Soon after the CIA banishes Cody Ballantine to the newly opened consulate in Vladivostok, the discredited agent receives an unusual visitor.
In a conference room overlooking Golden Horn Bay, Andrei Danilov—a well dressed, distinguished looking older gentleman—claims to be Captain Andrew Thompson, an American aviator, perhaps the lone survivor of a reconnaissance aircraft shot down by Soviet MiGs in 1954.
A cautiously skeptical Ballantine sends Danilov's photograph and fingerprints to CIA headquarters. However, official records—other than the shootdown near Cape Gamov—no longer exist to verify Danilov's unlikely claim. A 1973 fire in the National Records Center destroyed millions of military personnel files rendering any such verification impossible.
With little documentation, Ballantine must resolve troublesome questions. How could a U.S. Air Force officer survive (and apparently prosper) in Soviet Siberia for nearly four decades? Had he collaborated and divulged sensitive information? On the other hand, might Danilov be an ex-KGB agent, perhaps one who interrogated the real Captain Thompson? Is this a scheme by a crafty opportunist to resurrect a man long presumed dead and thus lay claim to back pay, military retirement benefits, and U.S. citizenship?
The Gamov Incident describes Ballantine's effort to unravel a decades-old mystery while coping with personal issues arising from a failed marriage, a disastrous prior mission in Bosnia, and an unexpected reunion with a woman from a long forgotten encounter.
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