Robert E. Townsend was born and raised on a farm in northern Wisconsin. After graduating in 1969 from the University of Wisconsin, Townsend flew 135 combat missions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. From 1982-1989 he was deputy chief, Air Force Intelligence Agency, counter-deception directorate at CIA. He is among some of the few dozen men and women in America intimate with the war of ruse and stratagem between the US and the USSR.
Slavic on the maternal and deep-south redneck on the paternal side, his parents managed money poorly and told stories well. Spare, pithy, lasting the duration of a Pall Mall cigarette, the tales were meant to both teach and entertain. No one is completely useless. They can always serve as a bad example.
In the spring, 1953, Danton Larionov, son of NKVD officer, Captain Volk Larionov, spies Ekaterina Soroka, the Ukrainian, herding sheep in the shadow of the Suzdal's medieval fortress. He intends to rape her, but she pauses him with a fairy tale beginning his time of troubles. Suzdal is now a GULAG. As Stalin's death convulses the Soviet Union, she holds him a bay with Russian tales. In the fall, she disappears, as if Koschei, the Deathless, has taken her. He vows to find her, and begins his journey through distant and strange lands to battle an implacable and cunning enemy armed with the most improbable and powerful weapons, the American soldier, Richard Belisle, hero of the first and second novels of The Long War Series.