The Kandinsky Code
Robert Lamar Feuge’s The Kandinsky Code opens in October 1970 on a pivotal if initially bleak day for the Soviet Navy. Disgusted by Brezhnev’s funding cuts, the channeling of money and prestige to the Army, and the Politburo’s willingness to let the United States take the lead on the world stage, eighty-one-year-old Admiral Sergei Gorshkov determines to initiate an operation codenamed Roksana. He explains to a rapt audience of submarine cadets that the operation will involve the new Pike attack submarine, which will be capable of sailing undetected to Hudson Bay, from where its nuclear-tipped missiles will be able to strike key US cities. As for why Gorshkov is telling the cadets his plan, the submarine won’t be functional until 1979, which means one of them will likely be its caption.
Of course, with the Cold War raging and spies seemingly lurking behind every door, news of Roksana quickly leaks out to the West. Xavier Levesque, a British asset posing as the proprietor of an art gallery in Leningrad, is handed a doctored copy of Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition IV, which includes a microdot that contains details of the Soviet plans. He should immediately dispatch the print to his contact in NATO, but he can’t resist first taking a look at the picture. Unfortunately, at that moment, several people enter the gallery. One is clearly a KGB agent, while the other is a peculiar young man named Boris who is desperate to buy the copy of Composition IV for the princely sum of 200 rubles. Needing to get the picture away from the KGB, Levesque agrees to the sale.
As soon as Boris leaves the gallery, the race is on between the KGB agent and Levesque to catch up to him and reclaim the Kandinsky. With NATO willing to do anything to get the hidden data and the Soviets willing to do the same to get it back, art appreciation has never placed anyone in more danger…
The Kandinsky Code is a thrilling spy story that is packed with twists and turns and plenty of danger. Like all good tales of espionage and deception, pretty much no one is who they initially seem, not even the rather strange Boris. There are crosses and double-crosses aplenty, and Feuge has layered the story with plenty of detail. He has clearly done a great deal of research into the period as well as the shady shenanigans that characterized Cold War espionage. As such, the story captures the atmosphere of the time and both the dialogue and the locations ring true. It’s no surprise that there’s a fair bit of violence in the story, but it’s also very humorous in places. The characters are engaging, if occasionally infuriating, and it’s a lot of fun to follow all their attempts to track down Composition IV and the information it contains.
As The Kandinsky Code was written as a prequel to Feuge’s 2014 novel The Victor III Affair, readers who are interesting in learning what the future has in store for key characters should read that book next. Also, a third book in the series, Paradise Lost, is forthcoming.
|Author||Robert Lamar Feuge|
|Page Count||432 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|