Tag Archives: soviet union

The Innocent Bystanders

Spy thriller from James Munro a.k.a. James William Mitchell.

John Craig is a tough hard as nails British spy set out to find a missing Russian scientist who has the knowledge to convert desert into life. Impracticable as it sounds, Craig is on a mission and in the process he travels to Turkey, America, Cyprus with Department K following him with two young recruits, and Force Three also on his trail. KGB is also interested in the missing scientist.

The scientist Aaron Kaplan is one of the ten men who broke out of a deadly prison in Siberia of whom apart from him, only two survived the escape. Force Three sends in Miriam Loman as the all in one help of Marcus Kaplan, brother of Aaron, who has not seen his brother for 25 years. Joanna and Royce are sent in by the Department.

There are plenty of thrills and spills and action in this fast paced adventure thriller from James Munro. The action moves from one location to another pretty fast. My first one of James Munro, and its good. Goodreads 3/5

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The Devil’s Alternative

Another masterpiece from the master story teller, Frederick Forsyth.

This time lot of nations are involved. USSR is facing a grim famine and urgently needs grains to feed its people. There are Ukranian nationalists who are hell bent on wrecking havoc on the USSR with their call for freedom and independence. There is a massive super tanker of 1 million tons, first of its kind in the world built by a Swedish millionaire and commandeered by a Norwegian seaman.

US is interested in what’s going on in Soviet Union, UK is sending its spy network for the same purpose. There are terrorists on the board Freya, the super tanker and then the Soviet leader is facing a huge crisis from its detractors in the Politburo.

Forsyth has beautifully constructed the plot, bit by bit, out of nothing and sustained interest in it throughout. There is an element of suspense throughout the plot Adam Munro is a British Russian expert and he has a love interest in Soviet Union, who is made to spy for the west. Slowly but surely, Forsyth has unraveled the plot to its climax. Goodreads 5/5

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Salt for Svanetia

Extraordinary documentary film made in 1930 by Russian director Mikhail Kolotozov about the extraordinary life of Ushgul people in Svanetia somewhere in the mountainous region of Georgia in erstwhile Soviet Union. It is a silent film but description is given in English. The music is the film is apt, but i don’t know if the music is original or was added later on. The film documents the hard times that the Ushguls had in carrying on with their lives especially as the village is encircled by mountains with nary a path or road to take them to other villages. So everything was made and sold within the village itself. But the village had an unique problem, they did not have any salt in the village with the result, the villagers were suffering and so were the cattle. Pregnancy is cursed in the village because there is nowhere to go to deliver the baby, and babies die soon after their birth. The camera work and cinematography is exceptional, especially if you consider this film was made in 1930 when filmmaking techniques were rudimentary. Some of the camera work was too good – both close up shots and long shots were quite beautiful. In that sense it is a very revolutionary documentary film.

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