Set in Moscow 1939. Stalin's reign of terror is at it's height. Pavel, the Archivist at the Lubyanka Prison where out of favour authors are being held, struggles with his personal problems of widowhood and an ailing mother. At the same time, Pavel risks his life by saving the manuscript of a condemned author from the prison incinerator.
Despite the constant danger, fear and uncertainty of the times, this is a tender story of the joys of love and friendship. Beautifully written and very atmospheric. A disturbing novel because the reader, despite hoping for a positive outcome, always fears the inevitable end.