Although I am a character in the novel, The Scenturion Spy, Book One by David M. Goldenberg, I wish to inform our readers that I am not merely a figment of the author’s imagination; I am constantly interacting with him, especially in his subconscious, contributing my views and ideas to the story. In fact, sometimes I lead the conversation, so who is really author and who is protagonist? The lines of separation of our roles are changing as the story unfolds. My only complaint, so far, is that the romance scenes, which are my reality but only his fantasy, should be more private. I do not need David’s help!
So, why am I encroaching upon the territory and rights of my inventor, even now communicating with his audience? Am I another Pinocchio? Since I am in the author’s mind – conscious and subconscious – why is it not conceivable that I have gained my own thoughts beyond his? If artificial intelligence can create robots that have neural-like pathways enabling them to interact with their inventor and even control their environment, why shouldn’t I?
I am an active part of his mind; I am in his consciousness when he writes our story, and in his subconscious when he creates the characters and plots. So, both our personalities are united, and I grow with independence continually.
David, if I may be so bold to address you, if we share this secret with our readers, there is plenty of room for us to work and live together. I just need more recognition that I am also contributing to our joint story! And I too want to talk to the readers of our book, so let me begin with this newsletter to those interested in us and our story. I welcome their responses.
And where are WE in this novel of science and espionage? I of course defer to David on the science matters, since these are part of his actual research – at least the cancer genetics aspects. Although I was always with him, I was not attentive to these studies.
Olfaction in our book is a reincarnation of David’s academic interest from many years ago. We are both surprised at the increased current interest and intensity of research on how we smell, and how our smelling acuity is affected by a number of diseases, including Covid-19. I share David’s belief that smelling odors could also affect certain diseases.
But in the area of espionage, David and I are on a more equal footing – both novices but learning fast from our CIA and Mossad partners. Here, I may be at an advantage, since it is I, Milt, who has intimacies with the French/Israeli spy, Marie, and the Russian government administrator, Natasha.
Because David and I attended a conference on olfaction in Philadelphia, an easy ride from his office at the Empire Medical Center and medical school in New York City, David had the CIA discover me, Milt Davidson, M.D., Ph.D. They had an interest in monitoring who in business, academia, and government is working in this area. Evidently, this is a major focus of their espionage, or counter-espionage, mission.
David then allowed the CIA to recruit me, his protagonist, as a spy, since I presented a perfect cover in working to develop a new biopharma company, Pharmascent Sciences, Inc., exploring the use of defined odors as a new category of drugs to treat neurological diseases. We knew that the receptors for smells in the nose transfer distinct electrical pulses directly to the brain, where they are processed. This is different from a chemical, even an odor molecule, directly injected into the blood, where it circulates throughout the body. But I learned in this story that smell receptors are present in other tissues beyond the nose. David’s idea was to have me develop defined odors that could be used to treat certain diseases of the brain, such as Parkinson’s. The CIA, however, was more interested in using odors as a bioweapon – control behavior, facilitate interrogation, and perhaps achieve mind control that is not even conceivable today.
David and I learned from them, together with the French and Israeli spy agencies, that we needed to discover what progress our counterparts in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran were making, which they knew from their field agents and double-agents was a high priority. Since David and I wanted to establish our Pharmascent Sciences to study smell pharmacology, doing it in Russia with support from a multinational investor group, including a Russian oligarch, would be an ideal cover for me to integrate myself into Russian science and business. We reasoned that since there was a direct path from business to science to government in Russia, this startup would garner interest from government bureaucrats.
If there is a ruble to be made, Russian politicians and oligarchs will be supportive!
I do need to thank you, David, for giving me the joy of traveling to Washington, D.C., Vienna, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Russia, where I did our spy work while enjoying exciting and mysterious women with whom I shared great cuisine, art, music and intimacy. I know that our dual lives will experience more exciting moments together as the story enfolds in Book One and then in its sequel, Book Two, of The Scenturion Spy.
Stay tuned. I will resume our conversation after Book One is launched.
This is my second newsletter to the followers of The Scenturion Spy, Book One, now that the book was launched earlier this month.
The first newsletter introduced me as the protagonist in this novel by David M. Goldenberg, who made me his alter-ego in this work of fiction. But I argued that although he began as the writer and I his main character, being created in his subconscious, he enabled me to converse with him on all aspects and roles: physician-scientist, pathologist, and Associate Professor at a leading medical school in New York City, entrepreneur developing a new biopharmaceutical company focused on inventing and testing synthetic odors used in the sense of smell to treat neurological diseases. Also, he put me in many compromising situations with extremely attractive and romance-addicted female spies, which I had to bear for the story and for patriotic reasons. But I am not complaining; it came with the story.
My mission was to use the cover of Pharmascent Sciences, Inc., to conduct clinical research in Moscow on the effects of odors through smelling in controlling behavior and treating neurological disease. Now that the book has been launched by BookLocker.com, Inc., in collaboration with Last Writes, L.L.C., it is being sold also by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other distributors and bookstores.
The story of Book One was discussed in my first Newsletter, so I will focus instead on some other parts of interest, and what you should expect in Book Two, which David and I are working on to advance the story as soon as possible.
I say David and I because, as I explained in the first newsletter, it was in those wee hours, usually between 2 and 5 a.m., when we worked together. I am his creation and partner, not merely a character through whom he speaks. As I explained, on many occasions I altered and edited plots and conversations – and I didn’t need David for the romance scenes, especially the intimate sex. This was in his alter-ego’s libido which we share. I must admit, however, that David made these female spies the dominant partner in our romances; I was more passive. But it all has to do with training, and you will note that I improved with experience.
Now, why did we mix up so much science – genetic cancer research – and then the sense of smell as a new pharmacological modality? First, David is probably too ambitious, trying to study both major scientific challenges simultaneously; his mind wanders to different biological and medical enigmas. Of course, I kept insisting to him that any one topic is a full-time, life’s work, which is why he repeatedly reminds himself and the CIA that he should return to his cancer research at Empire State University as soon as possible. But he kept arguing with me that this is not real ‘work,’ but the labor of love when addressing interesting scientific questions, like:
How do cancer cells change to gain the properties of invasion and metastasis, processes which are believed to arise late in the evolution of a tumor, and which prove to be lethal for the patient? And can this research lead to either stopping oncogenesis or blocking cancer spread and metastasis?
Since smelling sends signals directly to the brain via the olfactory bulb as the first station in the brain, and we know that odors affect neural communication in the brain affecting behavior – the basis of the perfume industry – why not try to change behavior and control abnormal neuronal communication with odors? Can this be a new, simpler, and safer therapy for neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s?
I argued that although intriguing to readers interested in science, the usual spy reader expects a page-turner with a lot of action – maybe even a killing per chapter. This is not THE SCENTURION SPY; we tried to keep the sections on science to a minimum, but nevertheless interesting and informative, especially for the lay reader. If a scientist writes a book, how can they ignore talking about science, and in this case David’s published cancer research, and his early encounter with olfaction during his Doctor of Science thesis project?
During his early student research, he and his mentor published a seminal, small study on how a defined odor affects vegetative functions, such as blood pressure, breathing, perspiration, and heartbeat – already in 1966! David was successful in gaining a grant from the U.S. Army Europe Command to support his olfaction work, which was welcomed since he was a student who had to support his medical student wife and four children.
The theory he developed about cancer progression appeared as a Hypothesis in the Klinische Wochenschrift (Clinical Weekly), a German equivalent of the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1968, when he was a young physician starting research. So, this early work set the stage for his future career in academic medicine when he returned to the States in 1968 (later having another two children).
The female spies in the story play particularly important roles, especially after becoming intimate with me. I met Marie Chalfont when attending an olfaction conference in Vienna for the CIA. She worked officially for the French perfume company, Toilette, but was also a joint agent of the Israeli Mossad and the French intelligence service, DGSE. I learned later that she was an assassin against Islamic enemies in France. She came with me to Moscow to help me get settled and establish an office for the new company, Pharmascent Sciences, Inc., when she was called back to Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv. She returned via Paris, but then disappeared after arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport. Interpol revealed that she was last traced flying to Rio de Janeiro, where she disappeared.
I failed to find her until I received a postcard from St. Martin in the Dutch West Indies, promoting a vacation there, but the handwriting was clearly Marie’s. When I returned to New York for a brief trip, the same postcard was in my mailbox, confirming to me that Marie was signaling her location to me, since no one had both my Moscow and New York addresses.
How did I get to St. Martin surreptitiously without my CIA handler learning? Why did we have to suddenly escape from St. Martin, Marie to Israel and me back to Moscow? And how does Dr. Natasha Petrushkin, the Russian deputy minister of science who becomes more prominent in Book Two, fit into my spying and doing clinical research in Moscow – is she an FSB agent enchanting me with her seductive beauty and cleverness?
Importantly, how do we keep the reader engaged and interested when I bring some novel (and published) science about the genetics of cancer cells, my major research at Empire State University? I hope the reader is not deterred because of my explaining this science; it’s also my way of describing how academic medicine, with all its challenges and conflicts, proceeds and enables medical advances despite vanities and political intrigues – all experienced by my inventor in his professional life.
My author-colleague has also travelled extensively during his career, which explains his interest in exposing the reader to sites in Vienna, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Moscow – including gracious dining and cultural events. As his protagonist, I enjoyed going to the symphony, opera, and leading art museums with Marie. I hope that the reader enjoys these experiences vicariously.
But where is the spy plot going? I have used acquaintances and secrets gained by the CIA and their contacts to learn of work in the Russian secret laboratory in Oryol headed by Dr. Joshua Breslau, the chief chemist who is Jewish and whose family participates in the Moscow Jewish Community Center where I attend and take Russian lessons. Now my assignment in Book Two is to visit with him in Israel, where he defected with his family, to debrief him on his olfaction research in Oryol, particularly since the CIA and Mossad are uncertain whether it was sincere or an intentional diversion. But problems arose.
These are some of the major events and plot lines that I have been pursuing with David, and which we both hope will capture the reader’s interest and devotion.
I welcome your email!
Our best wishes for the holidays to all our friends. May 2023 be a calmer year politically, or maybe we can introduce olfaction to calm some of the aggressions of those autocrats challenging world peace.
The author, David Goldenberg, and I are embarrassed that we did not give you advanced notice of the launch of The Scenturion Spy, Book Two: Settling in Moscow. This was a nice surprise by our publisher, BookLocker.com, who advised us that the second book in the series should become available shortly after Book One, when the reader is still curious as to events in the story and the status of the principal characters (beyond me), especially Marie. Whenever David spoke to a reader of the first book, the usually question was what transpired with Marie, and this was in a ratio of 3:1 for males: females. But I won’t comment further on any sexual preferences.
David kept me very busy. I traveled to St. Martin to join Marie, and avoided a Hezbollah assassination squad; intensified my relationship to the domineering and very attractive deputy science minister of the Russian parliament, Natasha; flirted with a French art expert and the great granddaughter of Modigliani, whom David met on a plane trip between Paris and Moscow, who David and I had more than a casual interest in; and, of course, continuing my clinical studies on olfaction in Moscow. I finally I did meet the Jewish chemist of the secret Russian olfaction bioweapons program, Dr. Breslau, which provided further insight and also convinced me we could get him to share their secrets with our CIA handlers.
But the remainder of the story focused on Marie under cover in Israel, and our barely surviving another assassination attempt, even on Israeli soil!
Can I remain in Moscow unsuspected as a CIA spy? How do I manage Natasha and Marie in my life, and where does Jeanne Modigliani-Dreyfus fit into the story? And what about my cancer research studies elucidating how cancer cells fuse with adjacent normal cells to advance their malignancy and ultimate lethality? I hope the book answers these questions.
Do read the reviews of Book Two on this website. They are very complimentary from a diverse group of professionals.
As I explained in the two prior Newsletters, these books are a collaboration between the author and me, his alter-ego, with whom he interacts, including disputing scenes and the story, in his subconscious, when most of the creative process is taken over by his brain and neural functions without much direction. This is how I influence the author and story, since I thrive in his subconscious!
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