The People's Train by Thomas Keneally

The People's Train

Thomas Keneally

A powerful, brutal novel of epic proportions, centred on the socialist exploits of a political prisoner escaped to Australia, but desperate to return to Russia to fight for the cause. A challenging read and a slow-burner, although the second half picks up pace. A book to keep by the bedside, and best read in short installments.


I remember Plekhanov’s face, its honesty, its no-nonsense moustache. He was drinking tea with Vladimir Ilich and Axelrod in the Russian School. I was sure that either the newspaper or Buchan himself were not accurate in the idea that Plekhanov had come out for the tsar. But I had also read that many Irish and Indians were taking enlistment in the event of war in the belief that they would get greater political rights afterwards for faithful service. Surely Plekhanov did not believe that any such implied promise existed in the tsar’s head!
He may have been misquoted mischievously, I told Buchan. Maybe your paper picked it up from the capitalist press ...

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