Sevastopol, The Third Defense, 2013-2014: A Premonition, The Move South Book I


Sevastopol, The Third Defense 18+

R H Auslander has used his considerable knowledge of Russian culture and Russian Armed Forces to skillfully weave a tale of people, places and happenings in to a fictional story of the world shaking events of late 2013 through early 2014 in Sevastopol and Krimea which led to the Russian Spring of late February, 2014.

The narrative starts with the bucolic retirement life near Odessa of the veterans of 317 Spetznaz Regiment from the author’s epic novel Never The Last One, and their realization that there is trouble on the horizon. The reader will recognize many of the characters from the novel and their story is woven in to the fabric of this narrative with a deft hand. New characters appear as the story progresses, their back stories quite believable and blending in to the fabric of this story seamlessly as the veterans settle in to a new life in a small village in Sevastopol Region, all the while knowing they will be called back to service as the storm clouds gather.

With real events, real locations and real actions placed in front of the reader, some readers have asked the question of is this story fictional or true. In Soviet times, readers of the news were adept at reading the news and finding the nuggets of truth. That skill is useful when reading this tale.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Kindle ebook version, $9.95. 226 pages.

Available for purchase on Amazon, paperback version, $11.95. 226 pages.

Available from the author, electronic edition via PDF file. Please email for purchase via contact email. Payment via paypal only except in Russia, where other payment methods are available. 226 pages. $9.95, R 726.35.

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My wife and I were at 35th Battery Museum in Sevastopol in July. While there, we happened to meet the author and his wife (that is an interesting story). We purchased three books. My wife and I read this one, Sevastopol, The Third Defense Book 1, together starting that evening. We spent another week in Sevastopol and went to every place mentioned in this excellent book and Incident On Simonka in and around Sevastopol. The locals are very friendly and we find it interesting that so many of them not only speak English but when showed parts of the books, they would give us additional information as to what happened and where it happened, and more than a few asked where they can buy this and the other books. Even the streets in the villages of Chernorichia and Ternivka are true and correct in their descriptions and so are the descriptions of 35th Battery Museum and the Russian Army Base next to the museum. It is truth that there is only one road to and from the museum and the base, there is no other way to get to them.

Is this book fiction? Maybe, but every location we found was correct and perfectly described, the only thing missing was the groups of aging Spetsnas with their families living in the villages but maybe they were in the villages and we just did not see them. Or did they not want us to see them? The plot is excellent, the characters are true to life to what we saw in Sevastopol, and after reading this book and Incident On Simonka, I have no doubts that this book and Incident On Simonka are truth disguised as fiction. Both books are very good works to read and give a look in to Sevastopol and what happened there in 2014 that no one in Europe will ever see.

Helmut Graf
Translated from German by RHA.
Frederick 29.04.18
I have finished Never The Last One and I have just read Sevastopol, The Third Defense. I can honestly say these are some of the most beautifully crafted semi-fictional accounts concerning Russia, primarily written in English, that I have had the pleasure to read. Your understanding of the culture of Russia and Sevastopol could only come from someone who’s heart is close to them. Your love of the canine companion is also a recurring theme, which, having grown up with dogs all my life, I perfectly understand.
You also managed to convey the historical roots of Russia and the peninsula and the understanding of the ethnic Russian population has of this history very well, and it is clearly interwoven through both pieces of literature. This is especially important I think for an outsider looking in, as it really helps develop an understanding for tragic (and wonderful) events of 2014, and generally shoots the Western narratives about Russia full of holes.
Your clear understanding of military procedures raises some interesting questions about your past in my mind. That, or you have some truly extraordinary friends. Either way, I am not intending to pry (especially with today’s internet, straight out of 1984), although I do think you would be an interesting individual to meet.
All in all, it has been and is a pleasure to read your literature, Auslander. Don’t stop! If I could put this on amazon I’d give both books the full load, five stars.
Babushka in Oz
Captivating tale full of intrigue
February 8, 2018
In returning to the story of Roma and Annya and their compatriots (from Never the Last One), Auslander weaves a merry tale of intrigue and portending drama, about to unfold in Sevastopol, Crimea.
The interplay between the author’s imagination and the raw facts is one of the most fascination aspects of this novel. Set against a backdrop of real events and real places, the reader is left to filter fact from fiction. Just when the reader thinks they have solved that riddle, then a new character appears adding more mystery. It’s like a matryoshka (babushka) doll- remove one piece and another one appears with their secrets. And then another.
Right on cue, two aging babushka’s, with frail limbs but minds like steel traps, appear as heroes – magnificent. Oh how I love those two feisty 90 year old Russian partisans.
I had goosebumps so many times reading this captivating little fairy tale. But, then ‘truth can be stranger than fiction.’
The teaser at the end makes sure we come back for the next instalment.
Having read Auslander's Never The Last One, I see this book is a continuation of that novel. This book continues Auslander's deep look in to Russian Culture and in this one we get a small look in to village life and how separate but together the villagers are to the city dwellers. Intrigue is almost immediate and anyone who has read other works by the author knows the plots will get interesting.
What an amazing story! How much is true and how much is fantasy? My wife and I know from your other books that a lot of what you write is true, you write it so it looks like fantasy.
The story is very good and hard to stop reading. You have a great understanding of our culture and it shows in your books. Your description of village life and our army is perfect, exactly as it is, and all the new characters in this book are true to life in our country. The events and action continue in a very understandable way and I like very much the two old Partisan ladies from The Great Patriotic War, their stories are very believable and speak of life like it was in Sevastopol during the war. My wife and I like the ending very much and we know someone with the same gift that Annya Dmitrovna has.
I thank you for giving this book to (our son) to send to us. He and (son’s commanding officer) have read it and liked the story very much. You have given him permission to give the book to his friends and I think in a week half the officers in (Fleet and VDV) will have read this good story. Be ready for some good conversations at the memorial service Saturday at Battery!
Saratov, Russia Translated by CEE
To be honest, it was the art work on the cover that made me look at this book. Once I read the preview, I had to purchase it. It is a very well laid out synopsis of the events in Sevastopol in 2014, although this book, Book 1, actually shows how well known the political problems in Ukraine were in 2013 and the fact that ordinary people could see these problems and went so far as to move to Sevastopol. The reason for this move is in the Post Scriptum summarized in the beginning, and having purchased the author's novel Never The Last One after reading this book, I see that this Post Scriptum was written in early summer of 2013, long before any mention of Sevastopol going back to Russia was in the news.

The action is almost instant and gives a pleasant view of Russian life and the interaction between city residents and villagers, and also how prepared the ordinary people were to if necessary fight for their city. I find this willingness to fight unusual, but then I'm looking at this from a western point of view. The characters appear and all have believable stories for this book and I must admit I am amazed at the two old ladies who were fighting during a war that ended 75 years ago. This is quite the amazing work of authorship, and I will now purchase the author's other two books. I can't wait for Book 2 to appear.

“You see, Soleena and I know where all the tunnels are in Yevpatorya, Kacha, Lubimovka, Sevastopol, Simferopol and all along the south coast to Kerch on the far east end of our peninsula. This includes the tunnels in Rahdio Gorka Region on north side of our harbor, these tunnels were not destroyed by the big German gun. I know what the official documents say but the documents are wrong, the tunnels are still there, just the entrances from the coast were covered with debris during the fighting.”

"We do, we truly do. Anastasiya and I have been in all of them and we have maps we made during and after the war which shows all of them. In addition to fighting, we were Medical Sisters and we also mapped everything for the Soviets.”

“But Soleena and I did not give all the maps to the Soviets and we did not tell them about all the tunnels including Rahdio Gorka, the hospitals, the storage rooms, the kitchens, the weapons rooms.”

“No, we didn’t, we truly didn’t, we didn’t tell them all because Anastasiya and I knew the day would come when we needed them again.”

Polkovnik Nikolai Mikhailovich looked at them in disbelief. “You have maps of all of them? You have been in all of them?”

“Yes. Soleena and I know all of them. You know of the third level below 35th Battery but you do not know of the fourth and fifth level. We were in the fifth level last night near your base.”

“Yes, we were in it last night, we truly were. We go in the tunnels often, we make sure things are as they should be.”

“But you are elderly ladies. I find it hard to believe you.”

“Soleena, my dear, why don’t you give him the gift we got for him last night?”

“Yes, Anastasiya, I will, I truly will. Tovarich Polkovnik, we brought a little gift for you.”

Soleena reached in to her purse and pulled out a brand new Makarov service pistol in its supply system box with two full magazines for it and handed the box and magazines to the Polkovnik.

Anastasiya smiled. “Tovarich Polkovnik, this pistol came from your weapons room directly below your office in the first level of basement below your base main building. We were in your weapons room early this morning.”

Tovarich Polkovnik gave them a look of true shock. “You are joking! No one can get in that room, it is strongly guarded 24 hours a day and has steel lined walls and ceiling!”

“Tovarich Polkovnik, we were in your weapons room and this pistol came from there. Why don’t you call your base and have them check the numbers on the pistol? While they check the numbers, tell them to look on the bottom shelf on the west wall of your weapons room in the far left corner, we left you another gift there. It is a new PehPehSha with two full drum magazines, our personal gift to you. The number on it is ВЖ4751, the date is 1941, and it has the stamp of the Stalingrad Tractor Factory where it was made.”

Polkovnik said not a word as he punched a number in to his cell phone as we looked at the two old ladies with what should be described as nothing short of awe, all of us except for Annushka. She just sat there with a small smile.

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