Title: The Yermakov Transfer
Author: Derek Lambert
Published on: November 2nd, 2017 by Collins Crime Club (ebook)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Spy thriller
The Trans-Siberian Express has left Moscow carrying the most powerful, closely guarded man in the Soviet Union – and also the man who plans to kidnap him.
Tension aboard the train is at a maximum. The KGB has checked and double checked. But as Vasily Yermakov, the Soviet leader, tries to sleep on the first night in his cabin, he has an uneasy feeling that something is about to go wrong.
Yermakov Transfer is a cold-war thriller from the bestselling thriller writer Derek Lambert. I like Lambert’s style of writing – it is neither formal nor informal. The language is simple and easy to understand, as long as you can pronounce all the Russian names correctly. KGB stands for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.
The plot is interesting, after all, the story is about the kidnapping of one of the Soviet Leader on the Trans-Siberian express. Character development is interesting too until it isn’t. A lot of importance is given to the character’s past. Victor Pavlov is half-Jewish, half-Russian. Russian Jews want to go back to their motherland – Israel but they are denied visas by the Soviet. With an increase in crime and rigorous punishment by the Government, Jews are desperate to return to their motherland. Victor Pavlov decides to fight for their rights. He plans to kidnap Yermakov, and for Yermakov’s safe return, Pavlov demands include the safe passage for all Jews to Israel.
After a lot of stories and memories of the past, finally, you get to the climax – the moment when the actual kidnapping happens. After that, there is nothing much left to read. The story ends abruptly. Pavlov has his doubts. He wonders if kidnapping Yermakov was the right thing to do! (Sorry if this sounded like a spoiler!) The hero is not brave while the villain is courageous! I would have liked the story even more if it ended on a good note. It doesn’t matter if the hero or the villain claims victory. ‘Villians always perish’ happens only in Fairy Tales. But, as a kidnapper who has been planning this for quite a while, Pavlov shouldn’t have regretted his decisions later.
Harry Bridges is an American journalist who also happens to be on the Trans-Siberian Express. He wants the world to know about the kidnapping of Yermakov. Libby Chandler is also on the Trans-Siberian express for the all wrong reasons. She is asked to smuggle an anti-Soviet tape and this is her first time as a ‘smuggler’. There are a lot many characters in the book; plenty in fact. Each plays a small part in the story, with Pavlov being given the maximum importance.
This is the third Derek Lambert book that I read and I did not like it. Too many characters, too much of description, very less climax and abrupt ending. The ending could have been a bit better, I really do not mind lengthy descriptions or an interesting climax, as long as the ending is interesting. On the brighter side, you get to know about the history of Trans-Siberian Express. And it goes without saying that, back in those days, the KGB was known to spy on every foreigner. With microphones in hotel rooms to shadowing, there was a lot of snooping around. If you love to read spy stories and you do not mind a not-very-interesting ending, go ahead and read the book.
I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.