Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Venona Cable

The Venona Cable

A Thriller

Volk Novels (Volume 3)

Brent Ghelfi

Henry Holt and Co.




Russian agent and criminal Alexei Volkovoy pays an action-packed visit to the U.S. to uncover secrets of the infamous Venona cables and to attempt to clear his family name

The past erupts into the present when the police arrest Alexei Volkovoy, known as Volk, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and take him to a murder scene. At first, the dead man appears to be just one more victim of Moscow's out-of-control violence. But Volk soon discovers that he is a famous Hollywood filmmaker whose reputation was destroyed in 1995 when the CIA released decrypted documents from the Venona cables—the top-secret American and British crypto-analysis of Soviet messages that implicated the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Kim Philby, and hundreds of other Soviet spies. Tucked inside the American's pocket is a marked-up Venona intercept that refers to a Russian used as a spy by the Americans, a man who may have been Volk's illustrious father.

Aided by his female partner, Valya, Volk's only hope to clear his family name will be to solve this murder and discover how the Venona papers relate to his father's disappearance, while powerful forces want to keep him from investigating the past and to remove him from the present.


Chapter 1

I'm trapped, nearly out of time.

I have to think.

But I can't trust my judgment. Perceptions blurred, memories distorted and incomplete. No sleep for thirty-six hours, a punch behind the ear with the butt of a...


Praise for The Venona Cable

“Ghelfi expertly portrays the seamy undersides of Moscow and L.A…. A sure bet for thriller fans.” —Library Journal

“The accolades Ghelfi has received for his Volk novels are well deserved, and this will only add to his acclaim.” —Booklist

“Keeps the Cold War hot with the intrigues of … a slate of characters who are seldom what they seem…. Swift, sharp character descriptions and atmospheric evocations of gray, melancholy Moscow and the seedier streets of Los Angeles add style and color to a delectably complicated plot.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This action-packed thriller grips readers from the opening moment” —The Midwest Book Review

“Brent Ghelfi's Volk is back in The Venona Cable, lethal as ever, this time plunging headlong into the heart of L.A. to follow a trail rooted in the closing years of World War II. This is Volk--damaged, intense, perversely moral--at his compelling best.” —Erik Larson, author of Thunderstruck and The Devil in the White City

The Venona Cable packs more punch than a trunk full of C4. Action, suspense, and international intrigue are masterfully interwoven in an intelligently written, pulse-pounding thriller that everyone will be talking about. Brent Ghelfi is the new Le Carré.” —Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Apostle

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Brent Ghelfi

Brent Ghelfi is the author of Volk's Game—nominated by the International Thriller Writers for Best First Novel of 2007 and by Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures magazines for a Barry Award for Best Thriller—and the critically acclaimed Volk's Shadow. His novels have been translated into seven languages and optioned for film. He is currently working on the fourth novel in the Volk series.

Brent Ghelfi

Mike Eller



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