Counter-intelligence circa 1923

Jonas Budrys (AKA Jonas Polovinskas) worked for the Czarist Secret police, the Okhrana, became chief of counter-intelligence in Vladivostok for the Whites, and in 1921, took over counter-intelligence for the newly formed Lithuanian state.

He is seated, second from right in the rather poor photograph above.

I was restless while waiting for my next round of edits from my publisher, Thomas Allen, so I polished an essay, looked at some short stories I had been working on, and finally needed to launch into a major project or die of ennui.

Jonas Budrys’s story is an eraser of ennui par excellence.

His memoirs read like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle meets John le Carré. The new and impoverished weak state is under threat from Polish, Communist, German, and internal enemies, but Budrys is there to uncover secret plots while giving tips in the craft of espionage.

In 1923, Budrys became head of a secret army that seized the city of Klaipeda (also known as Memel to Germans) from the occupying French, became its first governor, and then returned to Lithuania to work in criminal cases before being assigned as consul to the USA in 1935.

He spent the rest of his life there, and had a son, Algis Budrys, who went on to be an important science fiction writer in America in the fifties.

Biographies don’t get much better than those two. Father and son are the inspiration for my next novel, of which I have written a total of five pages so far. I have pulled out dozens of books on the period and have been cruising web sites that cover that time, and I am eager to press on.

Instead, I’ll likely go back to rewrites on my next round of edit on Tuesday, but at least I’ll have something to look forward to after that. Life without another project on the horizon is just too dull.