A gripping and moving portrait of life in post-war Soviet Russia, this novel shows the epic struggle of ordinary people to survive in a time of violence and terror
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Leningrad in 1952: a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young doctor and Anna, a school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of 16-year-old Kolya fill their minds. They try hard to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but even so their happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and the Ministry for State Security has new targets in its sights. When Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game - for in a land ruled by whispers and watchfulness, betrayal can come from those closest to you.