Some more notes about the opening chapters of “Angel’s Brother”.
One obvious question would be, why is each major character (Randy, about 40, and the college student Sal) there, at the Auschwitz-Berkenau site on a late spring morning?
This has to be a weekday. Keep in mind then when I visited the site in 1999, on a Tuesday, there were relatively few tourists walking around the grounds (unlike the situation at some other Holocaust sites, as in the film “Austerlitz”).
Sal would have just finished his junior year of college back in Dallas, and could have been “asked” to go through the ROTC program.
Randy had expected to go to something like the Monroe Institute (in Virginia) for “remote viewing” training at the end of his school year teaching high school history. (That session now occurs in the middle of the novel.)
Instead he is asked to go, as part of his interim intelligence duties, by himself to Krakow, taking the night train east (as I did) from Berlin, where he may get a chance to spot Sal on the train first in the morning.
Sal is just beginning to grasp his unusual powers as an “angel” (that will be covered in chapter 3) but he has already encountered the old Russian codger Lurku, who was apparently the first to discover the unusual radioactive waste products, associated with a novel biological weapon, in the Ladoga area near the Finnish border. Sal would be in a position to know that the origin of the material may be alien, and not part even of Russia’s own nuclear arsenal, which is supposed to be accounting for all of its nuclear waste as part of a global nuclear security program (the NTI effort in the US). Lurku is a homosexual, who could have been endangered by the anti-gay laws, but his knowledge makes him too valuable.
Sal seems to be testing Randy’s chemistry with him. Already Sal suspects he could draw Randy out of his stable marriage and shell job if he wanted. It seems to be Sal’s decision whether Randy ought to be sent to NW Russia through St. Petersburg to meet Lurku. It’s risky.
When Randy takes the same back across the Finnish border, the Russians give chase (Chapter 4). Randy out races them, and then one of the Russian cars crashes before reaching the first town (where there was an assassination). Finland is not part of NATO (it is a partner for peace), so it is easier for Russia to make a move into Finland than into the Balkans (which were once Soviet republics but are now part of NATO). While the events of the novel progress in future chapters, there is an enormous international controversy, but the US and NATO don’t respond to the incident.
(Posted: Thursday, May 25 2017 at 11:30 PM EDT)