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Andrew Croome

Midnight Empire, the second novel by Canberra author Andrew Croome, depicts political intrigue and acts of violence that play out against the backdrop of the so-called ‘war on terror’.

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Devotees of the television program Spooks may find Australian history less than exciting, but the Petrov Affair is surely the exception that confounds the cliché. Its ingredients included the Cold War, espionage, agents, a defection (hugely important propaganda for the Menzies government on the eve of the 1954 federal election) and a charming woman, the defector’s wife, who was unceremoniously hustled on to a waiting aeroplane by beefy officials from the Russian Embassy. The poignancy of Evdokia Petrova’s white shoe lying abandoned on the tarmac as the plane took off was only eclipsed by the drama of the refuelling stop in Darwin, where she was prevailed upon by Australian security to remain in this country with her husband, Vladimir. He was quite clear about his defection; Evdokia, in that pivotal moment and long afterwards, was tormented by uncertainty.

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