This new thriller plot is radioactive
Cold War , Feature story / January 18, 2018

Simon Miller recently published his new historical thriller, EBOLOWA. He shared a few thoughts on what inspired him to write the book. “I discovered that ex-KGB Alexander Litvinenko wasn’t the first man to be killed by a secret agent using radio active material,” he said. “It happened years before in Geneva to someone who features in the background plot of EBOLOWA, a thriller based on a true story of courage, complicity and murder.” EBOLOWA offers an intriguing premise inspired by real history as investigator Harry Kaplan delves into a 1956 drowning. You can learn more about Simon and his new novel at his website,

Opening moves in the Cold War
Cold War / February 23, 2017

The opening pages of Curtain of Death: A Clandestine Operations Novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV have a great hook: two WACs leave a club in Germany and are promptly abducted by some sketchy thugs. Are they Germans? Russians? From this opening scene, a secret investigation begins into who these men were, and what their motivation was for trying to abduct the women—who are actually U.S. agents. In addition to a lot of suspense, there are several things that you can always count on in a W.E.B. Griffin novel. The first is that there is going to be a sense of humor that lightens up what could be a very dark story about violence and espionage. You can count on there being sexist objectification and dialogue right out of the 1940s. Finally, there are going to be a lot of military acronyms and jargon and rank pulling—which is a lot of fun because it takes some dedication to unravel all of the terms, so that the dedicated reader begins to feel like part of a club … an experience not unlike reading a Patrick O’Brian novel with its ballast of nautical terms. This is a whopper of…

Cotton Malone in Siberia
Cold War / April 16, 2016

Reading a Steve Berry novel is like eating brownies with spinach mixed in. You can be entertained while getting a healthy dose of history. The novel begins with Cotton Malone (the hero of multiple Steve Berry historical thrillers) shot down over Siberia. And what would Russia be without fallout from the Cold War? Malone soon finds himself tackling yet another plot to topple the current order thanks to an overlooked mystery from the past. It can be hard to tell where the history ends and the fiction begins, but like those sneaky brownies, it’s a delicious mix. Title: The 14th Colony Author: Steve Berry Genre: Fiction Publisher: Macmillan Release Date: April 5, 2016 Pages: 464 What happens if both the president and vice-president-elect die before taking the oath of office? The answer is far from certain—in fact, what follows would be nothing short of total political chaos. Shot down over Siberia, ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, a man whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States. Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin and another ex-KGB officer, this one a…

Read about the real-life events behind the ‘Bridge of Spies’ movie
Cold War , Movies Based On Books / February 17, 2016

Those who grew up in the Cold War era remember it as a scary time when nuclear missiles threatened to fill the skies, and slogans such as “Better Dead Than Red” were popular. The recent film Bridge of Spies calls attention to this time period, with Tom Hanks playing a reluctant go-between for the United States and the Soviet Union. What’s really interesting is that the film is loosely based on a book by Giles Whittell, a journalist who has delved into several Cold War topics. After you have seen the fantastic film, which somewhat fictionalizes real-life events, you can read about the history behind this Big Screen thriller in Whittell’s excellent account. Title: Bridge of Spies Author: Giles Whittell Genre: History Release Date: November 9, 2010 Pages: 274 Documents the stories of three men at the center of a legendary first prisoner exchange between the Soviet Union and America, describing the chance events that contributed to their captures and rescues and their indirect contributions to triggering the arms race.