The Tristan Betrayal
Author: Robert ludlum
About the author and the book
Robert Ludlum is the author of 23 novels published in 32 languages and 40 countries, and, at one time was the world's best selling author.His novels are a blend of sophisticated plotting and extreme pace.There are more than 210 million copies of his books in print.He is best known for 'The Scarletti Inheritance', The Chancellor manuscript, Osterman Weekend and the Jason Bourne series- 'The Bourne identity, The Bourne Supremacy and 'The Bourne ultimatum' among others.
His plots are intricate with twists upon twists, managing to mesmerize the readers.He is an expert at writing Political Thrillers.The Tristan Betrayal is a classic Political Thriller set in the 1940's in Paris, Moscow both reeling under Hitlers Nazism and Stalin's equally dictatorial regime, and Hitler's Berlin.And what had taken place in 1940-41 was still dormant threatening to explode in 1991..
The Story of 'The Tristan Betrayal'
The story is set in 1940 when the Nazi's are at the height of their power.France is occupied by the Nazis and Britain is under the threat of invasion by Hitler's army.America is trying to be neutral looking for opportunities.Russia is having an uneasy alliance with Germany.In those difficult times American born Stephen Metcalfe, belonging to a wealthy business family is a well known respected man about town in Paris, going under the name of Daniel Eigen one of the many names he uses, as, he is also a minor asset in the USA's secret investigation forces in Europe.Metcalfe is instructed to go as himself to Moscow, Russia to ferret out some important information from a Nazi official.Metcalfe is more than willing to go to Moscow and very excited about his new mission, as it is going to bring him face to face with his former lover the beautiful Lana, Svetlana Boronova, a ballerina with whom he had been deeply in love with way back in 1934, when he was in Moscow with his brother, looking after his family's business interests.Unfortunately with Stalin growing more dictatorial, they had to leave Moscow before they become the target of his wrath, but Metcalfe had never forgotten Lana nor did she forget him.
But now according to reports Lana was the mistress of Rudolf van Schssler the Nazi officer who Metcalfe had been instructed to keep an eye on and use Lana to get close to the Nazi official, which did disturb him.When he arrived in Moscow, everyone seemed to have their own hidden agenda, and it was an extremely tense atmosphere where there was no trust and foreigners were viewed with suspicion - but Metcalfe had a job to do even if it meant, in some ways betraying his own love Lana.
Coming to the present, Stephen Metcalfe, now a highly respected, retired ambassador is given the task of returning to Moscow to reveal the secret that had been haunting him since the fall of Berlin and his dogs in reaching Dirizhor, an ultimate insider who was controlling the levers of power in absolute secrecy, with whose support the coup would surely succeed with Russia again becoming a Stalinist dictatorship and the world brought to the brink of a nuclear war - only Metcalfe with his special knowledge of Russia and Germany could avert the danger.
My views about the book
This is a very interesting book, like most of Ludlum's other novels.Ludlum is possibly one of the best writers, able to make political thrillers seem real.
Here the doomed love story of Lana and Steven Metcalfe, is interwoven with the tale of nazi misdeeds and the Russians trying to beat the Nazi's at their own game. The Americans, the jokers in the pack are looking for opportunities for introducing new dimensions into this already complicated situation.
The poor lovers caught up amidst all this power play, are unable to have a happy time with each other, all the time dodging one or the other political force.This was definitely not a time for love ..
One is overwhelmed by Svetalana's struggle for existence and her love for the 2 men in her life - her father Mikhail Baranova, a hero of the Russian revolution, with a deep secret ? that was life threatening and Metcalfe who she continued to love with the same passion and devotion even after all those years of being separated from him.Situations are such that helping her Stiva, as she calls Steven metcalfe, would only endamger her life, but she never hesitates and goes ahead and decides to do what she thinks is right- a remarkable lady!.
I felt extremely moved by the account of her struggles in a country that had turned hostile to its own citizens, where normal life was impossible and where there is secrecy and a sense of fear at every step.
Metcalfe after meeting Lana is predictably in two minds- one can picture his turmoil, caught between his duty for his country and his over powering love for Lana.
As some one rightly remarks 'The Great wars are fought based on words and disinformation' is amply proved here.
This is a sad tale of betrayal.The Nazi ruled Paris and Moscow seem such depressing places those days, that one is happy not to have been born during those times .Life seems so hard for the commoners, where their life meant so very little for those in power.
As i mentioned earlier this is a story of betrayal.Metcalfe and Lana both betrayed by their own people.
The novel is fast paced, with a alot of action that shifts from Paris to Moscow and Berlin.I liked this book for several reasons- First of all because i like any book on the subject of Holocaust and World war and Hitler for all the wrong reasons makes interesting reading. And, i like stories on espionage, which this book has in plenty- the game of information and disinformation travelling back and forth, and by the end of it, one is snot sure which one of them is right and which one is false.I also like the touching and sad love story of Steva and Lana .Here in this novel Ludlum has given a lot of prominence to the story of the lovers and everything revolves around it, which is quite unlike his other books where action takes precedence.
A Great book to read.I read it all over again before writing this review and found it as interesting as the first time.