What a wonderful graphic novel this is. The cast of characters is nothing short of stellar and there are enough accurate historical references in here to delight anyone who prefers a little historical salt in their fiction. The story is set in Siberia and Manchuria during the Russian Civil War and two historical figures feature prominently: Ataman Semenov (whom Pratt seems to have modeled mistakenly on another Ataman, Ataman Kalmykov), and Baron von Ungern-Sternberg, the "Mad Baron." The latter, amazingly, is depicted true to life. Pratt seemed to do his best work when the setting was Russia or Ethiopia, and along with "Early years" and "The Golden House of Samarkand", this is one of the finest examples of his work, both in writing and artwork. An excellent place to start reading the Corto Maltese stories.