A Sunday Times "Best Thriller Book of 2023"

The Translator

A love story and a spy thriller,
by Harriet Crawley

“A classic thriller of the new Cold War”
Sir Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad.


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— About The Translator

A highly topical thriller about a Russian plot to cut the undersea communication cables linking the US to the UK. Also, a passionate love story between two people determined to stop this cataclysmic act.

Clive Franklin, a Russian language expert in the Foreign Office, is summoned unexpectedly to Moscow to act as translator for the British Prime Minister. His life is turned on its head when, after more than a decade, he discovers that his former lover, Marina Volina, is now the interpreter to the Russian President. At the embassy, Clive learns of a Russian plot to cut the undersea cables linking the US to the UK which would paralyse communications and collapse the Western economy. Marina stuns Clive with the news that she’s ready to help stop the attack, betraying her country for a new identity and a new life.

Clive becomes the go-between, relaying Marina’s intelligence to MI6 back in London. What are the odds that two lovers, running the Moscow marathon with the FSB on their backs, can save Western Europe from economic meltdown?

— About the Author: Harriet Crawley

Harriet has been a journalist, writer, and art dealer, worked in television and radio, and she stood for the Westminster and European Parliaments. A fluent Russian speaker, Harriet was married to a Russian, sent her son to state school in Moscow, and worked for almost twenty years in the energy sector. She speaks five languages and this is her fifth book.

Praise for The Translator
'Fast-paced political-cum-spy thriller with a chilling ring of authenticity and an eerie closeness to present events in Ukraine. Unputdownable.'
Xan Smiley, The Economist
‘A classic thriller of the new Cold War.’
Sir Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad
‘A gripping, prophetic and ingenious novel of love and political intrigue in the new Cold War. A real page turner.’
Owen Matthews, author of Overreach and Red Traitor
‘Prescient and pacey, this book sizzles with the author’s expertise.’
Edward Lucas, author of The New Cold War: Putin’s Threat to Russia and the West

'...an unusual but enthralling blend of a highly topical scenario with an old-fashioned, civilised take on espionage... There’s no shortage of suspense, but also room for a vivid portrayal of everyday life in Moscow.'
John Dugdale, The Sunday Times
The Translator is an intricate, stylish political thriller brimful of poetry and love. Harriet Crawley’s storytelling is audacious and irresistible.’
Rachel Polonsky, author of Molotov’s Magic Lantern
Press for The Translator
”A  thriller must have something about it if it can survive being inspired by a policy paper written by the prime minister. Harriet Crawley’s The Translator centres on a Russian plan to attack Britain by cutting the cables off the Cornish coast that carry internet traffic across the Atlantic. As Rishi Sunak identified some years ago, in today’s internet-based society such an attack would be devastating. Unbeknown to President Serov (you-know-who), his favourite interpreter, Marina Volina, has had enough. Her foster son, a hacker, has been done in after discovering compromising information about a powerful player in the Kremlin regime, and now she wants out. Her chance comes when her former flame Clive Franklin (Hugh Grant, if they ever film it) arrives in Moscow as the translator for a British delegation. Can the resourceful Marina navigate treacherous Kremlin power politics and pass on details of the plot? And will Clive ever get back to his study of Chekhov? Harriet Crawley’s approach to international intrigue may be old school, but it’s also highly readable, drawing as it does on her own family background in intelligence, and above all on an insider’s love of a wonderfully realised Moscow.” - The Times (Best New Thrillers For March 2023)
“Interpreters, like waiters, are often little noticed. But they too have eyes and ears, and proximity to power means they can pick up all sorts of intelligence. In Harriet Crawley’s The Translator Marina Volina is the translator for Russia’s president Serov. He is planning to cut Britain’s underwater internet cables and trusts Marina absolutely — which is a mistake, for she wants out. When her former lover, Clive Franklin, arrives in Moscow to translate for the visiting British prime minister, Marina passes him what she learns, while drawing increasing suspicion from some very dangerous enemies. Crawley, herself a fluent Russian speaker, steadily ramps up the tension and Moscow and the Kremlin are finely drawn, although there could be more menace in Marina’s interactions with her boss. This is an engaging and, in the best sense, old-fashioned spy story.” - Financial Times
"The plot is clever, the writing elegant, the characters sympathetic and the action exciting” - Literary Review
"Author Harriet Crawley knows Moscow well, so there is an authentic feel about her topical thriller" - CrimeFictionLover

"This really is a political spy thriller for our times" - tripfiction.com
"A pacy, engaging political thriller" - LoveReading
"An absorbing read and leads to a long and exciting climax" - The Shots Magazine
Harriet Crawley writes about Moscow - The Book Trail

— Words of Warning

‘…our ability to transmit confidential information, to conduct financial transactions and to communicate internationally, all depend on a global network of physical cables lying under the sea...a successful attack would deal a crippling blow to Britain’s security and prosperity. The threat is nothing short of existential.’

- Rishi Sunak MP, author of "Undersea Cables: Indispensable, insecure". Published by PolicyExchange (December, 2017).