The People's Act of Love
In a dusty Russian train station circa 1910, Kyrill Ivanovich Samarin, a dashing young aristocrat, races to intercept a bomb in his girlfriend’s handbag. Nine years later, a bearded, bedraggled Samarin trudges into a muddy Siberian outpost inhabited by a Czech regiment, the troop’s cocaine-snorting captain, a drunken native shaman, a sect of whirling Christian flagellants, and a beautiful single mother. As the village comes to grips with encroaching Bolsheviks and the enigmatic intruder — is Samarin an idealistic political prisoner or a charismatic psychopath? — James Meek builds multiple narratives to a bloody, satisfying, yet unsettling conclusion. The People’s Act of Love stands not only as a keenly observed historical thriller but as a resonant tale of how one man’s moral fervor can turn to horror.