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  • Roger L. Liles

Synopsis of The Berlin Tunnel--A Cold War Thriller

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Books, movies and popular media have eulogized the major role that British breaking of the Enigma Code played in the winning of World War II. During the Cold War, a more monumental effort was made by the America and her allies to intercept and exploit Russian and communist countries communications. My novel, a thriller, takes the reader into the super-secret world that I occupied fifty years ago.


Photo of the Bletchley Park Computers which helped break the Enigma Code.



The Berlin Tunnel--A Cold War Thriller is based on a real tunnel built in the mid-1950s by British M-6 and the CIA to tap into a communications cable in East Berlin. Every scene in fictionalized retelling could have happened. The time—1960-1961, and the place—the Divided City of Berlin have been faithfully recreated using extensive research and personal experience. Instead of numerous near impossible situations, this novel recounts the real world of spy versus spy in Berlin before, during, and after the closing of the Berlin Wall and the Berlin Crisis in the year 1961.


Synopsis of The Berlin TunnelA Cold War Thriller, A Cold War Thriller. Young American Air Force Captain Robert Kerr arrives in a divided Berlin awash with spies who move freely between the East and West. His task—build a TOP SECRET tunnel under the River Spree into East Berlin—tap into highly classified communications links between civilian and military leaders in Russia and the Warsaw Pact countries. The knowledge gained from this source will help America’s leaders to manage an imminent confrontation between the East and West over Berlin, perhaps even prevent World War III. At all costs, knowledge that the tunnel is being built must be hidden from all but the very few that are involved in its construction.


Soon after he arrives, Robert falls for a German girl, Anna Fischer. It is spy-verses-spy when the dreaded East German Secret Police—the Stasi use every means possible to determine what Robert and his construction crew are doing in Berlin. But it is Anna, who is often caught in the crossfire between the Americans and the Stasi.


Twice in the last half of 1961, the attention of the world focuses on Berlin. First, the Wall is built, trapping 19 million East Germans including Anna’s entire family behind the Iron Curtain. A few months later, the world held its collective breath when the Berlin Crisis occurs—High Noon at Checkpoint Charlie—the only time in the Cold War when Russian and American tanks faced each other. Robert and Anna are caught up in these momentous events as they try to free her family and survive in a very dangerous city.


About the Author: Roger L. Liles earned a BA and did graduate studies in Modern European History; then was awarded an MS in Engineering from USC. In the 1960s, he was stationed in Turkey and German for five years as a Signals Intelligence Officer. Messages he generated and sent to Washington got President Johnson out of bed at least five times. Then for almost forty years, he worked in military electronics—radar and electro-optical sensors. His main function was to translate engineering jargon into understandable English and communicate it to senior decision makers in the US government. He took three years of novel writing at UCLA in the 1990s including the Master Novel Writers Course. This is his third novel and the first to be published. He is a member of The Scribblers Writing Group of North San Diego County.