Title:                 Rift Zone

Author:               Raelynn Hillhouse

Hillhouse, Raelynn (2004). Rift Zone. New York: Forge Books

LCCN:    2003071102

PS3608.I44 R57 2004


Date Updated:  March 30, 2015

Rift Zone is the first Cold War thriller to be published by a major publisher since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “The absolutely riveting scenes of escape and capture in her first thriller prove that Hillhouse might well be the next—and perhaps the last—excellent novelist to come in from the cold. Whitney’s brutal interrogation … is one of the most believably painful scenes in spy literature.”

In the turbulent years after the rise of the Berlin Wall, Germany stood dangerously divided between freedom and Communism. Dodging border patrols and guard posts, a silent few were able to cross the borders of the Iron Curtain to deliver needed supplies, always at the risk of their own lives.

This is the past Faith Whitney knew. The daughter of a Bible smuggler, Faith was raised on the danger that such a life brought with it, a danger that can rip lives apart, even that of a mother and daughter. Now grown and living in 1989 Germany, Faith continues to smuggle goods across the border, narrowly slipping by the East German Stasi each time.

But her activities haven’t gone unnoticed. The Stasi have recruited her to deliver a package to Moscow, a package that must be delivered within forty-eight hours, or Faith will be eliminated. Her payment: the long-desired location of her missing father. The danger mounts as Faith is secretly contacted by the beautiful and seductive Colonel Bogdanov of the KGB, who also wants the package at any cost. Barely surviving harsh interrogations, and unsure of whom to trust, Faith turns to her ex-fiancée, Naval Officer Max Summer, the only man with the know-how to get her and her delivery to Moscow in one piece. On the run, the more they discover about the package, the more they realize that delivering it will likely cost them their lives. Little do they both know that the package is part of a larger plan, one that could affect the result of the Cold War in ways no one ever imagined.

Raelynn Hillhouse has been recruited as a spy by both Libyan and East German intelligence services. (They failed.) A former professor and Fulbright fellow, she’s not only faced the barrels of Kalashnikovs, but has also been caught in the crossfire of border guards’ snowball fights.

Hillhouse earned her M.A. in Russian and East European studies and her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. She completed her undergraduate degree in history and German area studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She has published articles about Eastern Europe in major academic journals and has lectured at such prestigious institutions as Harvard, the Smithsonian Institution, Soviet Academy of Sciences, among others. She speaks several languages, including German, French and Russian.

The author of this book is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and this review is published on the Association’s website.



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