I lived and worked in Russia from 1994-1999. Some refer to it as a sort of “wild west” mentality. People were experiencing freedoms they had never had before under the Soviet Union—some with good results and some bad. Foreign companies opened their doors and jobs prospects for those with the right training or simply a command of English found opportunities unknown before that time. People could travel, and inexpensive tours offered flights to places rarely visited under the Soviet system. At the same time, some experienced grinding poverty. Our church supported a soup kitchen for pensioners and provided them with at least one hot meal a day. Some of the scientific elite found themselves unemployed, and companies sometimes paid employees in goods or inventory because of a lack of cash.
This time provided the setting for my thriller Saving Hope—a mixture of rising expectations and a scary, uncertain future. Those with foresight and the proper skills could seize the moment. That’s what Alexandra’s friend Vladimir was able to do:
“Things are so bad.” She shook her head, and the strand slipped from his grasp. “I saw Piotr the other day. He’s lost his job too. They seem to be letting everyone go. I wonder who will be left. You were smart to leave so early. Look at how well you’ve done.” She sighed. “I wish we had your business sense.”
“Few do.” His smile was faint, but the pride obvious.
I truly enjoyed my time in Russia. Getting to know the people, the culture, and the history was a opportunity of a lifetime.
What about you? Have you lived abroad? Or visited other countries? What was your experience like?
More about Saving Hope:
Steve Berry, NYT Bestselling author, describes Saving Hope as “a tantalizing premise that toys with the most basic of emotions—a parent’s drive to save their child.”
In one of Siberia’s formerly closed cities, Alexandra Pavlova, an unemployed microbiologist, struggles to save her daughter’s life. When she turns to Vladimir, her oldest friend, for help, she’s drawn into Russia’s underworld. His business dealings with the Iranians come to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent. Alexandra finds herself joining forces with Sergei to stop the export of a deadly virus in a race to save both her daughter and the world.
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