"Noel Hynd knows the ins and outs of Washington's agencies both public and secret." (Publishers Weekly)
From Noel Hynd, author of Flowers from Berlin comes Firebird, an intricate true-to-life spy story that spans half a century.
It is 1968, one of the most tumultuous years of the 20th century. Frank Cooper, a former star investigative reporter now writes obituaries for a popular New York City tabloid. He hears the confession of a dying man named Leonard Rudawski, a former American diplomat, who bitterly questions the fate of Pavel Lukashenko, a would-be Soviet defector in Paris in 1965. Lukashenko promised to expose the espionage secret of a generation if he could get to the West. But the defector, code named “Firebird”, vanished.
Or did he?
Cooper teams with Lauren Richie, a young, Latina reporter from the same tabloid. They prowl into the dying man’s confession. Soon they are onto the story of their lifetimes, reviving a dangerous once-cold trail of back channel/back-alley CIA and KGB intrigue and tradeoffs, all of which factor into the three-way racially tinged American election of that year: Nixon vs. Humphry vs. the segregationist George Wallace.
Murder, espionage, romance, betrayal, and conspiracy intertwine. Listeners will meet and recognize dozens of memorable “real life" characters: reporters, gangsters, diplomats, call girls, spy masters, politicians, and assassins. The story is tough, large, sprawling, and historically precise. "Russians sabotage and destabilize the west", says one experienced reporter with KGB knowledge. "It's not just what they do. It's what they do best."
The story straddles the decades from World War II to 2018, even throwing a cynical light on Russian-American relations of today.