“The moon sure is pretty tonight. Look at how full she is.”
I stare at Gerard as he sits back, beer in his hand and admires award winning author, Lee Jackson’s poster for his novel Curse The Moon: Cold War Rising.
“You do know that is a poster, right? Not the real moon?”
“It sure looks like a full moon to me!”
I snatch the beer from his hand, it is obvious that he has had his fair share and its affecting his noodle.
“Oh for the love of God b’y! Would a real full moon have lettering on it?”
Gerard leans in, squinting. “Ah… Well, would you look at that. You’re right missus! What’s the book about anyways?”
I am about to give him to lowdown on this spine tingling, hold onto the seat of your pants and whatever else you can thrill ride when I hear my name being called from up in the house. “Hold on Mudder! I’m coming. Here, take a look at ‘er yourself.”
“Perfect, don’t mind if I do.” He says as he swipes the beer and media kit out of my hand.
His code-name is Atcho. He leads guerrilla fighters through the US-supported insurgency that rages at the Bay of Pigs in the early days of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Captured and cast into the island’s worst dungeons, Atcho learns that a phantom-like officer of the Soviet KGB shadows him. Inexplicably released from incarceration and still dedicated to his country, he battles through the bowels of the Kremlin in Moscow, into the granite halls at West Point, and finally to highest levels in Washington, DC. Atcho’s rise opens doors into US National Defence even as the seemingly omniscient KGB officer holds unflinching sway over his actions. His public life clashes with secrets that only he and his tormentor share, isolating him in a world of intrigue among people whom he is determined not to betray – and then he finds that he is the trigger that could spark thermonuclear war.
I write Historical Thriller Fiction – particularly surrounding the Cold War. Having lived in Morocco, Germany, Costa Rica, and of course in the United States; and, having been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for a combined 38 months, I’ve been up-close-and personal with many different cultures. I graduated from West Point and Boston University, resulting in a front row seat on many pivotal events. I live in Texas with my wife. My first novel, “Curse The Moon” is due out on 5 December 2013. I publish under my own name, Lee Jackson.
In this chamber, Atcho reflected on the comparative merits of life and death. He decided that death had a greater advantage. Every hope he clung to now came with a price so high it seemed impossible to pay. Death became a morbid fascination. He longed to welcome it, and imagined various ways he could achieve his demise. But there was no escape. In his torment, Isabel came often to his mind, and he obsessed over her well-being. But Govorov had been clear in what his suicide would mean for Isabel and her husband.
By the end of the first week, he was gaunt, his clothes hanging loosely on him. His body began to devour itself. Why not allow my darling daughter absence from suffering? He though. If I die, I will end her misery as well.
Since he felt a profound sense of having failed her, the thought comforted him. From the day she was kidnapped nearly twenty years ago, he had been excluded from her life. But now, he could expedite her passage to a state completely free of strife and pain. Through his delirium, he snickered at having upset Govorov’s plans while advancing Isabel’s welfare. He exulted over the Russian’s imagined rage, and an image of the Lubyanka fracturing at its base.
Diane Donovan from Midwest Book Reviews
Curse The Moon: Atcho Rises
Stonewall Publishers, LLC
9780989802574 Price: Print: $15.95; eBook: $2.99
Curse The Moon: Atcho Rises centers around a West Point graduate and guerrilla fighter (code named Atcho) who leads revolutionaries at the Bay Pigs during the early days of Castro’s Cuba, and opens with his imprisonment and subsequent release, where his political encounters with Moscow and the U.S. become key to his brand of warfare – and to a mystery overshadowing his struggles.
Trained to overthrow Castro and his regime, Atcho seems to hold the upper hand; but Soviet agent Govorov is equally determined not to let this happen, and holds Atcho’s young daughter hostage. Now it’s a personal as well as a political struggle that tests Archo’s limits and commitment.
Curse the Moon is loosely based on the life of Jackson’s Cuban-born father-in-law, who fought during the rise of Fidel Castro. The history behind Atcho’s struggles is impeccable, weaving facts and insights based on a pivotal point in history and injecting the characters of Atcho, his comrades, and his oppressors with realistic components that personalize the struggle.
A quick overview of the novel’s cast of characters, an explanatory prologue of history, and a map of Cuba deftly introduce background and setting, paving the way for a survey steeped in political intrigue and the atmosphere of 1960s Cuba.
It’s this attention to the details of atmosphere and setting that contribute to Curse the Moon‘s realistic, you-are-there feel: “Atcho could still scarcely believe that he was cutting sugarcane by hand with a machete. He had been in the fields many times here at the family plantation in Camaguey, on horseback, racing with his father through the rows of cane, even while field laborers swung their sharp, steel tools during the harvest. Fidel Castro, worried about losing the crop while the country was still in chaos since his coup, had issued an edict that all citizens would go into the fields to help harvest.”
Combine this with a dual focus on how personal lives become entwined with political purpose and social change and you have a historical novel packed with not just intrigue and tension, but with the ability to understand social change, the roots of revolution, and how one insider’s struggles can affect not just one nation, but the world.
Curse the Moon has it all, packaging its tense thriller in the cloak of understanding motivations both political and personal. Interplays between protagonists assume chess-like proportions as goals change, obstacles rise and fall, and emotions run deep.
It’s all about danger, sacrifice, and how even would-be romance bows to the pressure of a covert operator’s obligations. In the end the personal moves into political realms and comes full-circle to promise Atcho a life he could barely have imagined at the novel’s beginning. The warrior’s façade may soften, but can it transform to something more than constant struggle and fighting?
Curse the Moon charts this change and promise and is a powerful read for any who enjoy political intrigue tempered by personal transformation.
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