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The Thin Wall: A POW/MIA Truth Novel Paperback – January 16, 2014
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─ Senator Bob Smith [R-NH, 1990-2002]
"Exposes bits of truth and reality about the suppressed saga of un-repatriated American Prisoners of War."
─ Chip Beck, Ex-POW Special Investigator
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
I will add this: I appreciate the author’s involvement with Czechoslovakia in his story. Similar to me recently learning about Chechnya in A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA, so I learned about so much in West’s story. To read this is to raise awareness of many things outside our protected boxes of information.
Thank you to the author for reaching out to me and providing an electronic version of this book for my review.
I will say that the POW/MIA aspect is more of a device that serves in the background. The main focus of the story is on Anya and the native people who are trapped under the boot of the increasing mad Soviet colonel with plans of his own. The character of Milan was the most interesting to me, and through him this all ties together. The love-triangle aspect didn't feel entirely necessary to me, but it works fine. Some of the characters, I'm mostly thinking of young Jiri, sometimes do or say things that don't seem quite natural but move the action where the author wants, but it's forgivable. I really liked that the dialogue often sounded as if it had been translated, adding to cultural tone of the story.
As far as this book's general worth as a book, the story moves along with a well-paced plot. The characters are interesting, believable, hated when they're supposed to be, and cared about when they're supposed to be. Everything that happens is believable, for the most part. The tension builds to a climax where I couldn't put the book down until I was done. The writing itself flows well and isn't distracting by showing off what the author can do, instead letting the story stand for itself.
Highly recommend for anyone interested in historical fiction with a plausible, political "conspiracy theory" twist.
In a story that is intensely riveting the threads of the plot not only bring to light Dal's destructive path in trying to subvert the citizens of Mersk , but the tragic incarceration and suffering of American POW's held in captivity after the Vietnam war. Although fiction the plot is build on historical fact - the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and the fate of "American service personnel listed as missing in action during the Vietnam war." With stark intensity and mounting suspense R. Cyril West builds a plot that centers around a woman ostracized because of her mixed bloodline, and a hero haunted by his past; both stand like a" thin wall " between the weak and the strong. Feeling cursed because of premonitions that predicted the death of her lovers Anya Sahhat refuses to be thwarted by the vicious tongues of the villagers or the lascivious overtures of a demented KGB officer. Similarly Dr. Milan Husak, a man whose American connection could mean death if discovered, refuses to be coerced into a deadly rescue until circumstances propel him into setting aside love for deliverance. Woven into a plot filled with violence and cruelty there are strong elements of courage, love, forgiveness and self-sacrifice.
The core characters, like the plot are well-developed and complex, each one driven by either fanatical principals or dark secrets. Ayna Sahhat a child of Czech and Azeri blood stoically suffers the villagers harassment as well as the pain of rape as a teen. Feeling cursed because of the sudden tragic deaths of her lovers, she buries her emotions in the music of her beloved cello. Yet for all her troubles she's feisty, stubborn, headstrong and courageous. Anya is intensely protective of Jiri her difficult and impulsive son who shuns school to play football in the streets. Dr. Milan (Mickey) Husak during WWII gave up his American roots to remain in Czechoslovakia as a doctor and has climbed the rungs of success in the Ministry of Health. A war hero troubled by a dark secret is humble, unselfish and empathetic. Gunnery Sergeant Russell Edward Johnston is the brave POW, a hero who has been abused and tortured yet remains silent in adversity answering every question with his name, rank and serial number.
Yet it is the realism of the antagonists in this story that sends chills down your back and keeps you wrapped up in the story from the first page to the last. Colonel Grigori Dal is a merciless Russian killer who's an arrogant, smug and intimidating hardliner. Under the pretext of peaceful co-existence he bullies the villagers with threats, a heartless murder and a tank aimed at the steeple of the church. Yet for all his Communist principals he will lie and cheat to selfishly get what he wants. His henchman Sergeant Gurko is just as cruel, vicious and merciless. Like all the personalities they add power, drama and passion to this intoxicating tale that brings to light the tragic imprisonment of POW's still considered missing in action.
I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating story and highly recommend it with its sheer intensity, stark honesty and high-powered suspense. My only small criticism is that I would have liked to have known what happened to Anya and the Mersk villagers after all the death and destruction