Once you master the art of pronouncing both Russian and Czech surnames, this novel will entrance you. Set in Siberia, its cast of castrates, murderers, soldiers and love-lorn females is completely enthralling. The structure ensures that the plot moves along very well and keeps what can seem a complicated novel fairly easy. Siberia is captured perfectly and the descriptive language makes you feel the cold seep through your bones. It's cold, bleak, forlorn but also passionate and political especially with undertones of the Russian Revolution still prevalent.