The nightmare of fascism is something we would all rather forget, yet the horrors of the last war and the men who combated the evils of fascism must never be forgotten. Those heroes whose exploits for various reasons were unknown until recently must also be accorded their rightful place in history.
Yulian Semyonov's new novel Seventeen Moments of Spring brings us the largely documentary story of one of those heroes, Maxim Isaev, alias SS Standartenfuhrer Stirlitz, known as Justas to those in charge of Soviet Intelligence. He has access to top military and political secrets and ejoyed the confidence of Schellenberg, Martin Bormann and Himmler.
The action of the novel is set in 1945, by which time Maxim Isaev has behind him many years' experience of harrowing intelligence work, involving a constant gamble with death. He is almost at the end of his tether, and is planning to leave the fray after successfully completing a mission from Center when he goes back into the enemy's lair once again, ready to face risks greater than ever, knowing that there he can best serve his people...
In answer to countless readers' questions as to whether Maxim Isaev was a fictitious character Semyonov replies: "No, this particular Soviet agent combines traits of several heroic men now living, to whom I should like to express my gratitude for their brave, noble and inspiring lives..."