Lenin's roller coaster

David Downing, 1946-

Book - 2017

"Autumn 1917: As a generation of Europe's young men perish on the Eastern and Western fronts, British spy Jack McColl is assigned a sabotage mission deep in the heart of Central Asia, where German influence is strong and where he'll be in completely unfamiliar territory. Despite his uncanny ear for foreign languages, there is much he doesn't know about the cities he's to infiltrate, or the people he's to meet there. As he quickly realizes, the mission only becomes m...ore dangerous the closer he gets to its heart. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, Irish-American suffragette journalist Caitlin Hanley, is in Bolshevik Russia, thrilled to have the chance to cover the Revolution. As the noose of anti-Russian government propaganda tightens around the American press, strangling the progressive and socialist workers' movements, the Russians seem to be making strides toward equality, women's rights, and real social change. Caitlin knows Moscow is where she is meant to be during this historic event--even if she is putting her own life at risk to bear witness. But four years of bloody war have taken their toll on all of Europe, and Jack and Caitlin's relationship may become another casualty. Caitlin's political convictions have always been for progress, feminism, and socialism--often diametrically opposed to the conservative goals of the British Empire Jack serves. Up until now, Jack and Caitlin have managed to set aside their allegiances and stay faithful to each other, but the stakes of their affair have risen too high. Can a revolutionary love a government spy? And if she does, will it cost one of them their lives? "--

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FICTION/Downing David
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Downing David Due Jun 8, 2022
Series
A Jack McColl novel
Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Spy stories
Published
New York, NY : Soho Crime [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 322 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781616956042
1616956046
Main Author
David Downing, 1946- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In this third in the series, Downing picks up the story of Jack McColl and Caitlin Hanley in 1917, with both parties in Russia but on opposite sides of a cavernous ideological divide. For most of the tale, neither knows the whereabouts of the other, but when they do cross paths, it's clear that proximity is not likely to help their hearts grow fonder. Jack, a British spy, is charged with undermining the Communist agenda as a way of getting Russia back in the fight against Germany, while journalist Caitlin is committed to the Red cause. As in One Man's Flag (2015), Jack is struggling with the moral rightness of his mission, finding marginally more to admire in the Communists he encounters than in either his fellow British or the Russian "Whites." Downing is a master at grabbing the historical moment and holding it close, and he brings the tempestuous revolutionary era to vivid life here, setting it against what appears to be a doomed love story. The ending leaves us hanging—this series is a true serial adventure—but most readers will be happy to anticipate the next installment. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The third volume (after Jack of Spies and One Man's Flag) in an engrossing historical series featuring an unflappable Scottish spy and a fiery Irish American journalist concentrates on the final year of World War I as it plays out on the catastrophic contours of revolutionary Russia. As a feminist and agitator, Caitlin is buoyed by the challenges of covering history-in-the-making. Her lover, Jack McColl, is up to Foreign Office skullduggery in Central Asia and Ukraine. The ferocity of the conflicts they witness as they journey through the war zones separately make them doubt both their love for each other and their commitment to their causes. With attention to vivid contemporary detail, this 100-year-old story jumps off the page. Barely mentioning the big names of the 1917 October Revolution, Downing spotlights ordinary people who are drawn to the front lines to advance or defeat the Bolshevik cause. A particularly effective thread is the attention to the revolutionists' question, "What do women want?" as Caitlin reports on Alexandra Kollontai and Maria Spiridonova, leaders of the women's corps of rival parties. VERDICT History buffs and espionage fiction fans will enjoy this entertaining novel, which might also make a good choice for book groups commemorating the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. [See Prepub Alert, 9/26/16.]—Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The October Revolution of 1917 provides the backdrop for Downing's outstanding third historical featuring British spy Jack McColl (after 2015's One Man's Flag). At his father's funeral in Scotland, McColl reunites with his lover, American journalist Caitlin Hanley, with whom he has a complicated past: two years earlier, McColl arrested her younger brother, Colm, for his role in an Irish republican plot after first offering him a chance to escape. Despite this incident, Caitlin is eager to make the most of their time together before work separates them. McColl's boss in the Secret Service dispatches him on a mission to determine how the Transcaspian Railway can be put out of action as part of British efforts to prevent Germany from taking over Central Asia. Meanwhile, Caitlin travels to Russia to report on the efforts of the Bolshevik regime to create a new society. In addition to balancing plot and character development perfectly, Downing gives readers unfamiliar with the issues of the time all they need to know. Agent: Charlie Viney, Viney Agency. (Mar.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, a latest Jack McColl British spy thriller finds him accepting a sabotage mission in German-influenced central Asia, while his suffragette journalist girlfriend risks her life to cover the revolution from a first-person perspective. By the author of One Man’s Flag.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Autumn 1917: As a generation of Europe's young men perish on the Eastern and Western fronts, British spy Jack McColl is assigned a sabotage mission deep in the heart of Central Asia, where German influence is strong and where he'll be in completely unfamiliar territory. Despite his uncanny ear for foreign languages, there is much he doesn't know about the cities he's to infiltrate, or the people he's to meet there. As he quickly realizes, the mission only becomes more dangerous the closer he gets to itsheart. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, Irish-American suffragette journalist Caitlin Hanley, is in Bolshevik Russia, thrilled to have the chance to cover the Revolution. As the noose of anti-Russian government propaganda tightens around the American press, strangling the progressive and socialist workers' movements, the Russians seem to be making strides toward equality, women's rights, and real social change. Caitlin knows Moscow is where she is meant to be during this historic event--even if she is putting her own life at risk to bear witness. But four years of bloody war have taken their toll on all of Europe, and Jack and Caitlin's relationship may become another casualty. Caitlin's political convictions have always been for progress, feminism, and socialism--often diametrically opposed to the conservative goals of the British Empire Jack serves. Up until now, Jack and Caitlin have managed to set aside their allegiances and stay faithful to each other, but the stakes of their affair have risen too high. Can a revolutionary love a government spy? And if she does, will it cost one of them their lives? "--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In autumn 1917, British spy Jack McColl accepts a sabotage mission in German-influenced central Asia, while his suffragette journalist girlfriend Caitlin Hanley risks her life to cover the Russian revolution.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In Russia the Bolshevik revolution is in full-swing while the supposed Great War is destroying Europe in ways never before imagined. Fulltime lovers and part-time enemies, British spy Jack McColl and progressive American journalist Caitlin Hanley, have seen their relationship survive this far but in a world defined by “win at all cost” attitudes how much longer can they hold out?Winter 1917: As a generation of Europe’s young men perish on the Eastern and Western fronts, British spy Jack McColl is assigned a sabotage mission deep in Central Asia, where German influence is strong. The mission only becomes more dangerous the closer he gets to its heart. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, Irish-American radical journalist Caitlin Hanley, is in Bolshevik Russia, thrilled to have the chance to cover the Revolution. Caitlin knows Moscow is where she is meant to be during this historic event—even if she is putting her own life at risk to bear witness.But four years of bloody war have taken their toll on all of Europe, and Jack and Caitlin’s relationship may become another casualty. Caitlin’s political convictions have always been for progress, feminism, and socialism—often diametrically opposed to the conservative goals of the British Empire Jack serves. Up until now, Jack and Caitlin have managed to set aside their allegiances and stay faithful to each other, but the stakes of their affair have risen too high. Can a revolutionary love a spy? And if she does, will it cost one of them their life?