Ms. Cardin’s “Destination: Berlin” takes the reader back to 1988, when Germany was still a divided country and Berlin Wall still stood strong. In the days of the Cold War espionage was a well and alive, and numerous people engaged in it – some willingly and some much less so.
The story begins on a duty train, where U.S. Army Corporal Sharon Cates, headed to Berlin for an orientation tour, meets Russian Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory, an assistant to a high-ranking Soviet officer in USSR embassy in England. The two engage in conversation while in the dining car, but that is soon interrupted by an explosion. Sharon has no clue that she is carrying some top-secret documents in her briefcase and that Stasi, the Eastern German secret police, blew up the train to recover them while killing her in the process.
The explosion goes badly wrong. Sharon and Dimitri are thrown out of the dining car. Dimitri decides to help Sharon make her way to the West to return the top-secret documents and the chase begins. Sharon realizes her country probably thinks she stole the documents. This is a shocking realization for the honorable person that she has always been. She tries to figure out who planted those documents in her briefcase and why. Dimitri goes against everything that he was taught about the Americans being his enemy and risks his life on several occasions to protect the young woman that he clearly is beginning to care for more than he though possible.
But all is not what it seems on the surface. Who are the truly bad guys? And who are the honorable ones? Will Sharon make it alive to the West? Will Dimitri come with her?
It is clear that Ms. Cardin’s personal military background enabled her to write a book from the uniquely personal perspective of a female in the U.S. Army. Her knowledge of the day-to-day operations and army procedures adds an interesting layer to the story, as do the very directly expressed views on the role of women in the military as well as some quite frank opinions of the past political situations. I enjoyed those parts greatly.
4 stars on Amazon.com
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