A terrifying novel of the totalitarian mind in action.
In the late fall of 1941 the Germans entered Kharkov, at that time capital of the Ukraine. Sixteen months later the Red Army drove them out. The Time of the Assassins concerns what happened in the city between these two historical events.
A terrifying dissection of German and Russian psychology, this is the story of the city’s inhabitants, man of whom were hanged by the Germans when the retreating NKVD abandoned intact their records of Party membership. Others lived on with simple survival their only goal. Then, as the tide of war turned westward from Stalingrad, the Communist underground returned surreptitiously to Kharkov – and a new fear was abroad. Already distant artilllery fire was buising the empty windows. New assassins were soon to come.
The subject is one few Westerners would have been equipped to write about, but Mr Blunden was among the handful of foreign correspondents to return to Kharkov with the victorious Russians. What he saw at first hand, plus his imaginative insight into the complex and desperate forces which had been at work during the German occupation, provided the genesis of The Time of the Assassins.