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“Leningrad 1989. The Cold War is over. Or is it? Amid the euphoria over the looming US-Soviet presidential summit, forces conspire to destroy the peace process…

Set in Berlin, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), London, Venice, Stockholm, and the island of Capri, Jack Steele becomes embroiled in a secret Vatican-inspired plot to assassinate a world leader in the name of peace. Only Steele can thwart the assassination—unless they liquidate him first. Even as the Iron Curtain falls and the Berlin Wall crumbles, Jack Steele’s KGB nemesis will never accept Western superiority. Soviet KGB officer, Oleg Stepanovich Pugachev, plots a secret conspiracy to ensure the Cold War will never end—not now, not ever.

Based on the incredible true story of an American president’s (Ronald Reagan) top secret “Deception Committee” and his ingenious plan to win the Cold War.

TheBigThrill caught up with bestselling author Richard Lyntton to learn more about the third thriller in The Deception Series, LENINGRAD DECEPTION:

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

Absolutely. In 1989, I studied at the Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow as part of a Russian degree at Exeter University. During the Christmas Holiday of 1987, I persuaded our KGB supervisor to take us (student group) on a 6-day train journey across the former Soviet Union to Vladivostok. At the time, Vladivostok was a “closed city” – no foreigners allowed. So we ended up in Khabarovsk. Our beautiful Russian “Intourist” guide was clad in a mink fur hat and coat and as we stood on the frozen tundra of the Amurg River, I thought this would be a fantastic setting for a novel. When I realized that both China and North Korea was less than fifty miles away, I started to think of a plot even though it took many years and a couple of wars (Gulf War 1 and Bosnia) to write it. The spark for Leningrad Deception Book 3 was working on the Bond movie “Golden Eye” in St. Petersburg and thinking what a great setting this would be for a spy novel.

Richard Lyntton

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

Yes, indeed. I always need a strand of history, real conspiracy or something that outrages me to draft my plot. After researching Ronald Regan’s “Deception Committee” and the “Whiskey on the Rocks” debacle that involved unidentified submarines probing the Swedish coast line, on top of the assassination of the Swedish prime minister whose murder has to date never been solved, I had the premised and seeds I needed for Leningrad Deception.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

Golden Eye, The Bourne Series, and my favorite movie of all time, The Lives of Others.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

Not really. Jack Steele is based on the author and the author’s experience in the military, traveling and studying foreign languages: Russian, French, German and Bosnian.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

Truth is always stranger than fiction. The Cold War, glasnost and perestroika did not happen as we think it did, even though I personally lived it during the Reagan-Gorbachev era and the fall of the Berlin Wall. You can never believe what you read, see or hear with 100% certainty. I always say that my stories are grounded in truth, might conceivably happen, BUT, I allow myself to dip one big toe over the proverbial line!

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

My great aunt Florence served as a lady’s maid to two Queen Elizabeths and traveled the world for 30 years in service with the royal household. We published a memoir called From Cottage to Palace and I would like to use this story combined with my service, experience and knowledge as a former captain in the Household Cavalry ceremonial unit and my service in Gulf War 1 and Bosnia to craft a plot that involves “the end of the monarchy, or is it?”, Nazis and the Russian KGB nemesis from Leningrad Deception Book 3 returning to destroy Europe as we know it. Along those lines with lashings of high concept!


Author Richard Lyntton was born in Highgate, London. He studied Russian, German, French and Bosnian at Exeter University, Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, Sandhurst, and the Defense School of Languages, Beaconsfield, UK.

Richard Served as a captain and tank commander in the first Gulf War; European Community Task Force Humanitarian Liaison in Russia, United Nations Military Observer in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He was called to testify at the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague after witnessing and filming human rights atrocities in Bosnia. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, interior designer Michelle Wenitsky, and their two sons. Their favorite getaway is Capri.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.