It’s the height of the Cold War. Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev is presiding over the country as general secretary.
Against this backdrop, a fourteen-year-old British boy roams Moscow unhindered. Adventure is the name of the game. Follow Kevin Paul Scarrott as he plays East against West, entangling himself in the tension and exploiting every opportunity.
Since the age of twelve, Kevin Paul Scarrott has had to fend for himself.
When his father, a military attaché, takes up a post at the British
embassy in Moscow during the Cold War, the boy is forced to shuttle
between school in the West and his family in the East. Isolated and
neglected, Kevin Paul turns to crime. Sasha, a manipulative Moscow
local, gaslights and grooms him, and the boy spends three years
supplying his terrifying minder with illicit contraband.
But amid the commuting and misdoings, Kevin Paul manages to have some fun. Alexander, a streetwise Bulgarian, introduces him to Moscow’s delights and intricacies. And Jana, a Czechoslovakian beauty and his first love, turns his world upside down with her erudite charm. Throughout his escapades in the USSR, Kevin Paul is wooed by a diverse array of cultivated, distinguished people who in many ways shape his future.
As the boy gains tactical abilities and confidence, he increases his powers of perception, leading him to discover that the KGB has bugged his father’s apartment. The ensuing consequences culminate in a perilous tit for tat between the Soviets and the British—and a potentially catastrophic endgame for Kevin Paul.
The last time I saw Philby, during a performance of Swan Lake in 1971, he looked a little peaky. I wanted to mention the marvellous spa treatments down in Odessa and Yalta that Keith had told me about. Unfortunately, the third-call bell rang, and he was immediately whisked off, champagne glass still in hand, by his minders so they could take their seats before the curtain went up.
In the meantime, in Moscow, two MI5 agents were ferreting around, dismantling fixtures and ripping up floorboards. Keith was ordered to stay at the embassy all day and late into the evening so as not to provide opportunity for the KGB Watchers to intimidate him.
Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity;
whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger.
The two are inseparable.
They go together.
— Earl Nightingale 1921–1989
Life in Gruzinskiy Pereulok
Kevin Paul Scarrott’s book is a fascinating read. It is a remarkable and detailed account of a young man's coming of age behind the Iron Curtain.
A thoroughly enjoyable read
Boy Moscow is a thrilling and evocative account of a teenage boy spending three formative years of his life visiting his Parents in Moscow in the bad old days (early ‘70s), at the height of the Cold War when Moscow was awash with spies and spivs. He had the freedom to roam the City without the restraints experienced by Diplomats and other Expats and to mingle with spies in such settings as Red Square, the British Embassy and the Bolshoi Theatre. His escapades led him to being involved with an Ambassador, a Member of MI6, and a High-Ranking KGB operative. Always a child who shouldered responsibilities easily. He emerged from his experience older and wiser than his years.
... I found BOY MOSCOW heartwarming, entertaining, and gut-wrenching in equal measure. It's a fascinating story of a boy's experience of Moscow during the Cold War, and Kevin Paul offers a unique perspective into this anxiety-fuelled time in history. As someone born after the Cold War, I was eager to learn more about this time, and I imagine that those readers who lived through this time themselves will find it thrilling to engage in the perspective of one of their comrades. I highly recommend!
... Boy Moscow reads like a fictional spy novel complete with unusual situations, technological genius and intrigue. One is left with the feeling that enables the reader to predict that soon, there will occur an unusual and dastardly deed by non-other than the embassy hosts- the Russians!!!! “Read on!” insists my mind!
... Boy Moscow is a good quality, well-written piece of work which uses strong, emotive vocabulary and vivid description. It is an interesting and entertaining read.
Surviving in Moscow while being young and English.
Was not sure what to expect but I could not put it down. Found myself caring and worried for him at the same time. The insight into the lives of the normal people of Moscow were fascinating. His trips around Moscow brought the city a colour and interest that I had not thought possible. Also from a personal side to see what the kids of these men and women who went through so much to keep us safe suffered mentally and physically. A really good book well written.
You can purchase your copy of BOY MOSCOW at these UK outlets
Waterstones - WHSmith - Foyles - or order online amazon.co.uk
For all other countries please order online amazon.com