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Publisher's Summary

Siberia 1919. In the outer reaches of a country recently torn apart by civil war lives a small Christian sect and its enigmatic leader, Balashov. Stationed nearby is a regiment of Czech soldiers, desperate to get home but on the losing side in the recent conflict. Into this isolated community trudges Samarin, an escapee from Russia's northernmost gulag. Immediately apprehended, he is brought before the regiment's megalomaniac commander. But the stranger's arrival has also caught the attention of others, including Anna, a beautiful young war widow. And when the local shaman lies dead, suspicion and terror engulf the little town.
©2005 James Meek; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Very good." (Stephen King)
"This original, literary page-turner succeeds both with its credible psychological detail and in its grandeur and sweep." (Publishers Weekly)
"Meek's novel deftly explores the erotic undercurrent of revolutionary violence....Remarkable...richly informed and imagined." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Inviting comparison with Greene, Conrad, and Dostoyevsky, this is stunning, masterful fiction." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • mORRINSVILLENew Zealand
  • 12-11-08

Memorable.

This is not an easy book. The narrative is not one of those that pulls you along, rather its one that you need to work at - participate in. A highly stylised work(think classic Russian writting of the late 19th Century), it is a deeply descriptive journey into the heart and mind of a Russia on the cusp of great change. The characters are deeply memorable, the portrait of the land and its people vivid and loving. The narrator does an outstanding job.
May be appreciated by fans of Haruki Murakami.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Might be a decent book.....

This narrator drove me crazy and I confess to not being able to finish more than an hour or two.

All the characters sounded the same, and he was not adept at instilling emotion. Read the book instead...


1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Don't

I had to erase the audiobook after listening to almost half of it with a great effort to stop myself from turning it off expecting the story to lift up.

0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Sean
  • 08-29-06

Stunning

A book of this calibre is a rare thing indeed. James Meek has tuned his writing skills to a very fine and unique pitch, and maintains it throughout. Every page is a work of art. Stunning.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful