While most know that in recent times Ukraine has been the setting of revolution, rampage, and resurgence, few know that it has also been the setting of an American spy novel. Authored by Russell R, Miller, “Death of a Spy Master: A New Ukrainian Spy Thriller” takes readers on a journey of friendship and loyalty through the depths of Chernobyl, the impassioned revolts in Kyiv, and the streets of Cairo, all in the name of justice.
As the former Senior Vice President of International Development for Zenith Electronics, Miller has traveled to over 100 countries, many of which he visited at least fifty to sixty times. It’s no surprise that his novels feature unique locales like the Tin Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Closed City in the Carpathian Mountains, and most recently urban Ukraine. At 87 years of age, Miller has had three spy novels published and, significantly, two of of the three novels take place in parts of Ukraine.
“Ukraine really fascinates me,” Miller said. “I was struck by the fact that the country had never been independent for more than a few moments until they finally became independent from Russia after the Cold War was over, and the Berlin Wall fell. Ukraine has had a difficult time adjusting to independence and it seems like the problem is continuing.”
Although Miller retired from Zenith Electronics after twenty years of service, his years of retirement have been anything but a time of leisure. Miller has served as the economic advisor for the World Bank. He has worked for the United Nations Development Program, and he has worked with the Vienna-based United Nations Industrial Development Organization on projects relating to former Soviet countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In his spare time, Miller has also published six books. Impressively productive, the author has said that he really just writes to entertain.
Iknow I should say there is something I want my readers to learn from my book, but actually I write my books to entertain,”
“I try to write a spy novel that people who read spy novels will relate to. I try to fill them with facts that will be interesting to the reader, and my principle in that is just to entertain.”
In terms of entertainment, “Death of a Spymaster” certainly delivers. The story begins in Washington with the mysterious death of a former spy. Dragged out of retirement, former international executive Charley Connelly leaves his peaceful life in suburbia to pursue the journey of truth in discovering what really happened to the spymaster, his former friend and mentor. The journey is both worldly and convoluted. Connelly travels from Austria to Kyiv before joining forces with a disgraced CIA agent now working for Israeli intelligence. The pair pursue the spymaster’s sinister killer together, becoming entrenched in the Ukrainian revolt in the process. It isn’t until they survive the harrowing travels through the Chernobyl dead zone to Tel Aviv, and then Cairo, that they finally discover the true culprit.
Pooling his own life experiences, “Death of a Spymaster” ties together Miller’s own travels, unique perspectives, and a wide array of factual and historical intelligence.
“Writing novels has provided me with productivity during my retirement, and I think that’s been important,” Miller said.
A lthough these books have challenged me, I’ve enjoyed writing them. It’s really permitted me and given me opportunity to expand my life of productivity.”
By Olga Tymouch