Kuskovo: A Spy Novel
Rick Marshall, author
Kuskovo is an international thriller set in the 1970’s at the height of the Cold War. In an attempt to catch up with the West in the arms race, the Russians kidnap Dr Samantha Endel, and force her to work for them. She is daringly rescued by Alex Zoravar, who falls in love with her, but not before she sabotages her Russian work..... Alex Zoravar, son of an émigré Armenian father and Russian mother was brought up in post war England and schooled at one of the country’s best preparatory schools and Oxford University. After a spell with the SAS, he decides to leave in favour of a safer life and joins the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston to work on a new form of guidance system to improve the accuracy of nuclear Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s) using satellite tracking – the forerunner of GPS. He settles in Oxford and meets Marianne at a conference in Cambridge and they form a steady relationship. The Americans and the Russians are also working to improve the accuracy of their ICBM’s. The AWRE project promises the best improvement but is under-resourced. With Marianne’s encouragement, Alex initiates an approach to the Americans to combine resources. Overcoming political resistance and scepticism, the Americans and the British agree to work together and to form a new organisation based in California. An American, Dr Samantha Endel, is chosen to head it and she and Alex fall in love at first sight. Samantha owns a yacht in Santa Cruz on the Pacific coast. One evening, sailing alone, she is kidnapped by Russians and taken by submarine to Russia, eventually to the Czarist era Kuskovo Palace, on the outskirts of Moscow, now converted to an institute for ICBM research, where she is imprisoned. Under threat of harm to herself and her children, she is forced to reveal the secrets of the West and to help the Russians develop a satellite control system for their ICBM’s. But she has a plan of how she can sabotage their program and enable the West to divert any Soviet missile. Samantha was trialling a personal GPS locator device when abducted. From this, her whereabouts is established and her faked death revealed. Alex is sent on a covert mission to Moscow to confirm the suspicion, followed by a rescue mission, faking Samantha’s death. Samantha returns in disguise to California where trials have found that the satellite system does not work as well as anticipated. Samantha covertly develops a new version which works better, leaving the Russians behind in the race for a better guidance system. Marianne identified as a potential spy. A trap is laid for her which proves her guilt with the crash of the Russian TU144 supersonic airliner at the Paris Air Show. In a final twist, Samantha’s identity is discovered by the Russians and, on the day of the successful test of her new system, she is assassinated.