He can throw away his future or he can betray his principles and the people he loves.
That is the stark choice faced by Ruslan Shanidza, an athlete from the southern fringes of the Soviet Union. He dreams of Olympic glory but despises the ruling Communists and longs for independence from Russia. Something has to give, especially after a fight with the son of a leading Party member brings him to the attention of the secret police.
Set in the final decade of the Cold War, this political thriller almost reads like historical fiction. It takes us back to a time of dissidents and political repression that forced people to make choices they did not want to make. And, as the system started to disintegrate, ethnic conflict began to convulse people's lives.
“…will keep you turning the pages…Prepare to be sucked in with gripping characters and political intrigue until the very end.”
OnlineBookClub.Org Official Review
“Highly enjoyable, gripping page turner, solid story and characters, political intrigue; what’s not to like?”
E.P. Goodreads reviewer
“…takes you in, grabs a hold of you and does not let go until the very end where you are left wanting more.”
N.A. Goodreads reviewer
Once inside KGB headquarters, Ruslan was taken down into the bowels of the building. He wouldn’t see daylight again until his interrogation was over, a deliberate policy to disorient him. They made him strip naked and stuck a gloved finger up his backside and even made him roll back his foreskin to show that there was nothing hidden under it. Then they gave him regulation clothes to wear: old dirty-white underpants, ill-fitting black trousers and a blue shirt, no socks, no shoes, no pullover. Next, they took his fingerprints and put him in front of a camera for his mug shots.
‘Do you need to piss?’
He emptied his bladder and was then frogmarched into a small interrogation room. They made him sit in front of a desk with two officers behind it. On the desk was a thick file plus a notepad, an ashtray and a jug of water with three glasses.
‘Date of birth?’
‘Your mother’s address?’
‘Any brothers or sisters?’
‘What’s his address?’
‘What was your role?’
‘I said what was your role?’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘Don’t get funny with me, sonny boy. What was your fucking role?’
‘My role in what?’
‘Your role in the Committee.’
‘The so-called Ronkoni Committee for Truth.’
Ruslan was stunned. So that’s what she was up to, a Committee for Truth? He had expected to be asked about some kind of trade union committee.
‘I’ve never heard of the Ronkoni Committee for Truth.’
‘You expect us to believe that?’
‘Yes. It’s the truth.’
The interrogator paused. He took out two cigarettes and passed one to his colleague. Ruslan was glad he didn’t smoke. It would make him very vulnerable. Nina must be desperate for a cigarette right now.
‘You were arrested with another person?’
‘Date of birth?’
‘Was she your instructor?’
‘So you’re shagging your instructor? How long have you been shagging her?’
‘We’ve been together for eighteen months.’
‘So what was her role?’
‘Don’t fuck me about. What was her role in the Committee?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’
‘And you expect me to believe that?’
‘Yes, it’s the truth.’
‘But you admit she had a role.’
‘I never said that.’
‘Yes, you did.’
‘No, I didn’t. I’d never heard of this Committee before you told me about it.’
The interrogator turned to his companion. ‘Read what we said back to me, from where I asked about her role.’
‘“What was her role?...Pardon?...Don’t mess me about. What was her role in the Committee?...I don’t know...You don’t know?...No.”’
‘Now if you say, “I don’t know,” it means you know she had a role, but you don’t know what it was.’
‘No, it doesn’t.’
‘Yes, it fucking does. If you didn’t know anything about anything, you’d have said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But you didn’t, did you? Because you know all about it, but you don’t want to get your lovebird instructor into trouble. Well, let me tell you something, Comrade Instructor’s Pet, she’s already in very big trouble and so are you.'