2019. Dr. Nathan West has recently returned home to West Virginia after a lengthy stint in the Pacific Northwest. His life’s trajectory takes a turn to the distant past when his help is requested in gaining a prison inmate’s release. Pandora’s box has been opened and West must put his game face on.
Cut to the 1980s… The escalation of the Cold War has intensified with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The distrust between East and West hasn’t been so apparent since the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 1960s. The US intelligence community has been rocked by the betrayal of an analyst at one of their front organizations. The spy, Bedford, has formed a partnership with a counterfeiter, Rogers, and sold information to the Russians. Bedford is attempting to defect. Bedford is caught and later imprisoned. Rogers has made a connection with the KGB and their associates, which enterprising Soviets will attempt to take advantage of when developing their own brazen operation.
As the 1980s have progressed, Soviet leadership has been fluctuating. Multiple leaders have died over a short period, leaving a vacuum filled by Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev aims to reform Soviet life and government through perestroika and glasnost. The old school hawks in the upper levels of government, including the KGB, see trouble on the horizon. Gorbachev is a rabble rouser who must be stopped. And so commences Operation Red Sword, a coup attempt at dethroning Gorbachev. The disloyal generals and colonels plan to fund their high-stakes plot through the drug trade, specifically through the sale of hashish, some of which is available in Afghanistan.
Nathan West is a West Virginia cop when he receives a call to come train at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. West is dogged in his pursuit of criminals, and Buddy Hayden has been on the lookout for the right sort of personnel. Hayden is law enforcement, but he also works in the intelligence business. When Hayden receives a call from a Soviet colonel with whom he shares a past, he is alarmed by the growing plot against Gorbachev. Nathan West just might fit the mold of the perfect Intelligence asset.
Red Sword harkens back to the good old bad days of the Cold War, a world where covert cowboys battled the soldiers of the “Evil Empire.” It is a book suffused with intrigue, betrayal, and heightened paranoia. Author Norman Wood succeeds in building suspense to boiling point in this pot-boiling tale. It’s a serious thrill ride that the reader will not want to end.
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