In the heart of the Cold War, they sent him to plot the ultimate assassination. Now they want him dead...
It is 1953. Joseph Stalin, the world's most tyrannical dictator, is teetering on the edge of insanity, and about to plunge the world into nuclear chaos. Only one man and one woman can penetrate the Iron Curtain and stop this madman, before it's too late.
But someone inside the Kremlin knows. And as the KGB's deadliest manhunter pursues these two CIA-hired assassins, another duel unfolds, between secret warriors of the West and East, with a U.S. agent caught in between. Now that agent must do the unthinkable: find his way to the heart of the Soviet Union and stop the mission he himself set in motion-before it ignites World War III.
Could Joseph Stalin have been murdered by an international hit team led by an American CIA agent and acting on orders from President Eisenhower? Fifty pages into this large and chewy first thriller by an Irish journalist, just published in paperback, you'll probably be: (a) totally convinced, or (b) so entranced by the characters, the perfect period details, and beautifully-described action that it won't matter.
From Publishers Weekly
In this big-boned thriller, Meade makes his contribution to the distinguished number of first thrillers premised on the attempted assassination of a world leader (e.g., Day of the Jackal; The Eagle Has Landed) by imagining a CIA hit man targeting Josef Stalin. The main action, set in 1953, surges within a present-day frame in which Washington Post journalist William Massey tries to discover why his father, Jake, ended up in a Moscow grave more than 40 years ago. Eventually, Jake encounters Anna Khorev, the lone survivor of Operation Snow Wolf, who narrates the third-person flashback that forms most of the novel. In 1953, the U.S. government, fearful that Stalin is about to develop and use the hydrogen bomb, decides to eliminate him. The operation, headed by Jake, recruits Alex Slanski, aka Wolf, to do the deed, and Anna, who recently has escaped from a Soviet gulag, to be his guide. Though slow to build, the suspense hits overdrive when Alex and Anna parachute into Estonia, only to be hunted in turn by Major Yuri Lukin of the KGB. Meade writes with a silken pen, inking unusually sympathetic leads (though not wholly original ones; the blond Slanski, with his "cold blue eyes," clearly owes a debt to Forsyth's Jackal). Vivid cameos of historical figures, including Eisenhower, Truman, Beria and Stalin, lend credence to the story, which, according to the author, includes events of "documented history." The Cold War may be on ice, but through this literate, memorable story, Meade shows that it can still freeze readers' attention and chill their blood.