Брайан Гарфилд: The Romanov Succession

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Брайан Гарфилд The Romanov Succession
  • Название:
    The Romanov Succession
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    MysteriousPress.com / Open Road
  • Жанр:
    Исторический детектив / Шпионский детектив / Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2012
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-453-23772-4
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The Romanov Succession: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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During World War II, a Russian refugee spies for the United States Since the great upheaval of November 1917, Alex Denilov has known nothing but war. In the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, he fought for the old imperial order. When the Reds won out, he fled west, finding work in every war that followed. Now, in 1941, he trains paratroopers in the American Southwest, helping the US Army prepare for the coming war. But Uncle Sam has bigger plans for him. The army transfers Alex to special services, where he is reunited with old colleagues from the civil war. The group shares combat skills, knowledge of the Russian language, and an intense hatred of Communists. Their mission is to assassinate Stalin. But inside this group of killers, a traitor lurks, ready to kill Alex before he attempts to save Russia from itself.

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Brian Garfield

THE ROMANOV SUCCESSION

For Bob and Mary, the Duke and Duchess of Leonia.

Few events occur at the right time, and many do not occur at all; it is the proper function of the historian to correct these faults.

—Herodotus

A Note

This is a novel of historical speculation. Some of its events and characters are real. Many are not. There were in fact three Romanov Pretenders to the Imperial Russian throne but they were not the three fictional Pretenders who appear in this book, nor were there any real-life counterparts for the fictitious Prince Felix Romanov, Prince Leon Kirov, Count Anatol Markov, Baron Oleg Zimovoi or Baron Yuri Ivanov. Except where actual historical personages are introduced (Stalin, Vlasov, Churchill and others), no resemblance whatever is intended or implied between the fictional characters of this novel and real persons.

PART ONE:

July—August 1941

HITLER ATTACKS RUSSIA

Moscow, June 22, 1941—Germany today invaded Soviet Russia.

Just after midnight this morning, Nazi bombers attacked Soviet defense installations along a 2,000-mile front from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Veteran German armies, estimated at over 3,000,000 men, rolled through the “Polish Corridor,” spearheaded by a blitz of German armor and dive-bomber destruction.

Preliminary reports from the field are fragmentary but it appears the Russians have been caught napping, lulled by the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact signed 21 months ago. Resistance to the Nazi invasion is light, disorganized and ineffectual. The invaders are bypassing strongpoints and smashing through the most weakly defended sectors along a wide front.

Informed foreign observers in Moscow are wondering whether Josef Stalin’s vast USSR, the world’s largest nation, can possibly escape the same fate the conquering Nazi war machine has already inflicted on Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Roumania, Hungary, Greece and Crete.

1.

When the light flashed he pushed himself out of the airplane and fell away into the slipstream. He felt it when he hit the end of the tape and it came free; his fist locked on the secondary ripcord to pull the lanyard if the hook-tape failed. But he didn’t need it this time: the pilot chute popped open and dragged the harness from his backpack. He knotted his muscles against the tug of the main chute.

Above him the B-18s wheeled ponderously, vomiting jumpers; the abrasive rumble of their engines disturbed the hot dry air. Alex Danilov’s silk took the air, billowed and brought him up hard. Then he was swaying, swinging, playing his hands through the shroud lines to spill a little air out of the side of the parachute and center himself over the DZ. Above him the soldiers dangled like marionettes.

Six aircraft and each of them disgorged fourteen chutists: eighty-four men and all of them had to touch down inside the marked 100-yard circle. That was the point of the exercise: precision. Yes sir—it would be twice as easy if we doubled the length of the drop zone but we want to get everybody into the smallest possible target area. In terms of Norway say a forest clearing. We want to be sure nobody gets a pine tree up his ass.

Norway, shit. Alex, the United States Army couldn’t mount a successful invasion of Staten Island right now.

He had twenty-eight seconds to hang from the lines between chute-opening and touchdown. Twenty-eight seconds was far too long if there were going to be people on the ground shooting at them. The next step in the training would be to lower the jump altitude. Bring the planes in at fifteen hundred feet, then a thousand, then seven-fifty. It could be done from four hundred but he’d settle for six. But that would rule out any margin for error—no room for a soldier’s last-minute clutch in the door, no room for backup chutes. When the training got down to that fine point they’d start to lose trainees but sooner or later it would have to be done; it was only a question of how soon.

Texas beneath him: no vestige of shade anywhere. Beyond the chalk lines a black Ford waited—a wilted corporal standing by, his faded blouse stained by the sweat that sluiced down his chest; moving back and forth slowly in the heat as if to create a breeze on himself.

The ground loomed too fast; the moment of terror came every time. He bent his knees and when he touched down he tipped right over on one shoulder and rolled to absorb the impact. Then he twisted to his feet and gathered in the shroud lines to collapse the distended chute. Around him the squads were hitting ground; Alex Danilov’s eyes watched them all, watched their touchdowns and watched the chalk line of the circle. Some of them were so close to it that the wind dragged their chutes over the line after they hit the ground but every one of them had touched down inside the deadlines and it pleased him.

He made a bundle of his silks and carried them toward the perimeter. The corporal made a hand signal and waited for him, plucking the wet blouse away from his chest. The Ford had stars on its fenders: the base commanding general’s stars, but the car was empty.

The corporal said, “General Spaight sent me to fetch you back to headquarters, sir.”


The Fort Bliss sun whacked ferociously against the rows of weathered clapboard: temporary barracks erected in 1917. Alex went inside and the G-1 nodded to him from behind the officer-of-the-day desk. Alex strode past the flag standard to the post commander’s door. When he entered the office his head just missed the top of the doorframe.

An aura of stale cigar hung around the dreary hot room: Spaight didn’t smoke but it was that kind of climate, it preserved everything like a sarcophagus.

Spaight was a brigadier; his hair and unkempt eyebrows were pewter grey: he had an easy amiable smile that squinted up the grid of tiny lines on his face. But he looked unnerved. “How was the jump?”

“Good. They’re coming along.” Alex hooked his cap over the prong of the hat rack.

“They weren’t much of a jump team before you took them over.”

“I just bark at them. They hate me so they’ve got to prove they’re harder than I am. Nothing new about it—I imagine the Greeks ran their armies the same way.”

“Pull up a chair, Alex.” Spaight tipped back in his chair and glanced uneasily toward the window where a fly seeking escape kept banging against the screen. Then he tapped a paper on his desk. “I’ve got War Department orders for you.” He looked bleak.

2.

SECRET     SECRET     SECRET FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION U.S. ARMY PERSONNEL REPORT

SUBJECT: Danilov, Alexsander I.

Following report was compiled by: Baltimore, Md., District Office. Bibliography of sources attached. The Bureau expresses its appreciation for the cooperation of BN&I, U.S. Army and U.S. Department of State in making dossiers on subject available.

Subject’s vital statistics:

Date and Place of Birth: 27 March 1907, nr. Kiev, Ukraine, Imperial Russian Empire.

Father’s name & occupation: Danilov, Ilya V. (1871-1920), officer in Imperial (“White Russian”) Army, 1889–1920.

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