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  A sophisticated woman of glamorous beauty and keen intelligence, she started out on her meteoric career in Moscow as a young recruit for KGB-controlled honey-trap operations. She was thus catapulted into the murky cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage. She proved eminently successful at her game, so much so that before long she ended up working for the secret services of three countries.
Eventually she pulled out of the game to an extend permitted to settle in Paris to become an influential member of the political smart set in the rarified world of European high politics. On many occasions she outwitted the seasoned professionals of the secret services skillfully exploiting corruption in high places to lobby the interests of her various customers and masters.
Sometimes the question arises: who or what cause was she serving: the golden calf, the true believers idea or the self-serving ends of personal ambition? Her name was synonymous with success. But did it all make her happy? Who was she in reality? A female edition of Batman? An insatiable monster of cunning and guile? A callous woman who thought nothing of making her way over corpses with the unconcern of a model walking up and down the catwalk? Or was she just a deeply unhappy woman? Or was she a secret woman agent who got carried away and having got caught up in the espionage game she played it too long and eventually lost her way? Or was she just a pawn in the games of the men-dominated world of espionage?
The reader will find the answer to these questions as he reads the novels of Boris Gromov who displays an insiders first-hand knowledge of international espionage.


  The «Kremlin Swallow» series contains five fast-paced spy thrillers based on fact; the plots are set in the former USSR, France, Israel and other countries, and cover the period from the 1930s to the present day. Gali Legare, the heroine of the series, is one of the brightest «stars» in the firmament of the secret intelligence branch of the KGB, is an unbelievably successful yet infinitely perfidious femme fatale, a vamp of stunning beauty who has taken the Parisian high society by storm, emerging from her lowly beginnings in the quiet and quaint side streets off Moscow's Arbat pedestrian street. She drew into the orbit of her extraordinary, amorous magnetism and talent many influential and powerful men whom she later used up to the hilt in the ruthless pursuit of her private mercenary interests and those of the world's most powerful secret services. 

The whirlwind of events described in the novels plunge the reader into the murky depth of spy operations and intriguing «games» unfolding at the height of the Cold War and the nuclear face-off between the world's two superpowers. Finding herself at the «ground zero» of these dramatic events, Gali Legare, the «honey trap» of a secret agent of the KGB, displays great skill in playing her game behind enemy lines and succeeds eminently in lobbying the interests of her employers. Unbridled base passions, treachery, betrayal, insatiable greed and love of money are Gali's weapons that she skillfully uses to bring off her perfidious schemes and financial scams. Her torrid romantic entanglements are intertwined in these books with a cold and technically precise portrayal of real episodes of the undercover human intelligence activities of the secret services and events of big-time politics. Madam Gali is walking up and down this catwalk strewn with corpses and turning into gold everything she touches, eventually pulling out of the game at a precisely calculated moment to settle down in Paris as a successful and well-to-do socialite...

But the serious reader realizes of course that throughout her turbulent spying career, she was, when all is said and done, but a pawn in the serious «patriot games».

1. Madam Gali: «Free Flight»
Childhood, youth, first «exploits» and betrayals. Breathtaking successes and dark days of desperate despair are all behind her now. Her dream has come true. Gali Berezhkovskaya, a Moscow beauty, a smart girl, an inveterate liar and a gambler who grew up in an Arbat communal apartment to become a secret KGB agent is now the proud owner of a French passport and resident in Paris, the city of her dreams. Is she planning to repay her «debt» to her native Russia or to serve loyally her new-found homeland? No, her soul is undividedly devoted to the Golden Calf and to it alone, and so Gali is bent on a relentless pursuit of the main objective of her life — wealth. Gali is riding down her chosen route at breakneck speed carrying all before her, people, physical obstacles, and the lot. As the «swan song» of her spying career, Gali succeeds, under the very noses of the French counterintelligence service, in pulling off an operation on a scale of which her Lubyanka runners could only dream of.

2. Madam Gali: «Operation Poseidon»
The Cold War is at its height with the two superpowers locked in a toe-to-toe face-off in the air, on land and in the depths of the ocean. NATO begins to introduce a sophisticated hi-tech sonar system in order to protect its submarines from Soviet subs. The Soviet Union has nothing to match this latest piece of high technology. How is the Soviet secret service going to gain access to full documentation on NATO's latest addition to its advanced means of anti-submarine warfare? Thanks to a series of subtle operational games played by its agents, the Soviet secret intelligence service obtains this documentation when it lands in the safe of Torwald Jorgensen, a cultural attache of the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. Madam Gali, alias secret agent «Carnation», played a decisive role in that KGB operation code-named «Operation Poseidon». Beneath the heroine's seductive veneer is the cold, calculating cunning of a ruthless «secret hunter» and inveterate gambler. Love of money is not the only passion that drives her; she is a true-born gambler. Carnation knew how to use her secret weapon of seduction and the Norwegian diplomat collapsed, unable to resist her charms. As a result the secret Poseidon system stopped being a secret.

3. Madam Gali: «Thailand My Love»
The defecting Soviet Air Force pilot Viktor Belenko flies his top-secret MIG-25 fighter jet to Japan and places it in American hands. This is a major setback for the Soviet Union in the raging Cold War. The KGB bides its time looking for a chance to hit back and level the score. But how? The idea came to Madam Gali who while holidaying in Bangkok literally bumped into the USAF pilot of an advanced F-15 Eagle fighter jet. She found the young American pilot easy prey as he was deeply depressed by an unhappy private life and was more than willing to make a radical U-turn in his life for the better as he hoped, but Gali knew better and turned on her irresistible charms. When her KGB runners at Lubyanka heard Gali's report about her encounter in Bangkok they immediately saw a chance to even the score with the Americans

4. Madam Gali: «Operation Aristocrat»
This novel plunges the reader into an intricate cobweb of spy intrigues and undercover operations occurring at the peak of the Cold War. Finding herself at the epicenter of these events, Gali Legare is merciless in the relentless pursuit of her goal, sweeping aside all and everybody in her path. A stone-hearted and calculating intriguer, she traps in the cobweb of her cunning a man who might have been destined to be her man. But eventually this courageous and noble French aristocrat had to pay a high price for his dangerous liaison with this female monster of international spying intrigue. 

5. Madam Gali: «Operation Alpine Mirage»
The Soviet Union has disappeared from the political map of the world and its achievements in the defense field inherited by the new regime are being used by venal government bureaucrats, corrupt generals and «New-Russian» wheeler-dealers for personal gain and enrichment. A tight tangle is developing of mutually exclusive, conflicting interests. Will France sell her Mirages to Switzerland? Will the French Government succeed in tricking the electorate on the eve of elections to the National Assembly? Will the banks get the huge bundles of easy money from the contemplated transaction is a question mark as is the fate of the transaction itself? All threads leading to and emanating from this mind-boggling tangle are firmly held by Madam Gali, that intriguer and manipulator nonpareil, a fading but still irresistible seductress and a former KGB secret agent. 

6. Madam Gali: «Operation Aztec Gold»
The fortunes of Madam Gali and those of other characters in the novel are closely bound up with the intricate and subtle operations hatched and carried out by the world's leading intelligence services against the background of dramatic events of the late 20th century. An uncompromising, toe-to-toe combat is being waged on the invisible fronts of the Cold War in regions as far apart as sun-kissed Spain and sophisticated Paris to the torrid Middle East and snow-blanketed Moscow in the dead of winter, a combat in which men and women are but mere players and pawns on the chess-board of big-time world politics. 
True-blue loyalty, the clarion call of duty and self-sacrifice are locked in an uncompromising tug-of-war with the forces of betrayal, perfidy, cunning and greed. Whether the forces of good will prevail over the forces of evil is a question mark. What is beyond question, in the context of this particular novel at least, is that Gali always wins.


© 2006 Boris Gromov