Ascent: A Novel by Jed Mercurio

By Jed Mercurio

Yefgenii Yeremin is a flyer and he's a phantom.

In the Korean conflict, he's the mythical ace dubbed 'Ivan the Terrible', capturing down extra American jets than the other pilot in heritage. however the Soviet Union's involvement in Korea needs to be saved mystery, so Yefgenii is exiled to a distant Arctic base, his identify unknown, his victories uncelebrated.

But in 1964, a guy arrives from Moscow, from the distance Committee, looking for a volunteer ready to sacrifice every thing for his country...

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See the huge flakes drifting against the windowpanes. It must be the doves, surely. They finally make up their minds to come down, the little dears; they are covering the waters and the roofs with a thick layer of feathers; they are fluttering at every window. What an invasion! Let's hope they are bringing good news. -and not only the elect. Possessions and hardships will be shared and you, for example, from today on you will sleep every night on the ground for me. The whole shooting match, eh?

Well, here's the stroke of genius. [138] I discovered that while waiting for the masters with their rods, we should, like Copernicus, reverse the reasoning to win out. Inasmuch as one couldn't condemn others without immediately judging oneself, one had to overwhelm oneself to have the right to judge others. Inasmuch as every judge some day ends up as a penitent, one had to travel the road in the opposite direction and practice the profession of penitent to be able to end up as a judge. You follow me?

But decidedly I am tired and no longer want to think of that period. Let's just say that I closed the circle the day I drank the water of a dying comrade. No, no, it wasn't Du Guesclin; he was already dead, I believe, for he stinted himself too much. Besides, had he been there, out of love for him I'd have resisted longer, for I loved him-yes, [127] I loved him, or so it seems to me. But I drank the water, that's certain, while convincing myself that the others needed me more than this fellow who was going to die anyway and that I had a duty to keep myself alive for them.

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