Bomb Cyclone
by J.A. Adams
Atmosphere Press

"Oksana had never even dared to think there could be danger."

After Mykola Kravchenkos' parents emigrate to the U.S. from Ukraine, his father tells young Mykola the full story of how a surprise bomb cyclone had battered his ship transporting nuclear weapons through the Kerch Strait. The storm ripped away the cables lashing suitcase nukes to the deck and carried some bombs into the sea. All the bombs except one were subsequently located. Mykola begins to dream of finding the missing bomb. After graduating from high school and pursuing higher education, he lands a position as an assistant professor at an Ohio university.

Meanwhile, young Oksana Kovalska's dream of becoming a figure skater falls apart. She begins to excel in Russian and English, catching an agent's eye in Moscow. He offers Oksana a full scholarship at a language institute that will lead to a job in the diplomatic corps. But to Oksana's dismay, in Russia, a diplomatic position involves gathering foreign intelligence. Predictably, Mykola's and Oksana's paths cross, first in Crimea and then in Ohio, where she is sent to seduce Mykola and gather the coordinates of the lost bomb. But love finds a way to subvert both Oksana's and Mykola's plans despite the grave danger that their illicit romance creates.

International conflict and romance are melded effectively in this romantic thriller for new adults. Adams presents a historically influenced tale spun off the Russian conquest of Crimea in 2014 through the election of young President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2019. This well-researched drama will undoubtedly hold the interest of a youthful audience and inspire readers to learn more about the history of the ongoing war between the two nations. The casual prose keeps the plot flowing but sometimes lacks descriptive elements that could make the story more vivid. Still, this action-packed tale is sure to please.

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