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In the outer reaches of a country recently torn apart by civil war lives a small Christian sect and its enigmatic leader, Balashov. Stationed nearby is a regiment of Czech soldiers, desperate to get home but on the losing side of the recent conflict. Uncertainty prevails.
Into this isolated community trudges Samarin, an escapee from Russia’s northernmost gulag. Immediately apprehended, he is brought before Captain Matula, the regiment’s megalomaniac commander. But the stranger’s arrival has also caught the attention of others. One of them is Anna, the beautiful young war widow. And when the local shaman lies dead, suspicion and terror engulf the little town …
Meek’s novel is a breathtaking contemporary fable staged against one of the most remote landscapes on earth. The remarkable cast of characters, and Meek’s ability to evoke the period, bring to mind the work of the great Russian masters.
The People’s Act of Love is a magnificent piece of storytelling, an unforgettable novel and a deeply satisfying read.