbed by it.
The Kremlin is obsessed with firsts. With the American astronauts making the first landing on the moon, Kremlin wants to be the first one to conquer space. Meanwhile, the President of America wants to win the next elections and for that to happen, he must do something “Spectacular.” With the help of the CIA and Robert Massey, he plans to infiltrate the Russian space program and persuade Talin to defect.
Robert Massey is an ex-cosmonaut who hates the CIA, after all, he was let go from further space programs as he was considered “not psychologically fit.” Robert Massey and Talin have a lot in common. They want the space programs to be global, and not a competition. Robert agrees to help the CIA with their plan.
As Massey enters Russia, he is kept on a close watch. As the KGB learns of Massey’s plan to defect, Nicolay Vlasov, chairman of the KGB, is doubtful. Massey convinces the USSR by giving them computer codes to the US Space Program.
The computer geek behind the US Space Program is Daniel Vogel, a hypochondriac. His Russian counterpart is Sergei Yashin, an ever-hungry young man who cannot stop thinking about food. Vogel and Yashin play a small yet important and interesting role in the development of this story.
Talin is in love with Sonya Bragina, a Bolshoi Ballerina. With Sedov as his mentor and Sonya, his lover, both Russians, Talin has to choose – defect or be loyal to Mother Russia. A CIA spy in Russia and a KGB agent following the CIA spy and another CIA spy following the KGB agent, this book is an interesting read. The plot, the way the story and the characters develop, this book is a masterpiece!
If you love to read stories set during the Cold War, do not miss to read this book.
My Rating: 5/5
Title: The Red Dove
Author: Derek Lambert
Published on: 25th January 2018 (Republished by Collins Crime Club)
Genre: Historical Fiction
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads.com