Moscow, 1982. The oppressive Soviet regime is solidly in place; Leonid Brezhnev is praised to the skies for the brilliance of his unreadable memoirs; and the KGB is keeping a watchful eye on the weary and demoralised masses.
Vadim, a young Leningrader, is headed to the capital to begin his journalism studies at MGU, Moscow State University. But he has a research project of his own in mind. He wants to find out about the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – built close to the Kremlin as a memorial to Russia’s victory over Napoleon, but demolished in 1931 to make way for an immense Palace of Soviets. The Palace was intended to be the largest building in the world, a beacon of communism. But like communism, it never materialised. As for the lost church, it became a taboo subject, and the mere mention of the Cathedral of Christ was an act of anti-Soviet propaganda.
Vadim knows this, but proceeds with his quest anyway. And when he enlists the help of Rachel, an American exchange student, his passion draws them both into a sinister and dangerous vortex…
About the author
Jonathan Bastable is an English writer, historian and travel journalist. He lived in the USSR for several years – first as a student, then as a reporter for The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, and other newspapers. He regularly goes to the former Soviet Union to write articles for magazines such as Condé Nast Traveller.
Bastable is the author of numerous non-fiction books, including a narrative account of the Battle of Stalingrad. His historical works and journalistic pieces have been translated into various languages and published around the world. Devil’s Acre is his first novel. A second, set in Moscow and entitled Truth Street, is presently under way.
Jonathan Bastable can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org