“Successor” – a new novel on Russian espionage in USA focuses on Russo Ukrainian war



Article by: Igor Solovey

American writer, former senior CIA operative with almost thirty years of experience Michael R. Davidson and journalist, analyst, one of the writers at LB.ua [and Euromaidan Press – ed] Kseniya Kirillova have written a sequel to their novel “In the Shadow of Mordor.” Their new novel “Successor” concentrates on Russian activities inside the USA and in large part coincides with current political events in the United States.

Last year LB.ua wrote about the first publication in the USA of an espionage novel based on the Russo-Ukrainian war. The authors of the book “In the Shadow of Mordor‘ – American writer and former senior CIA operative with over 30 years of experience, Michael R. Davidson and journalist, analyst and one of the writers for our site, Kseniya Kirillova included used real events in their novel: the murder of journalists investigating the apartment bombings in Moscow in 1999, the techniques used by pro-Kremlin fascist youth organizations, the realities of life in occupied Donbas, and the work of a Ukrainian intelligence officer under the occupation.

Read more: ”In The Shadow of Mordor.” An espionage novel about the Russo-Ukrainian war published in the USA

Photo: Kseniya Kirillova

Photo: Kseniya Kirillova

The sequel Successor takes aim at Russians inside the USA and in large part coincides with political events in the United States today.

“The plot was based on speculation that appeared from time to time in various media about the Kremlin preparing a successor to Putin with the primary purpose of creating the appearance of an approachable and Europe-oriented policy, but which in reality would only wait for an opportune moment to continue Moscow’s aggressive policies. As yet these rumors have come to nothing, and the ‘successor’ in our book is clearly a fictional character. But we wanted to describe an actual problem – that several members of the Russian opposition do permit themselves dangerous compromises and deals with individual ‘Kremlin towers’ that could have unfortunate consequences when any change of power in Russia becomes nothing more than “switching portraits” and cannot bring down the all-powerful special services,” explained Kseniya Kirillova in her interview with LB.ua.

Another important plot line is based on information about contacts between American politicians and Russian businessmen and even intelligence.

“Reality turned out to be worse than fiction,” opined Kseniya Kirillova. “In the book, our storyline includes contact between one of the advisors of the American president and Russians. But in reality, such contacts apparently take place at the very highest level. The nature of these contacts is as yet unknown – corruption or ‘espionage.’ But the example of Ukraine reveals that there is no real difference between these two forms of contact: this type of conflict of interests always arrives at a point where politicians in hopes of defending their corrupt contacts act against the interests of their own country. We can see the sad consequences of this today in the USA.”


Besides a more detailed treatment of American politics and Russian-American relations, the subject of the Russo-Ukrainian war remains as a key element of the second book. The action takes place at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 when the Kremlin organizes sabotage and attempts at all costs to destabilize the internal situation while Ukrainian society has become weary of the endless confrontation but nevertheless continues its stubborn struggle.

Amateur Intelligence officer Mykhailo Korzh, one of the main characters in “Mordor,” this time appears as an experienced counter-intelligence officer of the SBU. However, his former comrades in arms from the Donbas Volunteer Battalion come to his aid at a difficult moment to help him capture a GRU officer who provides very valuable information (an obvious parallel to the story of the GRU Spetsnaz operatives Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov who were detained in Ukraine.) His exploits in the second book do not end in the Ukrainian east – Mykhailo appears in Kiev and even America where he personally encounters a high-ranking Russian defector.

“Yet another fairly amusing thing that we wanted to show in this book is the conflict and competition between different Russian intelligence services: the GRU and FSB, intelligence and counter-intelligence. The pseudonym of the character ‘Tereza,’ an FSB employee, also is taken from reality – Larisa Chubarova, an employee of Russian special services, used similar methods with Ukrainian prisoners and who ultimately was exposed by one of the prototypes for our hero, Ukrainian intelligence officer Maksym Yarosh,” explain the authors.

Regardless of the truly difficult situation in Ukraine and the world, there is hope to be found at the end of the book. The final scene is in Kiev in the spring: blooming, hospitable, and in spite of everything unbroken; against a background of the monument to the Heavenly Hundred new life is blooming. The e-book version of the book is available already at Amazon.com.

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