“Trans-Siberian Express” by Warren Adler: a grand train voyage with intrigue and romance
It’s the title that drew my attention in the first place. That legendary train moving slowly through that enormous, secret land. That allure, similar to that of the other imagination fuelling train, the Orient Express. If you’re as attracted to the title as I was, you’ll probably not be disappointed by this novel. Buckle up for a grand train voyage through the immensity of Siberia, with cold war era intrigue and romance on board. Although I’m an avid reader of Warren Adler novels, I must admit I was favorably biased before reading Trans-Siberian Express. I grew up in the Seventies, so in a way the ambiance of the former USSR and the isolation of the protagonist of this novel –en route through that huge landmass– was in a way a voyage back in time for me. I used to daydream in school after hearing about those mysterious lands behind the Iron Curtain, only a couple of hundred miles from the borders of my country. Further away, beyond Moscow, were the endless icefields, empty but for a disappearing train in the distance. Anyway — for a summary of the story of Trans-Siberian Express you can check the publisher’s information. I’ll stick to the reader experience. I enjoyed the characters because Warren Adler sure knows how to bring them to life. They’re basically normal people in extraordinary circumstances. They have their own histories and troubles and relatives somewhere else in the world. Adler describes them with skill. There’s a great deal of suspense coming from mysterious people on the train. Their reasons for being on the train are entertaining, without being too big a distraction from the main story. All these people interact. That results in sudden plot twists that surprised me many times. As the train moves through the Siberian winter, I was curious to know the destination of the story. Then there’s the moodiness of the snowy Russian landscape and it’s lonely train stations. There’s the Russian bureaucracy. And there’s romance… You’ll be on that Trans-Siberian train for quite some time and so are your fellow passengers. One of them is even sharing your cabin. Some of us fall in love and some of us ain’t supposed to. Fine entertainment. I hope you agree.