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Thursday, 18 June 2015

‘Behind The Text’ 6 ’DARE CALL IT TREASON’

‘Behind The Text’_6_’DARE CALL IT TREASON’

Watch your back - and your heart!


’Dare Call It Treason’  - Book 2 in the series - was written as the first of the ‘modern’ Jonas Forbes thrillers & is set in 1956 Portsmouth during the visit of the Soviet leaders, Khrushchev & Bulganin. Khrushchev has just denounced Stalin & is the target for reactionary plotters on his ship. I must admit it has one of the duller openings  but that's  necessary to convey the shock made by Khrushchev's speech at the 20th Party Congress. But please hang on in there because it's action NOT words which dominates this book.

Enter THE lady, Lieutenant Natalya Alexeyevna Rykov (aka 'Natasha'). In a matter of hours, she so ravishes the womaniser, Jonas Forbes, that for him she remains THE WOMAN for life( see Post 23). I should add the REAL Natasha was an INTOURIST Guide on my visit to the Soviet Union in 1965.

In this thriller Jonas meets Vanessa Clarke, an ally within the corridors of Whitehall, and newly-promoted Detective Inspector John Wyatt, destined to be a lifelong friend & critic. They appear in most of the sequels.

Jonas is hired to protect the Soviet leaders but the struggle is not so much against the plotters as their ruthless ‘employee’ who becomes a threat to both Jonas & the plotters themselves. The Soviet investigation is hampered by rivalry between the Soviet Security Systems known as the GRU & the KGB – which existed in reality.
Factual figures are few – notably ‘Buster’ Crabbe who disappeared during the visit – but there are some fictional creations who’ll appear in later books such as the odious Jeremy Smith, the pragmatic GRU Major Komarovsky and the deadly Yelena Valentina Arentsky. Others I had to abandon as the plot ran away with me. I’d have liked to have seen more of KGB Agent Derzhaven and corrupt émigré, Sergei Ivanovich Petrovsky, &, of course, the murderous, János Beneŝ.  However, as I write chiefly for personal pleasure, matters sometimes get out of hand.

After this outing I think Whitehall should have been warned off Jonas Forbes. He breaks the rules, twists instructions, creates carnage & provides a bad example: but he delivers the goods, especially as, in this case, when it becomes a personal matter.
As you may have realised, this must be one of my personal favourites, probably because of my interest in the Soviet Union. You may be able to assess how much has changed (or not) since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Anyway, I hope you too will enjoy this work of fiction.

Next time, out of the frying pan into the fire – or, at least, the desert.

Bob Hyslop

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