The Blood Stiller
New York socialite Christina Gartner befriends her White Russian neighbor and stumbles on a dangerous secret from her past. Christina is drawn into an émigré conspiracy and a love affair, and discovers she is on the kill list of a spy plotting against the Russian government. This historically accurate thriller weaves intrigue in revolutionary Russia and modern New York into a compelling read. More
Wealthy New York socialite Christina Gartner, embittered by her recent divorce, attempts to escape from her glamorous life by moving from her luxurious Fifth Avenue residence to a shabby apartment building on East 82nd Street.
Christina, raised on a farm in rural Ohio, is intellectual, bookish and rather naïve. She impulsively abandoned work on a doctorate in history and a promising academic career to marry Lawrence Digby, heir to a fortune and head of the Digby Corporation. When he betrays and publicly humiliates her, she is crushed and cannot get her life together.
Shortly after her move to the new apartment, she befriends her mysterious neighbor Mme. Feodosia Petrovna Antonova, a White Russian who fled her country after the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Depressed, close to a breakdown, Christina is enthralled by Mme. Antonova’s dramatic stories of old Russia, which she suspects may be exaggerated. Lulled by the safety and comfort of living in Mme. Antonova’s version of the past, she is drawn into her neighbor’s eccentric émigré circle, and gradually becomes aware that Madame Antonova has been guarding a dangerous secret since her escape from the revolution. Christina is plunged into the reality of her neighbor’s turbulent past and involvement in the intrigue and sexual debauchery surrounding both the Bolshevik leaders and Tsar Nicholas II’s court. Her attempts to uncover Madame Antonova’s long buried secret leads to the heart of a sinister émigré conspiracy.
Christina is forced into a dangerous game with the KGB, and ends up on the hit list of a shadowy former spy and his killers. This ruthless old Bolshevik, hunting for the powerful secret, is plotting to bring down the Russian government and install a reign of terror equal to Stalin’s.
On the run from the killers, Christina finds herself in a love-hate relationship with Jack Reilly, a New York detective, who takes her into protective custody. They have a passionate affair and she falls deeply in love.
This fast paced historically accurate novel stretches over five decades and across the globe, from windswept Tobolsk in Siberia to the bustling streets of New York City. The compelling story of betrayal and intrigue moves from the secret revolutionary cells formed during Russia’s revolution to the émigré world in Manhattan.
The novel’s suspense and action are created by interweaving the clues to the mystery between 1917 Russia and 1970 New York City. The unifying device for the multifaceted plot is the front porch of an isolated cabin in rural Ohio in 2000 where Christina, hiding from brutal killers, reviews her archive, reliving haunting scenes from her past, still questioning the truth of the story.
The author researched Russia’s Revolutionary and Stalinist periods for eight years, using public records, personal letters and accounts from the period and other primary sources. All of the recorded public events, as well as the details of the Tsar’s family, Rasputin, Lenin and other known figures portrayed in this book, are historically accurate.
The Blood Stiller is the first of a trilogy of historical thrillers that take place during the Russian Revolution and Civil War and the present day. The second novel, The Blood Archive, which begins in 2002 after the World Trade Center destruction and continues Christina’s story, is soon to be published. It introduces Roo, a young redneck deputy sheriff from a small town in the Midwest who tries to redeem his failed life and Katya, a beautiful spoiled English woman who searches for her true identity. The third, The Devil’s Tears set in New York and Baku, Azerbaijan, is a work in progress.