A Allen: Berezovo: A Revolutionary Russian Epic

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A Allen Berezovo: A Revolutionary Russian Epic
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  • Название:
    Berezovo: A Revolutionary Russian Epic
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Canelo
  • Жанр:
    Историческая проза / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2017
  • Город:
    Beaconsfield
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-788-63049-8
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    4 / 5
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An epic novel of love and revolution. Russia, 1907. The revolution has failed. Leon Trotsky is one of a group of political prisoners being escorted by armed police, in a convoy of horse-drawn sleighs, to a secret location in the icy north of the country. Here they will be exiled as political prisoners. If, that is, they survive the journey. Meanwhile, in the small Siberian town of Berezovo, the doctor’s assistant is terrified of mis-stepping as he attempts to manage his developing admiration of his boss’s wife. The police and the Town Council are now awaiting with interest and horror the arrival of the exiles, and in the dark passageways of the Jewish Quarter, whispered arguments are rife over how best to receive their once-admired leaders. As the convoy nears its destination, the lives of the prisoners and townsfolk are on a collision course that will make history. Berezovo contains the three previously published novels A Small Town in Siberia, The Rising Storm, and Journey’s End.

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A.J. Allen

THE BEREZOVO TRILOGY

Characters

The Men

Captain Vladimir Pavelovich STEKLOV – C.O. Garrison, Berezovo

Colonel Konstantin Illyich IZOROV – Chief of Police

Father Arkady MALENYOV – Priest

Anatoli Mikhailovich POBEDNYEV – Mayor of Berezovo

Modest Andreyevich TOLKACH – Hospital Administrator

Dr. Vasili Semionovich TORTSOV – Medical Practitioner

Dimitri Borisovich SKYRALENKO – Prison Director

Vissarion Augustovich LEPISHINSKY – Vet & owner of the Livery Stables

Alexander Vissarionovich MASLOV – Librarian & Printer

Nikolai Alexeyevich DRESNYAKOV – Schoolteacher

Andrey Vladimirovich ROSHKOVSKY – Land Surveyor

Yuli Nikitavich BELINSKY – Builder

Gleb Yakovlevich PIROGOV – Carpenter

Fyodor Gregorivich SOBOLSKY – Proprietor, ‘Hotel New Century’

Sergei Levinovich KUPRIN – Revenue officer

Fyodor Fyodorovich IZMINSKY – Banker

Illya Moiseyevich KUIBYSHEV – Fur merchant

Pavel Stepanovich NADNIKOV – Grain merchant

Leonid Sergeivich KAVELIN – Timber merchant

Nikita Osipovich SHIMINSKI – General merchant

Ivan Tarpelovich KIBALSCHOV – General merchant

Serapion Alexeyevich PUSNYEN – General merchant

Pyotr Razinovich DELYANOV – Haberdasher

Kuzma Antonivich GVORDYEN – Baker

Yevgeni Yevgenivich SVORTSOV – Butcher

Irkaly Georgeyivich OVSEENKO – Carpenter

Isaac Davidovich AVERBUCH – Jewish carpenter

Lev Dubreivich POLEZHAYEV – Jewish tailor

Noi Nikolayevich PYATKONOV – ‘Goat’s Foot’, a Peasant

Semyon Konstantinovich LAVROV – Landlord of ‘The Black Eagle Inn’

Mikhail SHELGUNOV – Potboy

Innokenty Arseneyevich CHIRIKOV – Blacksmith

Anton Ivanovich CHEVANIN – Dr. Tortsov’s assistant

Abram Malachayivich USOV – Leader of the Jewish Bund

Yfem Borisovich BLONSKI – Corporal, Military Stores

Sergeant GREDNYEN – Commissariat Sergeant

JANINSKI – Prison warden

Pyotr Ivanovich ARKOV – Local prisoner

David Davidovich LANDEMANN – Jewish Bundist

Oleg KARSENEV – Leader, Berezovo Menshevik R.S.D.L.P.

FATIEV – Leader, Berezovo Bolshevik R.S.D.L.P.

The Women

Katya – Housemaid to Dr. TORTSOV

Anastasia Christianovna WRENSKAYA – Widow

Mariya – Housemaid to Madame WRENSKAYA

Yeliena TORTSOVA – Wife of Dr. TORTSOV

Tatyana KAVELINA – Wife of Leonid KAVELIN

Irena KUIBYSHEVA – Wife of Illya KUIBYSHEV

Olga NADNIKOVA – Wife of Pavel NADNIKOV

Raisa IZMINSKAYA – Wife of Fyodor IZMINSKY

Matriona POBEDNYEVA – Mayoress

Lidiya PUSNYENA – Wife of Serapion PUSNYEN

Nina ROSHKOVSKAYA – Wife of Andrey ROSHKOVSKY

Alexandra DRESNYAKOVA – Sister of Nikolai DRESNYAKOV

Tamara KARSENEVA – Wife of Oleg KARSENEV

Book One

A Small Town in Siberia

Prologue

Even at noon the sun was little more than a lemon coloured disc, peering bleakly through the grey leaden clouds. It gave no promise of warmth to the passengers in the prison convoy of troikas heading swiftly northwards through the forest that lined this section of the Great Tobolsk Highway.

In the second troika, the young man was struggling to stay awake. The hiss of the runners on the frozen ground, the glare of the snow, the gentle rocking motion of the sleigh and the incessant tintinnabulation of the harness that bound the ponies to the vehicle all conspired to mesmerise him, with the effect that he was finding it harder to hold logically consistent thoughts. Beside him, a guard sat with his chin resting on his chest; his grizzled head occasionally nodded in time to the motion of the carriage. He was fast asleep and the young man was able to study the features of his companion at length. There was not much to see. The soldier wore his dark brown fox fur hat pulled low over his forehead and the broad collar of his thick greatcoat stood up like wings, so that his profile was fragmented: a collage of fur, coarse cloth and pockmarked skin.

It was not, the young man decided, the face of an intelligent man. True, the lines around the eyes and mouth spoke eloquently of experience and deprivation. The Sibirsky regiment had been badly mauled in the war against the Japanese and had had to be almost entirely reformed. Any veteran of the old Sibirsky would know the meaning of suffering and endurance. Yet this man had learnt nothing from the experience. He still wore the uniform of the hated and discredited regime; he still upheld in word and deed the terrible despotism that ruled this vast wasteland with an iron grip. Ergo: he was not an intelligent man.

The young man smiled privately to himself, his dark, handsome Jewish features assuming a rare expression of self-mockery.

If I’m so smart, he thought, how come I’m the prisoner and he’s the guard?

The soldier stirred in his sleep.

His young prisoner turned his attention once more to the silver birch trees that lay on either side of the road. The forest seemed endless. Soon, he told himself, the driver of the leading carriage would have to signal for a halt in order to rest and feed the teams, and this would allow his mind to clear. But even then, the penetrating cold and the unnatural stillness of the landscape, unbroken even by a bird’s cry, would sustain the feeling of isolation. Yes, the convoy would stop, but not yet; not until it was well clear of the forest. Instead they would halt somewhere out in the open, as they had done every day since they had boarded the troikas at Tiumen.

Magnanimously, the authorities had dispensed with the use of handcuffs or shackles during the journey. A meaningless gesture; a prisoner would still be confined by the very openness of the vast tracts of land through which he was passing, where a running figure could be easily spotted from a distance of half a verst. The young man knew that even if he made a bid as soon as they slowed, flinging aside the two heavy rugs that covered him from chest to feet, leaning forward in his seat, twisting his body to the right so that he would fall clear of the runners when he jumped… what would happen? His escort could alert the rest of his platoon with a single rifle shot and then they would shuffle into the semblance of a line under the sergeant’s instruction. He wondered how far he would be able to run in that time. Fifty metres? A hundred? Would they shout to him to stop? He doubted it. A single ragged fusillade, a crackle of shots spinning his body round like an ungainly puppet; like a drunk pirouetting in the snow. That would be his epitaph.

The young man shut his eyes tight, his features locked in a grimace as he tried to blot the image out of his mind. The authorities wanted him dead; they wanted all the condemned Soviet Deputies dead. Like a giant slavering beast, the autocracy hungered after their deaths. Fear rose within him, and it wore the face of Ter-Mkrchtiants, a fellow Petersburg Soviet deputy who had been tricked into accepting bail before the trial had started. Released from prison he had been seized, bound and led to summary execution on the ramparts of the Kronstadt fortress. They, the so-called forces of ‘law and order’, cared little for either when they had found their power threatened by the threat of armed insurrection in the capital.

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