It is just before the outbreak of World War I and Britain must enlist the aide of Russia. Czar Nicholas's nephew is to visit London for secret naval ...Show synopsisIt is just before the outbreak of World War I and Britain must enlist the aide of Russia. Czar Nicholas's nephew is to visit London for secret naval talks with Lord Walden, who has lived in Russia and has a Russian wife, Lydia. But there are other people who are interested in the arrival of Prince Alexei: the Waldens' only daughter, Charlotte -- willful, idealistic, and with an awakening social conscience; Basil Thompson, head of the Special Branch; and, above all, Feliks Kschessinky, the ruthless Russian anarchist. No one could have foretold that Lydia should recognize Feliks, or that she might put her own daughter's life at risk for his sake. As the secret negotiations progress, the destinies of these characters become ineluctably enmeshed. And as Europe prepares for the catastrophe of war, the final private tragedy which will shatter the complacency of the Waldens is acted out.Hide synopsis
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There is so much interwoven intrigue, and so much real history in this story, that it is hard to outline and make sense ot it. Feliks and Lydia are Russians, and fall madley in love. Lydia is from high society, and Feliks is an anarchist. Lydia's father has Feliks arrested and tortured, and marries Lydia off to an English Lord. 19 years go by, and now they are all thrown back together. Prince Orlov of Russia is visiting his good friend Lord Walton in London, where they are talking about joining forces against the Germans in case war breaks out. Feliks is in London determained to kill Prince Orlov so there will be no treaty between England and Russia (he doesn't want to see Russian peasants slaughtered in a war they know nothing about). In Feliks first attempt at murder, he runs into Lydia, and finds out what happened to her while he was in prison, and why he never saw her again. He finds out that Charlotte, Lydia's daughter, is his daughter. His resolve for murder is shaken, to say the least. Now you have almost all the intrigue. Read the book and find out how it all turns out.
I first read this about 20 years ago, and then read it again recently on
the occasion of giving a copy of it to a friend of mine from Russia. It
is a very interesting thriller set in the early 1900s, right before the
start of World War 1, and is an intriguing story concerning national
leaders primarily of England and Russia, and the efforts of a Russian
revolutionary to prevent Russia from getting mixed up with England in
the forthcoming war. It is like everything of Ken Follet's that I have
ever read, i.e. difficult to put down once you get started on it.
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