I greatly enjoyed the authors first book Command Influence, a fact based look at the Korean War, a war that I have heard people describe as the forgotten conflict. Few people know much about it or why it happened.

When I received news about Secrets In A Time Of Peace I couldn’t wait to read it. This book is billed as fiction, so Robert Shaines had clearly headed in a new direction, or had he? I have recently read several books billed as fiction, yet from talking to the authors it is obvious that there are elements of fact.

I have a suspicious mind, I know that Robert Shaines spent several years in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union as part of the international team tasked with locating and taking inventory of the stockpile of nuclear weapons. So when he pops up with a novel that has missing Nukes as a central theme, I start to think ‘oh my that is interesting’.

Secrets In A Time Of Peace is a great read, and while it is a work of fiction it does contain some factual content linked to the time he spent in Russia. The culture, the mind set of the ethnic regions, and even the politics, all get taken out for a walk. The net result is that the reader learns much, without realizing it. The contemporary history lesson has a fabulous action/adventure story wrapped around it.

OK I have rambled enough, you want the nits and grits of the plot! The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a time of chaos. The Cold War had created an arms race with the US in nuclear weapons, the term MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) came into being. Simple concept, you blow me up, I will blow you up. But you don’t want to keep all of your nukes in one place. A single strike and you are toast, so you spread them around. It is easy to find ICBM’s, they are really big and heavy and would require more than a couple of guys with a pickup truck to move them. However, what if the bomb is portable? What if you had a 10 kiloton weapon that could easily be moved? Lets call it a suitcase bomb. What if the inventory of nukes following the demise of the USSR shows that a number of these weapons are missing? What if some terrorist groups were interested in getting hold of one or more of these devices?

It is with this premise that Robert Shaines lures the reader in. He explores some interesting ideas. Would there be international co-operation by governments to stop the terrorists? Is it possible that some folks who may not normally classed as good guys, dealing in the grey market of arms sales be concerned?

It is a fabulous read. Secrets In A Time Of Peace is both a wild romp and a very thought provoking book. The author even finds time for some more fanciful ideas that will appeal to conspiracy theorists, have you flown on Aurora Airlines yet?

My favorite part of the book has to be one phrase he uses. I will not share it as it is an ethnic slur used only by Brits. How he found it, I have no idea. All I can say is Robert Shaines is well traveled.

I do hope to be interviewing him in the next few days.

To order your copy of Secrets In A Time Of Peace please use the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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