The Unbeliever

Last night we marked the launch of Ogg Boytchev The Unbeliever at Hatchard’s in Piccadilly.

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Here what I said during a short address to introduce the author to an enthusiastic crowd of well- wishers.

Oggy Boytchev made a dramatic escape from behind the Iron Curtain in Bulgaria in January 1986. A few months later he joined the BBC World Service in London as a newsreader for the Bulgarian Section, before moving into mainstream journalism. He became John Simpson’s producer and accompanied him on dangerous undercover assignments around the world. In 2014, Quartet published Oggy’s book about his adventures with Simpson, simply entitled Simpson and I recalling their time together.

John Simpson wrote about the book: ‘I think it’s excellent – exciting in places, funny in others, and very thoughtful. I found the book delightful and a hugely valuable check to my own memories’

Today, we are assembled here to celebrate the publication of Oggy’s latest work, a highly topical thriller which I’m told is based on a true story.

It’s December 1963. It’s a decade since the death of Joseph Stalin and a year since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear war feels imminent. In Sofia’s Great Ceremonial Hall of the People, Alexander Ivanov, a low-profile UN diplomat turned spy, is on trial for treason and espionage, accused of selling secrets to the CIA. He has become an international media sensation overnight.

Facing death by firing squad, Alexander has been offered a way out: make a full confession –exposing and humiliating the Americans – and his life will be spared. The communist propaganda machine will do the rest. But what if all is not as it seems? What if Alexander has become a pawn in a power play beyond his control?

The Unbeliever is a gripping panoramic account of Cold War paranoia and intrigue spanning four decades, told through the life of one extraordinary – and real – spy

Oggy is a talented story teller who deserves your recognition. I believe that we should encourage him by asking people to buy more than one copy of his book to give to friends who I am sure would appreciate this gesture. Simpson and I is still available and certainly worth buying if you haven’t already done so. It can be ordered through Amazon or directly from Quartet, whichever you choose.

We would certainly be delighted if you were to do so. Authors and independent publishers depend on people like you who keep us dedicated to what we do. The colour of your money is always our most encouraging factor. Thank you!

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