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The Greek Dream Inspired by Actual Events The novel deals with certain historical subjects: the desperate fate of Greek communists who sought refuge in Eastern Bloc countries after the Greek civil war in 1949, the general atmosphere during the Cold War, the murderous activities of the terrorist organization, November 17 operating in Greece until 2002, which managed to kill the CIA station chief in 1975. This story, inspired by those realities, depicts how tension and moral considerations emerge in the late 1970s as the CIA in Athens joins with Greek officials to track down the terrorists.
The principal characters are Barbara Baldwin, an American Embassy wife in Athens, who, as a result of a ski trip to Bulgaria with her children becomes emotionally involved with the fate of a Bulgarian officer and tries to stake out a place for herself as an operative, perhaps putting her child in danger; Ivan Dimitrov, a Bulgarian officer of Greek origin assigned as attache to the Bulgarian Embassy in Athens, who longs for repatriation to Greece or defection to the United States and becomes a target of November 17; Dana Franklin, the CIA station chief accredited to the American Embassy in Athens, who uses Dimitrov as a double agent; and Robert Baldwin (Barbara's husband), the political officer posted to the American Embassy in Athens. Each of these people is in danger of compromising the other by dint of national concerns and sheer personal ambition. The settings, Greece and Bulgaria, fascinating Balkan countries, offer a dramatic context for the themes that develop in the course of the novel.