The Reluctant Contact by Stephen Burke

I noticed listings for The Reluctant Contact by Stephen Burke earlier in the year and thought it sounded right up my street. I mean 1970s-era Cold War espionage goings-on in the arctic, what’s not to like, right?

The book was supposed to be out in June and for some reason was delayed but it’s finally published today.

I had hoped for a review copy but no joy so far.


The Svalbard archipelago, 1977, Norwegian territory, yet closer to the north pole. Russian engineer Yuri arrives on the last boat to the Soviet mining outpost of Pyramiden, as the Arctic sun disappears for the winter. Yuri still plays by Stalin-era rules: Don’t trust anyone; Keep your head down; Look after number one. Yet when a co-worker is found dead deep in the mine, the circumstances appear strange. Against his better judgement, Yuri breaks his own rules, and decides to investigate. At the same time, he begins a stormy love affair with the volatile, brooding Anya. She has come to Pyramiden to meet someone who has not shown himself in three months, if he exists at all. While the whole island is frozen in twenty-four-hour darkness, Yuri enters a dangerous world of secrets and conflicting agendas, where even the people closest to you are not always what they seem.