IN THE COMPANY OF HEROES
Dr. E.A. Hunt
2735 West 30th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V6L 1Y8
United States Copyright Office Registration
TXU 569 - 104
I wrote this novel out of a deep admiration for the human spirit. There is a fascination
for the remarkable things that can happen when people determinedly focus on a goal – no
matter how impossible it might appear at the first cold light of day.
While studying for a PhD in History at the University of Washington, I was offered the
opportunity to view a private collection of World War I memorabilia which had been
sequestered in closed stacks for seventy-five years.
Searching through this historical treasure chest, I was privy to private diaries, war
memoranda, secret orders, letters, and eyewitness accounts from the most turbulent
period in the twentieth century: 1914 -1920 – the years encompassing World War I, Lenin’s Revolution, the Russian Civil War; and the little known, War of the Interventionists.
The story unfolds as we follow what happened to three young people when their newly
won careers were torn from them at the outbreak of war.
* How the first woman actuary invited to serve with the Czar’s Treasury, hid the
wealth of Russia from Lenin and the Bolshevik Party.
* How a student from Prague’s Charles University led an elite regiment of
conscripted classmates to mutiny against Austria and side with Russia.
* How a language student from Stanford led a clandestine invasion into Russia
in an attempt to thwart Bolshevism.
This epic story of love and escape is complex, and at times challenging to accepted views, but every situation is accurately framed within well-researched historiography. Personal anecdotes within the novel have been authenticated – as incredible as they may seem. I was able to interview eyewitnesses such as Alexander Kerensky, the last elected premier of Russia, and Dr. Lister Rogers of Stanford University. The novel has been reviewed by Czech authorities, including President Vaclav Havel, Consul General Miroslav Hermann, Czech author Jan Drabek, as well as Dr. Payne and Dr. McNaughton, both U.S. military historians from the Monterey Presidio and Defense Language Institute.
The only fiction in this novel lies with the three main characters who are composites. All
other characters are presented accurately: Lenin, Kerensky, Churchill, President Wilson,
Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, Czar Nicholas, General Gajda, General Syrovy, General
Kechek, General Graves, Admiral Kolchak, Dr. Rogers et alia.
The repercussions of their actions still resonate in the 21st century.
These two things changeth not, since first the world began;
The beauty of this wild green earth, and the bravery of man.
KATHERINE KAZAKOVA – ‘Katya’
- the first woman invited to serve the Czar of Russia as an actuary for the Royal Treasury.
ALEXANDER BRANDA – ‘Alex’
- a student leader from Charles University who is conscripted into the Austrian army along
with his football friends and sent to the Russian front against Czar Nicholas Romanov.
PETER KECHEK – ‘Petya’
- boyhood friend to Alex who rises to General for the Czech rear guard in Siberia.
VICTOR LINDAL – ‘Vic’
- a language student from Stanford University who joins America’s Reserve Army and is
invited into the United States War Department..
GENERAL WILLIAM GRAVES
- Commander of American forces in Vladivostok harbor on the Pacific Ocean.
OBERLEUTNANT MANNFRED SCHUMMAN
- the Austrian officer who conscripts two hundred athletes of Prague’s Charles University
into the elite Falcon Regiment.
GENERAL RADULA GAJDA – ‘Rad’
- a member of the Czech Falcon Regiment who has an appetite for power.
GENERAL JAN SYROVY
- Commander of the Czech Legion trying to escape Russia and Lenin’s Red Guard.
- Lenin’s right hand man and Commander of the Red Guard opposing the Czar’s White
Guard in the civil war following Lenin’s Revolution.
- proclaimed by the Western Allies as Commander of the monarchist White Forces.
COLONEL VASILY KRASILNIKOV
- Admiral Kolchak’s disciplinarian for White Forces in Siberia.
- President of the Falcon Athletic Association who, influenced by the great heroes of
Czechoslovakia, has prepared his athletes for a patriotic role.
GRAND DUCHESS MARIE PAVLOVNA – ‘Marie’
- the Czar’s niece, and one of the few Romanovs to escape the Bolshevik reign of terror
and Lenin’s purge of the royal family.
IN THE COMPANY OF HEROES: one page synopsis
Two stories suppressed by government and hidden in the rubble of the Great War are brought to light with this historically accurate novel set in Russia 1914-20. A tale of love and escape, it reveals how Katya Kazakova, a young actuary and the first woman to serve with the Czar’s Treasury, keeps the Treasury away from Lenin and his revolutionaries.
Alex Branda, is an idealistic student-leader from Charles University, who has been conscripted into the Austrian army and sent to the Russian front along with his football friends. They form the elite Falcon Regiment, but as fellow Slavs, they refuse to fight against Russia, and in a dangerous mutiny, escape to stand with the armies of Czar Nicholas Romanov and the Western Allies. The terms are simple: an Allied victory means freedom for Czechoslovakia. A win by the Teutonic Alliance means death to traitors and their families.
Once in St. Petersburg, Alex meets Katherine Kazakova, a young woman socially ahead of her time. Bright and independent, her future seems assured, until Russia begins the steep slide toward revolution. Katya and her friend, the Grand Duchess Marie, struggle against the disintegration of their world and Lenin’s purge of aristocrats.
Alex rescues Victor Lindal, the likable son of a Czech immigrant who works on Leland Stanford’s railroad, thereby making him eligible to attend the philanthropist’s University. Victor hopes to travel, and although the United States has a strict policy of isolationism, he joins the American Army so that one day he might get to Europe as a multi-lingual intelligence officer – not imagining for a moment that he would become involved in a clandestine invasion of Russia, threatening to thwart Bolshevism.
These three young people are caught up in the turbulence of the ‘war to end all wars’ as they attempt to salvage something of their once promising careers. Each maneuver however, seems to take them further from home, and closer to the brink.
The novel speaks strongly about the power of friendship, as Alex, Victor, and Katya try, with the Falcon Regiment, to make their way through the most turbulent period of the twentieth century. The reader is witness to incidents of courage, temptation, discipline, and extreme cruelty amid the luxury and innocence of a bygone age. The North American audience is given sharp insight into the major source of distrust between America and Russia, while Europeans are invited to ponder facts of the long suppressed story of the theft of Russian platinum.
“The author brings old Russia alive.” Elizabeth Zack, Editor
“The description sings.” Elizabeth Zack. Editor
“That villain haunts me.” Michael Hermann., Consulate General of the Czech Republic.
“Czechoslovakia’s secret story.” Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic.
“I woke up dreaming about the characters.” Scott McIntyre, President Douglas & McIntyre.
“The characters are believable, and God knows, the events covered are of terrific historical importance. The dialogue rings true, and I found that the plotting, with its swings of triumph and disaster, kept me turning the pages.” Douglas Gibson. President, McClelland & Stewart.
“No better way to enjoy history.” Jan Drabek, Czech author.
Love and escape during the most turbulent period of the twentieth century: Russia 1914-19.