Wouldn’t that be nice if that was who this guard was? Truth is if he had been a high ranking hero during WWII and had survived the war, there’s a good chance he would have been accused of collaboration with the Nazis or some other act of treason, and shipped away to the GULAG. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the guard that found Stalin, I don’t know if this is his story. But it is someone’s story. And as Hugo so aptly demonstrated with Monsieur M., names are mere appellations, knowing a name doesn’t connect you to someone. But their story does. Ivan is one of those fake names, as well as the doctor. You could make the claim that I completely made up Ivan, but I don’t really think so. Ivan existed, he may be the spliced version of a couple of men’s stories, and maybe he had a different alias, but he was real. He lived and breathed just as you or I. Maybe it’s not exactly how it happened, but maybe it is? He was discovered by his guards, and Ivan’s a pretty common name. Who knows maybe even the details I know are wrong, are in some way right. But enough of that, this book is about Stalin’s death, but not that one. At least, not the one we’re familiar with. This is about what could have happened. I could give you a load of junk like Umberto Eco about how I came across some relatively obscure parchment once in my travels in Prague and then lost it and then rediscovered someone else’s notes on it in-Argentina was it? But that just doesn’t work in this scenario, the intentions, the plans, the enthusiasm were all there, but in the end the deeds themselves never materialized. I can assure you that most of this novel will be based around historical documents and research, and wherever I deviate I’ll tell you. And there will be a point where we’ll break free, brazenly forging a new path, with what could have been.