Ellis M. Goodman was born in England and moved to the United States in 1982. He was educated at Brighton College Sussex, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and is the former Chairman and CEO of a major US Beverage Alcohol producer, importer and distributor. Ellis M. Goodman is the author of a number of magazine articles on the US Beverage Alcohol Industry, and the business book, Corona: The Inside Story of America's #1 Imported Beer.He serves on a number of civil, educational, and cultural boards in Chicago; and, in 1996, was invested as a Commander of the British Empire by HM Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to British exports. He and his wife, Gillian, live in Glencoe, Illinois.
What Inspired Me To Write The Spy Novel Bear Any Burden
I was inspired to write this thriller – Bear Any Burden – by the award-winning genealogy research TARNOW CONNECTION by my cousin, Leonard in London, who traced our family’s history to Tarnow in Poland, back to 1760.
I’ve always liked espionage novels, and I devised a plot involving Poland, family histories, and the Cold War in 1983.
“He walked briskly along the platform. It wasn’t as crowded as usual. Normally people would be rushing towards the Posnam-Warsaw Express.”
These are the first few sentences of the novel, designed to “hook” the reader at the earliest possible moment that this is a book about intrigue, espionage, and spies.
After meeting the main character, Sir Alex Campbell, a successful Scottish International drinks businessman, I take the reader back through a family saga, starting with Sir Alex’s Jewish grandfather, Jakob Kornmehl, who left the Programs and poverty of Tarnow with his newly pregnant wife in 1892, intending to emigrate to the USA, but landing up in Dundee in Scotland, where they slowly established their family and built the foundations of what was to become Sir Alex Campbell’s business.
“The soldier crumpled to the ground. That stopped the fight. The commotion had wakened Jakob Kornmehl and his young wife, Freidel, in their two-room attic apartment in the building opposite.”
The novel chronicles the lives of the three main characters, whose lives were impacted forever by their Second World War experiences.
Anna Kaluza, the daughter of an aristocratic, wealthy land-owning family, was born in a Russian labor camp. Her mother, Maria, had been forced off the family estate by the advancing German Army in 1939, and landed up in Russian lines. It was to be nearly thirty years until she was reunited with her surviving family members in Poland.
“The droning noise got louder. It brought Maria out into the driveway. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she looked up in the sky. It looked like planes; hundreds of them, like black flies crawling across the ceiling heading towards Warsaw.” This is the reader’s introduction to Maria Kaluza-Zyradowski, on the first day of the Second World War.
In February 1983, Sir Alex Campbell was on a business trip to Krakow Poland and had been asked to do a “little job” for the British Secret Intelligent Services (The SIS) as he had done many times over the past few decades. He had been given an airline bag into which had been sewn false Austrian passports and money, which he was to hand over to a British Agent – Anna Kaluza – who was assisting a world-renowned Nuclear Physicist, Professor Erik Keller to defect to the West.
“There was a knock on the door. Alex opened it, to find Anna standing there. She was flush, red-eyed, and obviously had been crying. Her mascara had run down her cheeks. He looked down the corridor. Empty!”
What should have been a simple “little job,” was turning into a nightmare. Things had gone radically wrong. Sir Alex Campbell found himself drawn into physically taking part in the escape plan; getting Erik Keller and his wife across the border from Poland into Czechoslovakia, and then from Czechoslovakia to Vienna in Austria. Just getting to the Polish border, only one and a half hours from Krakow, was a challenge with a fatal shooting.
“Alex’s heart sank. My God, they’re on to us. How the hell did they do that so quickly? We’ll be shot as spies. The officer put the phone down, looked at the three of them and then focused on Keller. With a slight knowing smile, he said slowly in Polish, “So, you’re Professor Keller.”
They managed to cross into Czechoslovakia, but their escape involved murder, bribery, and intrigue. Would they make it to Vienna? Could they get across the Austrian border with half the Polish Secret Service and the Czech Army looking for them?
Bear Any Burden is an espionage thriller that contains many twists and turns before the final chapter reveals Erik Keller’s connections to Alex Campbell, his own horror story of his World War II experiences and a bond that binds all three characters together.
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