Shelves: thriller-political I pulled this one from my book store because I was looking for a Cold War era thriller and have not yet read much from Mr Forsyth. I understand that he does an enormous amount of research for his books and that certainly showed here. This was a well-thought out novel and well-structured even though it suffers from amazingly bad publishing timing. Of course the author I pulled this one from my book store because I was looking for a Cold War era thriller and have not yet read much from Mr Forsyth. Of course the author could no more see the incredible events of the Wall coming down, the desolution of the Soviet Union, etc. I was a little worried as I read the first several chapters as the author spends a lot of time building the background for the story.
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He did not hear the rain. In his sleep the dream possessed him. There was the clearing again, in the forest in Sicily, high above Taormina. He emerged from the forest and walked slowly toward the center of the space, as agreed. In the middle of the clearing he stopped, placed the case on the ground, went back six paces, and dropped to his knees. As agreed. The case contained a billion lire. Sometimes these cases went on for months. The carabinieri officer did all the talking.
A ransom of close to a million U. From the other side of the clear ing a man emerged, unshaven, rough-looking, masked, with a Lupara shotgun slung over his shoulder. He held the ten-year-old girl by one hand. She was barefoot, frightened, pale, but she looked unharmed.
Physically, at least. The Mafioso stopped at the case, growled at the girl to stand still. She obeyed. But she stared across at her rescuer with huge dark eyes. Not long now, kid. Hang in there, baby. The bandit flicked through the rolls of bills in the case until satisfied he had not been cheated.
The tall man and the girl looked at each other. He winked; she gave a small flicker of a smile. The bandit closed the case and began to retreat, facing forward, to his side of the clearing. He had reached the trees when it happened. It was not the carabinieri man from Rome; it was the local fool. There was a clatter of rifle fire; the bandit with the case stumbled and fell.
Of course his friends were strung out through the pine trees behind him, in cover. They fired back. In a second the clearing was torn by chains of flying bullets.
He came off his knees and hurled himself across the twenty feet between them. He almost made it. He could see her there, just beyond his fingertips, inches beyond the hard right hand that would drag her down to safety in the long grass. He could see the fright in her huge eyes, the little white teeth in her screaming mouth She went down then as if punched in the back and he recalled lying over her, covering her with his body until the firing stopped and the Mafiosi escaped through the forest.
The Soviet General Staff headquarters building stands at 19, Frunze Street, a gray stone edifice from the s facing its much more modern eight-story high-rise annex across the street. At his window on the top floor of the old block the Soviet Chief of Staff stood, staring out at the icy flurries, and his mood was as bleak as the coming winter.
Marshal Ivan K. Kozlov was sixty-seven, two years older than the statutory retirement age, but in the Soviet Union, as everywhere else, those who made the rules never deemed they should apply to them. At the beginning of the year he had succeeded the veteran Marshal Akhromeyev, to the surprise of most in the military hierarchy. The two men were as unlike as chalk and cheese.
Although only the third-ranking First Deputy Chief before his promotion, he had jumped the two men ahead of him, who had slipped quietly into retirement. No one had any doubts as to why he had gone to the top; from to he had quietly and expertly supervised the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, an exercise that had been achieved without any scandals, major defeats, or most important of all publicized loss of national face, even though the wolves of Allah had been snapping at the Russian heels all the way to the Salang Pass.
The operation had brought him great credit in Moscow, bringing him to the personal attention of the General Secretary himself. It was the prospect of another looming defeat that caused the bleakness of his mood as he stared out through the double glass at the horizontal drifts of tiny ice particles that snapped periodically past the window.
Kaminsky was an academic, a deep thinker who was also a genius at organization, and the marshal had given him the second-top slot in the logistics field. Like all experienced combat men, Kozlov knew better than most that battles are not won by courage or sacrifice or even clever generals; they are won by having the right gear in the right place at the right time and plenty of it.
Next time, he swore, they would have the right equipment and plenty of it. He had devoted much of his military career to that concept and now he headed the five services of the U. And they all faced possible future defeat because of a three-hundred-page report lying on his desk.
He had read it twice, through the night in his spartan apartment off Kutuzovsky Prospekt and again this morning in his office, where he had arrived at A. Now he turned from the window, strode back to his great desk at the head of the T-shaped conference table, and turned to the last few pages of the report again.
The point therefore is not that the planet is forecast to run out of oil in the next twenty to thirty years; it is that the Soviet Union definitely will run out of oil in the next seven or eight.
The Reserves-to-Production ratio is achieved by taking the annual production of an oil-producing nation and dividing that figure into the known reserves of that nation, usually expressed in billions of barrels. Figures at the end of —Western figures, I am afraid, because we still have to rely on Western information to find out just what is going on in Siberia, despite my intimate contacts with our oil industry—show that in that year we produced 4.
But that is optimistic, since our production and therefore use-up of reserves has been forced to increase since that time. Today our reserves stand at between seven and eight years. The reason for the increase in demand lies in two areas. One is the increase in industrial production, mainly in the area of consumer goods, demanded by the Politburo since the introduction of the new economic reforms; the other lies in the gas-guzzling inefficiency of those industries, not only the traditional ones but even the new ones.
Our manufacturing industry overall is hugely energy-inefficient and in many areas the use of obsolete machinery has an add-on effect. For example, a Russian car weighs three times as much as its American equivalent—not, as published, because of our bitter winters, but because our steel plants cannot produce sufficiently fine-gauge sheet metal. Thus more oil-produced electrical energy is needed for the production of the car than in the West, and it uses more gasoline when it hits the road.
Nuclear reactors used to produce 11 percent of the U. Until Chernobyl. Unfortunately, 40 percent of our nuclear capacity was generated by plants using the same design as Chernobyl. As a result, our nuclear production in percentage terms, instead of being in double figures, is down to 7 and dropping. We have the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, but the problem is that the gas is mainly located in the extremity of Siberia, and simply to get it out of the ground is not enough.
We need, and do not have, a vast infrastructure of pipelines and grids to get it from Siberia to our cities, factories, and generating stations.
You may recall that in the early seventies, when oil prices after the Yom Kippur war were hiked sky-high, we offered to supply Western Europe with long-term natural gas by pipeline. This would have enabled us to afford the supply grid we needed through the front-end financing the Europeans were ready to put up.
But because America would not be benefiting, the U. By the time the global run-out of oil has hiked the Western price back to a level where they could use our gas, it will be far too late for the U. Thus neither of the feasible alternatives will work in practice.
Natural gas and nuclear energy will not come to our rescue. The overwhelming majority of our industries and those of our partners who rely on us for energy are indissolubly tied to oil-based fuels and feedstocks. The rest comes from us, and is one of the ties that holds them in our camp. To relieve the demands on us we have, it is true, sanctioned a few barter deals between them and the Middle East. But if they were ever to achieve total independence from us in oil, and thus dependence on the West, it would surely be a matter of time, and a short time, before East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and even Romania slipped into the grasp of the capitalist camp.
Not to mention Cuba.
The story includes a number of threads that are slowly woven together. Later, Simon and Quinn are released at different points on a deserted road, but as Simon runs towards Quinn and the police, he is killed in an explosion. A postmortem shows that Simon was killed by a bomb hidden in a belt given to him by his kidnappers: the bomb was set off by a miniature detonator — minidet — found only in the Soviet space programme. The Soviets are blamed and the Nantucket Treaty is effectively finished. Quinn is arrested by the FBI but released for lack of evidence. He decides to go after the kidnappers himself, and Sam — who has fallen in love with Quinn — is sent by the FBI to follow him. Quinn discovers that the kidnappers are a squad of mercenaries, but ends up finding two of them murdered.