Tuesday, 29 August 2000

Derek Lambert: The Yermakov Transfer (1974)

Edition: Arlington Books, 1974
Review number: 588

The Yermakov Transfer is unusal among Cold War thrillers in being entirely set in the Soviet Union, almost all of it happening on a journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is a particularly significant journey, because one of the passengers is the Russian premier, Vasily Yermakov. A group of Jewish dissidents has come up with the idea of kidnapping him, demanding that several prominent Jewish scientists be granted exit visas so that they can emigrate to Israel.

With many Russian characters, The Yermakov Transfer is a novel infused with the fear of the gulag, and it clearly shows the influence of Solzhenitsyn's Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch. It is decidedly at the literary end of the thriller market, and, though its ending might be considered predictable, has plenty of excitement.

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