The Able Archers – When the Truth is Scarier than Fiction
Sometimes not knowing something is a good thing. Case in point, we came dangerously close to an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union in 1983. Details were classified until very recently, and Brian J. Morra unfolds the riveting story, which is based on real events, in his new novel, The Able Archers.
I met Brian and his lovely wife, Tracy, at a dinner hosted by my cousins Liz & Bill. They knew I would especially enjoy meeting their friends, as they are both, among other things, quite accomplished musicians. Tracy, who is also a practicing psychotherapist, as well as a story editor, and her multi-talented husband Brian (who I’ll get to in a moment) spend their time between homes in Virginia and Sarasota.
As you would expect, the conversation quickly turned to the devastation happening in Ukraine and our own country’s ever-increasing sensitive situation with Russia in these incredibly trying times. Brian had much to offer on this subject because he has personal experience. He is a decorated former US Intelligence Officer and a retired senior aerospace executive. He served on the Air Staff at the Pentagon while on active duty. In fact, he helped lead the U.S. intelligence team in Japan that uncovered the truth behind the Soviet Union’s shootdown of the civilian 747 Korean Airlines Flight 007 in September 1983. He writes about these events in this book.
As someone who is familiar with military life, having had the experience with the armed services myself as a former spouse of an Army Medical Corp Captain, I can tell you that Brian’s credentials are quite impressive! As you would expect, his extremely high-level government security clearance made him privy to information the public was never made aware of. The recent declassification of documents and the urging by a friend to write a novel were the catalysts for Brian to write this book.
It’s hard to fathom that the Soviet paranoia and aggressive actions depicted in The Able Archers took place almost 40 years ago! We could easily be talking about the present day, which is why this book is not only fascinating but also relevant. In fact, since its release of the sensitive subject matter coupled with expertise in the field of intelligence and defense affairs, Brian is very much in demand with several speaking engagements, podcasts, and countless interviews.
Without giving away too much about the book, in 1983, the Soviets interpreted the largest NATO nuclear war exercise in its history, which took place in Europe – dubbed Able Archer 83 – as an actual threat. The Able Archers is the story of how the two protagonists, United States Captain Kevin Cattani (loosely based on Brian’s own experience) and his Soviet counterpart, Col. Ivan Levchenko (also based on a real person), work together to prevent global nuclear annihilation. Although the book has been years in the making and is a fictional telling of actual events, the revelation of how close we were to a nuclear holocaust is chilling. In fact, Brian needed clearance from the Pentagon and the White House to get it published.
This story needs to be made into a movie or series, in my humble opinion. Rumor has it, Hollywood is indeed calling. Never missing an opportunity to find the humor in a situation, I couldn’t help but tease that Brian is “the guy.” You know, the one with information so confidential that he’d have to kill you if he tells you. (Ok, I watch way too many movies). I will admit that I am a somewhat anxious person anyway, so something tells me I am definitely better off not knowing! And, as that uber-famous line in that uber-famous movie, I can hear Jack Nicholson saying, “You can’t handle the truth.” Nuff said.
We should never take anything for granted, especially our freedom. I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to publicly extend my gratitude to the men and women who serve to protect us and to Brian Morra for his service and commitment to our country. Throughout history, we have been dangerously close to catastrophic events. Thankfully we have men and women on both sides who have the skillset, compassion, and respect for humanity to keep us safe. We can see that firsthand from someone who literally lived to tell the tale.
The Able Archers is available wherever books are sold.
For more information, visit Brian Morra.
Graphics from Sheri Nadelman
Author, Brian J. Morra, Decorated Officer, Intelligence, NATO, Novel, Nuclear War, Pentagon, Russia, The Able Archers