A dying man recounts the story of the most amazing person he has ever met, a brilliant, Soviet linguist, whom he calls Youriko. It is a tale of love, daring-do, spies and danger set in Japan, Germany, Turkey, the USA, Canada and the UK, but mostly in the Soviet Union of the Seventies.
Two girls, born thousands of miles apart in Kazakhstan and Japan just after World War II, meet and are like peas in a pod. They also get on like sisters and keep n touch for the rest of their lives.
However, one wants to help her battle-scarred country and the other wants to leave hers for the West. They dream up a daring, dangerous plan to achieve both goals, which Andropov, the chief of the Soviet KGB, is told about. He dubs it Operation Youriko and it is set in motion, but does it have even the remotest chance of success?
Andropov’s Cuckoo is based on a ‘true story’ related to the author by one of the protagonists.
Shirley Forrest Nomakeo –
Straight From Today’s Headlines
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audiobooks Unleashed and agreed to give an honest review in return. I loved this book. Several stories within a story very cleverly told. Espionage, work camps, the KGB, and defection, this story has it all. Natalia’s mother was ensconced in the CPSU the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and encouraged her daughter to change her identity and go ‘deep’ into the tenuous world of do what you’re told or pay the consequences. From there her life takes many twists, and we get a glimpse of how young girls are drawn into a life of ‘service to their country’ while being at their mercy if something goes wrong. Yuri Andropov served a short tenure as leader of Russia between Brezhnev and Chernenko and thought of Natalia as his little ‘cuckoo’ a self-satisfying term of endearment. The story is a memory told and narrated by a friend who felt the need to get the story out. The actual narration by James Hill was flawless. Not much else to say without spoiling the effect of the story which I feel is best revealed by the story itself. I highly recommend this story.