The swirling snowstorms and ongoing economic confusion and casualties of early February provided this reviewer with the perfect atmosphere in which to read this bitterly gruesome novel set in the revolutionary, corpse-strewn Russia of 1918.
The story begins in St Petersburg a few days before Lenin’s coup. The fate of the Tsar and his family is in the balance. Though still puffing away at Ortega Grande cigars and knocking back ninety-year-old cognac from silver flasks in their chauffeured Rolls-Royces, capitalists, aristocrats in long fur-edged coats and other privileged types are on the run. Shit, vomit, fog, mud and Bolshevism fill the streets.