An epic novel of Russia on the eve of revolution
The son of an English father and a Russian mother, Charlie Doig
is a big man -- big in stature and big in spirit. A naturalist, he
roughs it around the world collecting birds and insects for
museums. In 1914 he is on a mission for the Academy of Sciences in
Russian Turkestan when war breaks out. His pay is stopped and his
companion goes off to enlist. Doig, however, has no intention of
volunteering to be killed. He returns to the Pink House, his
family's home near Smolensk, and to the woman he loves, his cousin
At first the Pink House remains almost untouched by outside
events, and the familiar ways continue as before. But imperial
Russia is doomed and with it all the old certainties. Trapped by
the snow with Doig and Elizaveta are a motley collection of old
aristocrats, their servants and hangers-on -- and two soldiers who
have sought refuge with them, one of whom, Doig fears, is a
Bolshevik out to destroy them all.
Beautifully written, richly imagined, by turns savage and
tender, this exhilarating novel confirms James Fleming as one of
the very best novelists at work today.
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