2019 marks thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to VisitBerlin.de, the fall of the wall marked “the end of the massive border complex that left Berlin divided into East and West for twenty-eight years, tearing apart families, friends and neighbours.”
It was built in 1961, dividing the city of Berlin physically and ideologically for the best part of three decades. It was established in order to stagger the flow of refugees attempting to flee the communist government of East Germany. According to History.com, “construction of the wall caused a short-term crisis in U.S.-Soviet bloc relations, and the wall itself came to symbolize the Cold War.”
The Berlin wall became an international symbol of oppression and Cold War terror, and its demolition at the hands of protestors in November 1989 remains one of the most iconic and triumphant examples of people power in modern history.
VisitBerlin.de notes that “2019 is dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the Fall of the Wall and the city of Berlin is celebrating reunification and democracy!”
And what better way to celebrate such an iconic moment in history than with the hottest new post-Cold War thriller this year: Timothy Jay Smith’s latest thriller, The Fourth Courier. Publishers Weekly notes that The Fourth Courier features “Sharply drawn characters, rich dialogue, and a clever conclusion that bodes well for any sequel.” Booklist comments on how “Smith skillfully bridges police procedural and espionage fiction, crafting a show-stealing sense of place and realistically pairing the threats of underworld crime and destabilized regimes.”
Timothy Jay Smith is a proud member of the LGBTQ community, who is passionate about exploring these themes in his work. This is interesting to note due to the positive effect the fall of the Berlin wall had on the LGBTQ community. According to Local.de, “After the Berlin Wall fell… in the 1980s… the popularity of CSD (Christopher Street Day, Berlin’s Pride festival) “exploded” as many LGBT people began thinking more politically. Nowadays around half-a-million people of all sexualities, as well as from different cultures and backgrounds, join the demonstration which ends with a party at Brandenburg Gate.”
So, now you’re dying to know what this book is actually about. Well, sit back. Set in post-Cold War Poland in 1992, and exploring the politics and the problems of that time, this is not your ordinary thriller.
On the 30th anniversary of the victory of Solidarity in Poland and the fall of the Berlin Wall, comes a riveting new novel set in Poland on the brink of change, The Fourth Courier .
Smith sets his novel in 1992 in post-cold war Poland, where nothing is quite as it seems. When three execution-style murders take place in Warsaw, FBI Special Agent Jay Porter is assigned to help with the investigation, suspecting that the three victims may have been couriers hired to smuggle nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union.
When Jay learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has also disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.
Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier teams up an FBI agent with a gay CIA officer who uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.
See what I mean? And if you’re wondering a little more about the man behind this amazing read, let me more thoroughly introduce you to Timothy Jay Smith.
According to his website, Smith, who was “raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that populate his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, manoeuvre through war zones and Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.” Quite a life, huh? And that’s not all.
Smith’s book Fire on the Island was the winner of the 2017 Gold Medal in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He also won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his debut work, A Vision of Angels, and was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for short fiction. His screenplays have won numerous international competitions, and he is also the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.
It is no doubt Smith’s life experience and expertise that have allowed him to write such a thrilling novel, set so convincingly in post-Cold War Europe, and the result is the perfect book to help you celebrate thirty years since one of Europe’s greatest triumphs.
Looking for more amazing reads set in Europe? Check out the 5 best novels set in Europe, coming this year!