|About the Book|
Umnitsa, in Russian, means good girl or clever girl. The good girl of this saga is Marianne, Countess Didier, a Parisian high-life in search of her soul. She was orphaned as a tiny girl in a seedy little town at the end of the world, on theMoreUmnitsa, in Russian, means good girl or clever girl. The good girl of this saga is Marianne, Countess Didier, a Parisian high-life in search of her soul. She was orphaned as a tiny girl in a seedy little town at the end of the world, on the Arctic coast of Siberia. Her mother, dying of consumption and heartbreak, often spoke of her wonderful days in America, and the lost love of her life—a handsome young U.S. Navy officer named Tim Nordhall. Adopted by a wealthy Parisian couple, she has everything—yet spends her life searching for her long-lost father and his secrets.On the personal level of its engaging characters, it is a powerful emotional tapestry. Its heroes and heroines tangle in love and sensuality, while rising to heroic action. The villains step from the shadows of espionage to betray, to kill, to sell souls. Each has, yet, a human side--as with the triple agent Jaguar, who serves many masters but, ultimately, betrayed by fate, as are many of Hitler’s and Stalin’s henchmen, his allegiance after the Cold War is to a drug-addicted daughter in a sleazy Moscow suburb. And he is able to help Marianne on her journey to find her father, who was the only enemy Jaguar ultimately could never defeat or kill—nor wanted to.Umnitsa has the panoramic scope of Herman Wouk classics like Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. It has the paranoid, edgy fabric of John Le Carré’s complicated Cold War spy novels. It makes its own tragicomic statement about America as well, in the tradition of Thomas Pynchon’s fiction and the film Chinatown. The lives and actions of the characters are as enmeshed in their labyrinths as those of Lawrence Durrell in Alexandria.For Tim Nordhall and the women and spies in his life, San Francisco in summer 1945 was the intersection point of two epic wars--World War Two and the Cold War--as well as the founding time and place of the United Nations. Agents of Stalin and Hitler have burrowed deeply into the still-naïve U.S.A. of Harry Truman’s day, in prelude to the acid and corruption of the Cold War decades.John T. Cullen’s fresh, readable, and highly knowledgeable plotting combines classic themes with fresh, sensual writing. Tim Nordhall’s adventures take the reader from lion-haunted deserts on the South Atlantic coast of Africa, to radium-rich mines of the Belgian Congo (then still owned by the Nazis), to rainy London and its high-stakes espionage, and ultimately San Francisco, then as now a City of Love.In San Francisco, Tim falls into an unusual love triangle with two remarkable women—the one a Middle Eastern assassin masquerading as a secretary at the founding of the United Nations- the other a daring test pilot. There is even a chance meeting with a young, shifty-eyed Richard Nixon as a transient Quartermaster officer in an elegant Nob Hill hotel.Tim and the women in his life carve out a niche of love and sanity amid the reckless craziness of war. Together, they help save the world. For that, Tim will remain on the run for the rest of his life, hunted by Stalin’s vengeful agents. Countess Didier (Umnitsa, his daughter), will search for her long-lost father, around the globe, nearly half a century later. Nothing is as it seems—nothing can prepare her for what she finds, full circle, at the end of her journey. Umnitsa is a saga of love, treason, murder, and redemption—a story whose beginning is its end, and whose tragedy is its redemption.