Excitement is the best word I can use to describe my feelings about the latest version of Moscow Airlift. An appropriate phrase would be “it is getting there.”

In the re-worked novel, I’ve bring back characters from prior books and put them together in an unlikely place – Moscow – at a difficult time in Russian history – the collapse of the Soviet Union. The majority of the book takes place in the months after Desert Storm and the attempted coup against Gorbachev in August 1991. The Soviet Union is in political and social turmoil because the newly elected Russian Parliament and Mikhail Gorbachev want to dissolve the Soviet Union and create the Russian Federation as an attempt to mollify the Soviet Socialist Republics by giving them more independence. Keep in mind that by this time, the Berlin Wall has come down, German reunification happened in March 1990 and the Warsaw Pact has dissolved. The Soviet empire created under Stalin has evaporated and the country is no longer a superpower.

And remember, the Iranians, through their proxies – Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – began killing Americans with 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and the Marine barracks at Beirut Airport and then the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut in 1984. In the summer of 1991, the events of 9/11 are still ten years in the future. At the time, no one in the U.S. realized we were at war with radical Islam.

All this is historical context and backdrop to Moscow Airlift’s plot, i.e. the Iranians want to acquire nuclear weapons they can use to threaten and maybe attack Israel and the U.S. and Soviet hardliners who want to thwart Gorbachev’s plans to re-invent the Soviet Union as the Russian Federation. And, the Soviet Union is broke and needs to buy food from the West to supplement its commitments under the recently concluded Soviet-American Grain Agreement.

In addition to some interesting new characters, the plot is driven by the actions and seen through the eye of:

  • Oleg Krasnovsky now a major general in the KGB. He was a colonel stationed in East Germany in Render Harmless;
  • Nikolai Volkov a KGB lieutenant general who first surfaced in Inner Look but as you’ll find out, had a major influence in Josh Haman’s life;
  • Daniel Debenard and her father, Jacques, who Josh met in Cherubs 2; and
  • Andrew Goode, the FBI agent in Inner Look.

Josh, even after all these years, is still haunted by the murder of his first wife Natalie (in the beginning of Render Harmless) by the KGB and his suppressed desire to avenge her death. Danielle and her father spend almost four years in a Pathet Lao re-education camp where a Soviet officer repeatedly rapes Danielle’s sister Gabrielle. They want justice!

More I won’t write (say?) about the plot because it gives too much away. And, since I’m not finished with the re-do, things could change in the manuscript. As I said in the beginning, I’m now excited about the book and can’t wait to finish it and send it to a publisher.

Marc Liebman

June 2017

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