36 Yalta Boulevard

36 Yalta BoulevardOlen Steinhauer S First Two Novels, The Bridge Of Sighs And The Confession, Launched An Acclaimed Literary Crime Series Set In Post World War II Eastern Europe Now He Takes His Dynamic Cast Of Characters Into The Shadowy Political Climate Of The 1960s.State Security Officer Brano Sev S Job Is To Do What His Superiors Ask, No Matter What Even If That Means Leaving His Post To Work The Assembly Line In A Factory, Fitting Electrical Wires Into Gauges So When He Gets A Directive From His Old Bosses The Intimidating Men Above Him At The Ministry Of State Security, Collectively Known For The Address Of Their Headquarters On Yalta Boulevard, A Windowless Building Consisting Of Blind Offices And Dark Cells He Follows Orders This Time He Is To Resume His Job In State Security And Travel To The Village Of His Birth In Order To Interrogate A Potential Defector But When A Villager Turns Up Dead Shortly After He Arrives, Brano Is Framed For The Murder Again Trusting His Superiors, He Assumes This Is Part Of Their Plan And Allows It To Run Its Course, A Decision That Leads Him Into Exile In Vienna, Where He Finally Begins To Ask Questions.The Answers In 36 Yalta Boulevard , Olen Steinhauer S Tour De Force Political Thriller, Teach Comrade Brano Sev That Loyalty To The Cause Might Be The Biggest Crime Of All. Expatriate American author Olen Steinhauer s five part Iron Curtain series gets better with every book, every decade he showcases, and every character he focuses on 36 Yalta Boulevard is no exception.Brano Sev, the enigmatic apparatchik who played supporting roles in The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, finds himself at the heart of a conspiracy to overthrow his unnamed country while on assignment as rezident in Vienna, Austria Weaving his way through a sixties Europe populated by the Beatles, Christian sponsored CIA groups, the Austrian secret service, double dealings and betrayals, hash smoke, too much drink and just a hint of free love, Sev remains a loyal party man and devout socialist, fighting for what he believes is right Sev s politics not to mention his advanced age and tenuous health make him a strange protagonist in a novel of intrigue, but it is refreshing to imagine the Cold War struggle from the other side, and with an agent as loyal to his cause as we expected the agents of our side to be It makes an otherwise familiar spy story something entirely entertaining because despite the Soviet flavour of Steinhauer s setting and the unique point of view of his protagonist Steinhauer s tale is one that we ve read before Sev is that classic Cold War ag
Just finished blitzing through Olen Steinhauer s 5 book crime espionage series set in a fictional Soviet bloc country during the Cold War Each book is set during a different decade 1940s 1980s and revolves around a cast of recurring characters working for the Ministry of State Security Any resemblance to Romania is intentional as Steinhauer began writing as a Fulbright Scholar there But then he
Brano Sev mid ranking officer in the security services of an unnamed Eastern European country during the Cold War is given an opportunity to regain his position and title with a simple investigation back in his hometown find out why a man who had recently defected to Austria has returned What results takes Brano far from his home territory and forces him to reexamine everyone he knows.This is Olen Steinhauer s third novel in his Yalta Boulevard Sequence Like his previous novel, there is detail in the plot and characters than there was in his debut It s a testament to Steinhauer s writing ability that he can take a man like Brano Sev, who is a hardcore believer in socialism and the brutalities needed to enforce it, and still make him sympathetic and understandable Where lesser authors would have given the Western reader a feel good tale that appeals to our values, Steinhauer keeps Brano Sev honest and true to his ideals.The settings are all handled deftly Whether it is Brano s hometown, the European countryside, Vienna, etc., we have a clear sense of time and place The plot,
In this, the third novel in Olen Steinhauer s outstanding Central European cycle, we view the world through the eyes of Brano Sev, a World War II partisan fighter turned secret policeman in his unnamed Soviet satellite country Now, nearing 50, Brano has been working for months on the assembly line at a factory as punishment for an espionage scandal that erupted after he was sent on assignment to Vienna Without warning, his superiors pull him out of the factory temporarily reinstate him as a major in the security service, and send him off to his home village, where he is to investigate why a defector has suddenly returned to the village and what he s planning to do The ensuing complications threaten not just to end Brano s career but possibly his life as well He flees to Vienna, where his long held beliefs in the Communist system are challenged from all quarters.36 Yalta Boulevard the address is that of the security service headquarters in The Capital continues the story begun in The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, which follows the life and work of the five men who make up the homicide department in The Capital s police department Brano is the secret service spy in their midst The first book is set in 1948, the second in
This is the first novel I have read by Olen Steinhauser, but I plan to read His characters are finely drawn and the plot is complicated This is a very somber, gray work about a current former spy for his Eastern E
Unfortunately, I am again reading listening to a series out of order Bridge of Sighs was first, followed by The Confession They began in the 1940 s and by the time we reach 36 Yalta Boulevard the fictitious address of the East European country s we never are quite sure which, but is typically Soviet Bloc spy service, the Ministry of State Security Brano Sev is sent led tricked we re never quite sure which into going to Austria where he is framed for a murder Relegated to a factory job by his bosses, he is resurrected for another in his home town where he accidentally kills one of his handlers or is he Always one to follow orders and assuming he is part of a grand plan, he s soon up to his ears in a nebulous labyrinth of betrayal and deceit, unable to trust anyone, and he begins to question his superiors orders.In one of the
One ingredient of a good spy thriller is a sense of mystery, with the reader and the main protagonist not really sure quite what is happening Steinhauer manages to maintain this uncertainty to the end of The Vienna Assignment Just as you think you ve got a handle on what is happening and why, the mirrors are shifted and a new view appears The prose is mostly quite functional, but the plotting is carefully constructed, the shifting ground and mind games well framed and paced, tempting the reader along The characterization is for the most part good, with Sev in particular a well penned character, with depth, layers and rich back story The Cold War sense of place in Vienna is well portrayed and contextualised My big gripe is that Sev s home country, in which a large portion of the book takes place, is unnamed and is therefore a bit ephemeral I m not really sure why It makes for an odd balance, where the history and places of Austria and Hungary are a cent
Steinhauer is my nominee to succeed John LeCarre His series of spy thrillers has been a delight to read I ve previously read Bridge of Sighs The Confession Both are set largely in Romania and peopled by the secret police who keep communism pure in their unit of the Soviet bloc The first book was set shortly after WWII the second was set during the Hungarian uprising which was put down with Russian tanks This one 36 Yalta Boulevard is set during the 1960s when the Berlin Wall is the defining point between East West in Europe and when unhappy citizens are seeking paths of escape from Romania Each book has focused on a different member of the secret police staff, and nicely portrays the inherent conflicts between the choices
An exciting ride of a book Brano Sev is in the secret intelligence business He always does what he is told Then one day, he is demoted to working in a factory He doesn t know why then he is secretly sent to Austria There he discovers a spy ring, how people are getting out and telling secrets In the course of this discovery, he falls in love with a young Yugoslav lady Set before the fall of the
Thoroughly enjoyed this one I ve previously read The Tourist , which was also excellent, though probably of a mainstream spy novel The Vienna Assignment is particularly good because it doesn t do, as in the main character doesn t do, what you probably expect it him to At least, that s how I felt anyway

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  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • 36 Yalta Boulevard
  • Olen Steinhauer
  • English
  • 21 February 2017
  • 9780312332037