“A Russian war story that lives and breathes from a writer at the peak of his powers.” Kirkus Reviews
What if a Siberian Joan of Arc had rescued the White Armies at a critical point of the Russian Civil War in 1919?
MAID OF BAIKAL presents an alternative outcome to that war through the intervention of Zhanna Dorokhina, a young woman from the shores of Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
Zhanna’s story, which parallels that of Joan of Arc in 1429, is seen through the eyes of Captain Ned du Pont, an officer with the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia. When Ned meets Zhanna, little does he know that she will turn the tide in the war, or that their relationship will leave such a deep impression on him.
Like the historical Joan, Zhanna displays a charisma that attracts a devoted following. Overcoming prejudice toward her gender, youth and religiosity, Zhanna gains an introduction to the Siberian dictator, Admiral Kolchak, and persuades him to dispatch her to Uralsk, on the fringe of the Urals Front. To great surprise, Zhanna’s brigade captures Uralsk from the Red Army and then launches a daring raid that enables the Whites to hold the Urals passes.
By the time her forces reach the Volga, Zhanna has made powerful enemies. When captured at Kazan, no rescue ensues. Instead, the Bolsheviks subject her to a show trial and a brutal execution. Fueled by outrage at her martyrdom, the Siberians go on to defeat the Red Army outside Moscow.
MAID OF BAIKAL is a richly imagined speculation on the Russian Civil War that vividly portrays its violence, bitterness, and hardship, while telling the inspirational story of a determined young woman who perseveres in the face of overwhelming obstacles and dies for her beliefs, not knowing whether her ultimate goal will be achieved.
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This book is free from 10/02/2018 until 10/04/2018.
About the Author
Preston Fleming writes realist thrillers set in exceptional times and places, from Siberia during the Russian Civil War (MAID OF BAIKAL), to explosive 1980s Beirut (DYNAMITE FISHERMEN), to a near-future gulag-style labor camp in Utah (FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS). His experience as a diplomat, lawyer and corporate executive, combined with his ultra-lean writing style, lend rare authenticity to his stories. All of Preston’s six novels have received praise from KIRKUS REVIEWS and other publications. Preston is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but left home at fourteen for boarding school and has been on the move ever since. Today he and his wife live in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains with a Belgian Sheepdog they rescued after it bit too many humans on the East Coast.
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