I am not sure why a book originally published in 1991 was one of the offerings at our airport. I was early picking up my wife last Saturday night and because of security there was nowhere to really go within the facility as most of the stores are on the other side of the security section. I had finished the book that I brought and was faced with an hour or so left to wait so I went to the only open venue and paid full price for a paperback. Author Joseph Finder included an introduction in 2013 to set the tone of the novel;
“Early one morning in late August 1991, six months after The Moscow Club was published, I was awakened by a phone call from a friend in the CIA. ‘You think someone in Moscow might have read your novel?’ he said. “Huh?’ I said. Which is about all I’m able to say before my first cup of coffee. ‘Turn on CNN,” he said…I did. There on the screen was a live video feed of tanks rumbling through the streets of Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, was under house arrest at his vacation house on the Black Sea, held prisoner by his own bodyguards…The fictional coup d’état I’d dreamed up had actually come true…I named names – the real names of Kremlin officials I thought might take part in a conspiracy to overthrow Gorbachev…As it turned out, I got the names right.”
What an introduction. It really put me in a frame of mind to read this novel. The Moscow Club, according to Finder, is a select group of men who were committed to the old ways of the Soviet Union, a group of what we would characterize as hardliners of old Cold War enemy fame. The story follows the exploits of Charlie Stone, a CIA analyst, who is an expert on Russian affairs and consequently gets caught up with some very bad people.
While this is a very enjoyable novel, some of the connections and activities seem a little farfetched, but don’t detract from the story. I really don’t think Finder “got the names right” but rather got the positions right as I looked into the coup. The actual coup attempt was far more straight forward than the dark one contemplated in the novel.