Stealing Thunder presents a thrillingly suspenseful alternative history. Set against the backdrop of the actual events that took place at Los Alamos during the development of the atomic bomb, Stealing Thunder gives voice to real characters such as Robert Oppenheimer, Nils Bohr, and the convicted traitor, Klaus Fuchs. The action moves from 1944 to present day and from the New Mexico desert to Boston, London, Berlin, Moscow and a remote farm in Iceland where horses are dying from a mysterious disease.
Cynical, twice-divorced journalist John Burke is led by a young, attractive German counterpart, Sabine Kotschke, to investigate what could be the big story he has been seeking all his professional life. Amid plot and counterplot, with the White House and the Kremlin hurrying to impede their progress, Burke and Kotschke negotiate a maze of conflicting information and sinister threats that leads back to Los Alamos and the men who made the atom bomb. In a gripping finale, Burke finds himself reassessing those legendary nuclear physicists-which, if any, were really traitors? And the beautiful, self-confident Sabine to whom he has grown so close-is she really just a journalist after a good story, or does she have other intentions?
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Peter Millar is the author of the novel Tomorrow Belongs to Me. He lives in London.From Kirkus Reviews:
British newcomer Millar turns in an alternative history of the Cold War. John Burke is a middle-aged journalist whose specialty is writing on that war. Newly divorced, he's especially vulnerable when Sabine Kotschke, an attractive German journalist, enlists his aid to ferret out the mystery of Klaus Fuchs's death. During wartime, Fuchs was the physicist who smuggled secrets to Russia, enabling the Soviets to build the bomb ten years sooner than they otherwise could have. Fuchs did not regard himself as a spy, but concluded (along with other physicists at Los Alamos) that the secret of the atom was too great a responsibility for any one power to handle. Regardlessas Millar shows in his scenes set in 1944he was branded a spy, only to fall into obscurity again in East Germany. Was he murdered and, if so, for what secret? Burke and Kotschke trace the story from England to New Mexico to Russia. Someones chasing them, and several times they are nearly killed. Burke suspects that Kotschke is not what she seems, but his lust for her, which she toys with, dulls his judgment. He fancies he's James Bond. Meanwhile, events rush ahead of his understanding, until he finds himself searching for a mysterious document called the ``Sunshine Plan''a provisional agreement between the Allies and the Third Reich intended to thwart Soviet ambitions to seize Berlin and stake their claims to postwar Europe. Fuchs, in short, was a red herring, and Burke is the dupe of East German intelligence, itself in competition with right-wing Soviet nationalists to shake up the West with the truth: namely, that the righteous Allies, in forming a pact with a nearly defeated Germany, were as opportunistic as Stalin himself when he made his pact with Hitler. A solid piece of work, less suspenseful than absorbing and intelligent. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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