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The Flight by Sergei Loiko

The Flight by Sergei Loiko

It is unthinkable, but how does a person cope when all of their closest family perish in a horrific plane crash? Some try to cope with the pain of loss and move on, some sink into despair and dwell in the past.  The key character in this political thriller has his own way of handling things. No matter what, he is determined to investigate the tragic circumstances of what, at first, looks like a pure accident…

A Russian corrupt police officer, Alyokhin – aka Bulldog – patronises a powerful criminal group involved in drug trade, prostitution, and money laundering. After stealing $62 million worth from the mafia’s coffers, he is forced to flee the country. Pursued by unforgiving gangsters in a chaotic chase across the globe, he finally settles down under a false identity on a luxurious yacht, in LA’s Marina Del Ray. In the meantime, his beloved wife and two young daughters live in a sumptuous apartment in London, also under assumed names. After a three-year-lapse, Alyokhin begins to believe the trail the mafia’s trail on him has gone cold and it is safe to arrange a family reunion in Thailand. Yet, fate deals him a heavy blow. His wife and daughters board an ill-fated London-Bangkok flight and die alongside 295 passengers and crew when the plane is shot down over the rebel-held Donbas region of Ukraine.

In order to examine the crash site for himself, Alyokhin travels to Russia and joins the ranks of Moscow-backed separatist forces who are conducting military operations in eastern Ukraine. Suddenly, an ongoing war he cared little about becomes a harsh reality punctuated with characters that form a strange mix of Cossacks, tycoons, high-ranking politicians, professional soldiers, militants, volunteers, miners, killers, prostitutes, and journalists. The complicated and intriguing twists and turns of this plot are guaranteed to keep a reader glued to the pages.

Russian born Sergei Loiko has carved a niche for himself as an award-winning Los Angeles Times war correspondent and photographer for more than 25 years. He covered the Maidan revolution in the winter of 2013-2014 and the subsequent military conflict in eastern Ukraine until 2015. Loiko was the only foreign journalist who was eyewitness to the 2014 Donetsk siege. His photographs of the so-called Ukrainian Cyborgs taken during the pitched battle for Donetsk Airport circulated across the globe. His bestselling novel The Airport, published a couple of years ago, is an account of those dramatic events.

Following suit, The Flight is a dramatised account of a very real tragedy – the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, scheduled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with 298 people on board in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Loiko presents his own detailed version of what happened and names those responsible. Tellingly, both novels – The Airport and The Flight – have yet to be published in Russia…

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