Leo Perutz's work has been praised by well-known writers like Ian Fleming, Jorge Luis Borges, and Graham Greene, and this thriller about Austrian soldier Vittorin's obsession with revenge set against the backdrop of the Russian Civil War makes it clear why. Narrator Ken Kliban's performance encapsulates the drama and suspense of Vittorin's grim mission to find and kill the sadistic camp commander of the Russian POW camp where he had been held. Kliban deploys pauses and hesitations to such great effect that listeners will find themselves holding their breath as Vittorin's remorseless hunt reaches its violent climax.
Now back in print, a stylish thriller set during the Russian revolution that Ian Fleming called "a work of genius".
Vittorin, a young Austrian officer, has just been released from a Russian POW camp toward the end of the Great War. In Vienna his family, his girlfriend, and his old job await him, but Vittorin can’t think of settling down until he has settled the score with the sadistic camp commander, Staff Captain Selukov. Private obsession and political turmoil mix as Perutz leads his hero on a manhunt into the thick of the Russian civil war. In and out of prison, starving in the gutters of Moscow, thrown into revolutionary battle, Vittorin pursues his elusive quarry across postwar Europe. At each turn, he encounters only Fate’s joker, until, back in Vienna, Fate plays him the biggest joke of all.